The First Stage Business Plan

When starting your business, especially if it is your first real go at it, you will often find that keeping a specific direction will be very hard without a specific and measurable plan to follow. Distractions will occur at least as often as the ideas you could come up with. And since it is very easy to deviate from plans that are not set, it is very important to make sure that you set some specific objectives for you to meet. Also make sure to consider the practical issues associated with the things you wish to achieve and then add some deadlines of course.

Considering this, when drawing up your plan for the first stage of your business I would include as least the following:

    • Budget. This is a very important aspect of your initial plan as this will help you stick to a specific spending plan. It will prove especially helpful to organize your thoughts on how, and on what, to spend your available funds. It is also important in this instance to be specific and define it by time. So say you have $10,000 to allocate to your business, without having to dig into your ability to survive, make sure to allocate the amounts to specific expenses, specific dates and time lines. Of course having some specific objectives that you wish to achieve over that time would be useful for properly allocating your budget. Feel free to add some estimation of sales, profits and expected expenses as part of your budgeting, however if you are planning to spend money you still need to earn, make sure your plan includes a way for you to track those specifics, so you do not spend money you have not earned yet.
    • Your objectives. Though the speed at which your business will achieve any success at all is totally unpredictable, I would suggest that for the first stage of your business you allow at least 3 to 6 months, possibly longer depending on your own personal availability and skill. Plan your objectives accordingly and set them according to this time line. A healthy dose of realism is of significant value here, and I would suggest that you manage your own expectations at this point very carefully. I assure you that, unless you are extremely lucky, you will not be rich in 6 months. Feel free in this instance to generalize your objectives a little by defining it by something as generic as the value of sales you wish to achieve, by a specified target date.
    • Break your objectives down into specific sub objectives. In this section of your first stage plan it is important that you start to break down your objectives in sub objectives specifically designed to help you achieve your overall main objectives. Consider here what it would take for you to achieve your main objective, in the period you have set for yourself. Define these under categories like marketing, advertising, direct sales, visibility efforts like branding and people you can approach to help you achieve your objectives. In fact anything you think might help you achieve your objectives need to described here in some detail. Defining this properly will help you cost out your activities properly as well and so allocating your budget accordingly will prove easier.
    • Turn it into a diary. This is the area where a lot of people lose their direction. When compiling this plan it is absolutely essential to set up a diary of activities, including specific tasks you have to accomplish each day in order to meet your sub objectives. If you are in the business of selling items through direct sales I would suggest that you set a target for the number of sales calls you need to make every day, in order to sell the quantities and values you expect are needed to achieve your objectives. If your tasks are not measurable by a count of tasks, allocate it to time. If you anticipate you need 3 hours per day to handle inventory, allocate the time for it accordingly. The point is that the more specific your day plan is, the more likely you are to stick to it. This will mean that you achieve the objectives you have set out to achieve, even on days when you do not feel like it.
  • Measure your progress, and adjust your plan. As with any business plan created for your own use, the point is to create a plan that you could use to measure your progress. If your plan states you have to call 5 new customers every day, do it, and track it. If you only make 4 calls today, then make 6 tomorrow to make up for the missed call. Tracking your progress properly will also help you figure out quickly what works, and what does not. This will enable you to properly focus your efforts and make adjustments as needed, keeping your business dynamic and constantly moving forward towards success.

And when all is said and done, starting your own business is not as easy as it looks. If it was that easy, everybody would be doing it. So more often than not is it simply just a matter of keeping at it until it succeeds.

I wish you all the best with your ventures and invite you to share your comments and stories here.