10 keys to a successful business planI saw this article and infographic in Entrepreneur on how to develop a successful business plan and said “they nailed it!”  You’ve heard me talk about successful business plans from time to time.  It’s not the plan that is important to you as a business owner.  It’s what you learn by going through the process that helps you!

For example, look at # 4 on the infographic, “Name Your Stakeholder.”  Do you know all the relationships that are important to your business’ success?  And, why do you think they are important?

Having a business isn’t about doing it all yourself.  In fact, it’s just the opposite.

One of the biggest challenges that face small business owners is learning how to delegate to other.  If you do not learn to delegate then you will quickly meet the maximum capacity of your business and it will be YOU!  A successful business plan is a tool that allows you to communicate what you’re doing to your stakeholders.

Building a Successful Business Plan

A great assessment for whether you need to do a successful business plan or not is to quickly review the questions posed by the infographic.  See if you can thoroughly answer all the questions.

  1. What need does your business fulfill?
  2. How does your offering fulfill this need?
  3. How is your business unique from others that fulfill this need?
  4. Who are the key stakeholders in your business?
  5. How big is your market?
  6. Who makes up your target market?
  7. What is the best way to communicate with each of these different parts of your market?
  8. Describe all the different ways that you will make money from this market?
  9. How much money will it take to get started and keep your business going?
  10. Outline exactly what you need to do to breakeven every month?

Next, have someone review your answers. See if someone else can understand your answers to the questions and agrees with them.  If not, then this is a red flag!  You’re not on track to produce a successful business plan.

A bank or investor will almost certainly require a business plan if you want money.  And if borrowing money is not part of your growth plan then I can almost guarantee with 100% certainty, your business will not grow.  Money is ALWAYS a key resource with business growth and creating a self-sustaining business.

But a successful business plan helps you with more than just getting money from a bank.  It will help you communicate what to do next with those that are helping you grow a self-sustaining business – your employees, your advisors, your strategic partners, your suppliers, etc.

So, what’s keeping you from taking the challenge?  If you answer the questions and send them to me I’ll review them for you – NO CHARGE!  That should get you started.  I look forward to seeing your answers and helping you with the next step to business growth and self-sustainability!