How Can A Business Plan Help My Idea For A Start-Up Business?

Lots of us have ideas for setting up a new business. Some are tried and tested such as a retail selling or selling services, and some might emerge from a hobby.

Case Study

We recently reviewed a situation where someone was making jewelry from her home selling on to friends and family and who thought it would be a great idea to sell to the public. The chance of realigning a hobby such as this into a business are challenging – to say the least.

Any number of factors apply such as timelines, cost, ability to get a product that is unique (Unique Selling Point or USB) and profit margin. By completing a Business Plan the enthusiasm and dream can be realistically examined for success or failure. Only at the end of the process when the Financial Spreadsheets have been completed and all other practical elements researched will it become clear if this will be a winner and how is this person is deciding what is a success for them? A Business Plan will allow you analyse SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.

Any new idea is going to benefit from a well thought through Business Plan. By the time you reach the end of the process of putting your Business plan together you will have a much better idea of whether it will be a success and if it can support you financially.

Once the business is running you will need to maintain elements of the Plan to oversee the success of the business and so it is a worthy exercise in its own right. Before you and others invest money, be it personally from friends and family or by loans you will want to know if the investment will be safe and show a return.

At Alexander Business & Law Solutions we love discussing your ideas and helping you take them out into the world. See alexanderbls.com for more information.

This Note is going to look at one of the many components of a Business Plan – marketing as an overview.

Marketing Your Business

Marketing is vital to the success of any business. You need to identify your Target Customer that is to say who you are looking to sell to. This helps you direct your marketing to the right place and allows you to develop a clear identity for your business.

You need to contact your customers and let them know about what you have to offer. Marketing is anything that attempts to make contact with your customers. If your marketing is successful your potential customers will discover what it is that your business does and where to find you.

Popular methods include the methods below as well as others.

Word of Mouth

This is where people recommend you to others. If customers like your business they will often recommend it to others. Think about how you can encourage this for instance by offering a discount or incentive or by giving great service.

Direct Marketing

This involves contacting potential customers offering to sell your product or services to directly. This can be done by phone, email, or face to face.

Advertising

There are many choices here. For example in a local or national paper, on the internet, or in a directory many of which appear online.

Social Media

These can be an effective way to market your business. Generally social media is free and allows you to put a face on your business. You are potentially inviting a huge network to interact with your activities. In addition to Facebook and Twitter there are small business sites that can help you be more directive as to your target potential customers. Consider what you want to achieve through this medium. How will you engage your customers for instance maybe write a Blog to give insight into your business or ask for feedback on your product or the services you are offering. Where is your Target Customer likely to look to for their social sites. Keep your business social networking separate from your personal social interactions.

Business Cards

Literature and cards should be kept simple in design and words as a general rule. Consider the cost of producing these the materials to be used, where you will source them and how and where you will distribute them.

Websites

These can be kept simple just enough to showcase what you do and how to contact you. This shouldn’t stop you from pursuing more adventurous designs and functions such as including ordering and paying online. Who will design this for you and what is the cost involved including the cost of maintaining the domain and site.

Others

Such as Trade Exhibitions, trial runs for instance by taking a market stall and more.

Caveat

This Note highlights a small area involved in putting together a well constructed Business Plan. At Alexander Business & Law Solutions we will examine together with you, your specific ideas and work with you to put together the Business Plan that will act as a Sat Nav to follow the direction you are looking for your business to take. Visit us at alexanderbls.com for more information.

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