By Danielle Chonody
Have you heard the expression "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail"? A business plan is essential for your business as it ensures that you put the steps in place to make your business a success. A formal business plan will be a necessity if you are planning to borrow money to finance, or are selling your business, but whatever your situation you should still take the time to define your vision and goals as they will give you direction and focus.
1. Define your WHY?
Do you want to have a successful home based business so that you can enjoy more freedom or more money, or will it bring you more close friends and colleagues, or more time to work with your favorite charitable cause? These benefits of business success are often referred to as your Why. As in why are you starting this new business? Everyone's Why is different as it is dependent on how each individual defines success in their life. Defining your Why is important as it will inspire your actions, and provide daily motivation to keep moving towards your vision. Make sure to write down your Why where you can see it every day.
Here are some exercises to help you define your WHY:
a. Think about and write down how you will know when you are successful. Star with the phrase - I know I am successful when:
b. When you achieve success, what will you do with your time, money etc? Write down your answer and be specific!
c. Image your perfect day in your new life. Write a letter to someone close to you at a future date in time (recommend 3 to 5 years from now) in the present tense - as if you are living it right now. (If you complete this exercise you have written a vision statement).
2. Set Goals and Action Steps
If we look at our WHY and vision and think about what is needed to make this change in our life it can be overwhelming. To make the path toward our vision more manageable we need to break the task into a series of goals. Remember that is important that your goals align with you WHY, vision, and your personal values.
a. Take the time to set your short term (30-90 days) and long term (3-5 year) business goals
b. Plan the action steps that it will take to reach each goal. Think about these questions: - What do I need to do to accomplish my goal? - What are the KEY action steps? - How will I do this? - What schedule or strategy will keep me focused?
c. Determine how many hours a day you will need to work your home business
d. Monitor and evaluate by reviewing goals regularly. This can include writing daily action lists and reviewing progress after each day.
A formal business plan will also include definition of a marketing and advertising strategy, performing a market analysis, and preparation of a business budget. We'll cover these topics is future issues of this e-zine.