The start-up series: how to build a business plan

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7th Oct 2019

Barre Body and Bende founder, Emma Seibold, has launched a six-part start-up series that aims to help you take your idea from a seedling to a blossoming business. In this series, Seibold will share her journey, as well as the tips, tricks, and lessons she’s learnt along the way. Read on for part four, see part three here.

Many people (often those who haven’t started their own business before) will tell you that you need a really solid business plan with robust financials and all the rest. That might be true for bigger businesses or ones that required external investment, but if it’s just you and your product or service to begin with, stay clear of the 50-page business plan.

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If you over-think it, you run the risk of getting bogged down in ‘analysis-paralysis’ where you simply can’t get started until you have the perfect business plan and you might just miss your window, or even worse, lose faith in yourself and your plan altogether. I believe that you have to have a clear idea of your business, but that a short and sweet business plan is the best kind.

In fact, if you can get really clear on the basics and summarise your business plan onto one page, you are in good stead as it means that you’ve cut out all the extraneous info and you know exactly what you want to do. Let’s look at how to create one of these together. If you google “one-page business plan” you’ll find some useful templates, or you can follow the plan I’ve created below.

Your vision
What are your big hopes and dreams for your company? What do you want to achieve and be in the marketplace/world? What are your company values?

The business opportunity
What is the problem that your business will solve? How will you meet the needs of your customers in a way that no-one else can? What is your unique point of difference?

Industry analysis
What is currently happening in your industry? How has it changed over the past few years? Who are the main competitors? What are they doing well and what are they doing poorly? What are the key factors for success?

Target market
Who will you sell and market your product/service to? What are their characteristics? What are their needs? Where and how do they shop?

Product/service overview
What products and/or services will you be selling?

Where and how will you sell?

Marketing plan
How will you get the word out? Consider social media, advertising, publicity, promotions, brand collaborations, ambassadors and events.

Financial plan
Where will you find the money and how much will you need? How much will you spend before you launch and in each of the 12 months following your launch? If you have an idea of how much you’ll spend and possibly make each month, you’ll have a better idea of how much you’ll need to begin with.

Key objectives
What are the key objectives for your first year of business? Make these SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-specific. Google ‘smart objectives’ for more detail on how to write these.

Strategies and actions
List at least one strategy (but likely more) outlining how to achieve each objective and come up with actions (which are the “how-to” steps) to get you to where you want to be.

So there you have it. A one-page business plan. If you end up with two or three (or even four or five) pages, don’t fret! As long as developing your plan has given you some clarity around your business without overwhelming you or complicating things, then it’s a good plan.

Emma Seibold is the founder of Barre Body and Bende. Follow her on Instagram at @emmaseibold.

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