Steps for Creating Your Business Plan The web is a powerful tool for companies of all types, and as it has changed, so have the types of companies who prosper.
Secrets and Strategies , are transactional, content, promotional and relational. Regardless the type of online business you are running, here are the recommended steps in putting together your business plan read more about writing a great business plan. Set Up a Review Schedule Be Open to Change You should never complete any business planning without a review schedule, but it has become increasingly important to do it earlier and more often.
Why worry about the subtleties of an executive summary, language or a market analysis if you don't have the most important element for actually using and working a plan? What matters is the planning for the future, not just the formal plan.
This is part of the premise behind Berry's new book, and as he says, "Doing a plan is beneficial to get all of your thoughts on paper, but that one-time process is nothing compared to the ongoing planning process and changes you undergo as a business.
Define Your Business Objectives and Personality From a very basic level, you need to identify what your goals are as a business. What are you selling, where does it fit within the market, and what is its price in comparison?
If you're not a transactional site, you'll still want to define how you plan to make money, whether that's via advertising, traffic and visitors, etc. How do you envision your site being successful, because the definition of success will differ for each entrepreneur and business type?
Complete Your Financial And Management Summary You need to outline what kind of experience your management team has and also any financing that you already have lined up.
Consider your management summary to be a resume of the qualifications and work history for the people involved in your startup. If it's a smaller venture, which many online businesses tend to be, you'll want to play up your understanding and expertise in the digital space. While sales, revenue, and established users will be catchy in a business plan, you also want to describe how much capital you already have and will need, what the cost of operation will be, and what type of accounting you plan on utilizing.
Measure the Market and the Metrics Focus specifically on the demographics and users you're looking to hit with your new business, and how your price and costs might compare with what the market wants to pay.
Grab some highlighters and group these together. Then, choose a name or tag line that summarizes each theme or area of focus. Now that your goals are organized into different focus areas themes , step back and look at the big picture. Based on where you are now, which areas are the highest priority? Likewise, if you are winning notable contests and trusted critique partners are hard-pressed to see how you can improve, likely you should make getting your work in front of agents and editors a priority.
This step involves soul-searching and honesty. To be objective, set emotion aside. Ask yourself hard questions about what your career really needs. If it helps, pretend you are advising a writer friend. If they were in your shoes, what important things would you suggest they work on to get ahead?
Now comes the hard part: Which two areas of focus did you mark as being the most critical? Pick specific goals that will help you most in these areas.
Once you choose a goal, think about the steps you must take to achieve it. For inspiration, look at the highlighted lists you made. Do the same exercise as above and list out tasks action items that must be carried out to achieve this goal.
When making these decisions, think carefully about your time. We all have roles and commitments outside of writing, and these things require a lot of energy. Stick to your plan by setting timelines that fit your schedule. Becca and I chose a seasonal timeline, so we knew which goal to pursue at which time of the year.
This helped us meet completion dates. If you are unsure how much time a certain task will require, set a deadline with a fallback date. A visual helps when it comes to following a business plan. By condensing your plan on one page, it will force you to be succinct in what must be accomplished to meet each goal.
You can use a spreadsheet or table to do this Excel, Google spreadsheet, a piece of paper, etc or download this template. When your spreadsheet is filled out, print and display it where you write.
This will remind you of what you should be doing and help you make good use of your time. Once your plan is complete, stick to it. When new opportunities come up, see if they fit your plan. Before you print your business plan, type this statement in bold at the bottom: Angela Ackerman is a writing coach, international speaker, and co-author of the bestselling book, The Emotion Thesaurus: Her books are available in six languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world.
Angela is also the co-founder of the popular site Writers Helping Writers , as well as One Stop for Writers , an innovative online library built to help writers elevate their storytelling.
Find her on Facebook , Twitter , and Instagram. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Great post and I love your books Angela.
They continue to help me hone my craft. Good step-by-step guide to create an overview of goals and an action plan for writers.
And this is a good time of the year to focus on goals and new beginnings! Thank you so much Jane for having me here today. Thanks so much for the great summary of the shifting writing landscape.
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