Being a small business owner comes with challenges unique to the size and function of the business. The small business owner has to handle all the challenges of selling, delivering, financing, managing and growing the business with little or no staff, while trying to make it a success. The most important of all is to retain the interest of all stakeholders like customers, vendors and team to build momentum in a short span of time. Running a small business can be hugely rewarding both personally and financially.
Put your idea into writing. It is important to take the ideas in your head and get them down on paper. Most successful businesses offer a new product or service or fill an existing niche in the market. Whatever your reasons may be for starting a small business, make sure to clearly and concisely put them in writing.
- It can be helpful to go through many drafts or iterations of your business plan.
- Include as many details as you can in your business plan. Overthinking the details is never as damaging as ignoring the details.
- It can also be useful to include questions in drafts of your business plan. Identifying what you don’t know is as helpful as listing things you are sure about. You do not want to present a business plan with unanswered questions to potential investors, but laying out relevant questions in your initial drafts will help you identify questions that require answering in your final business plan.
Meet with your local Small Business Development Center. SBDC’s provide help during all stages of the business life cycle. They can help you create a stellar business plan to approach a lender with and their counseling is always free
Identify your customer base. In your business plan, you need to identify who you think will buy your product or service. Why would these individuals need or want your product or service? The answer to these questions should help to determine all other aspects of your business’ operations.
- Here, it useful to ask questions of your service or product. For example, you may want to ask questions like, does my product/service appeal to younger or older people? Is my product/service affordable for lower-income consumers or is it a high-end purchase? Does my product/service appeal to people in specific environments? You won’t be selling many snow tires in Hawaii or beach towels in Alaska, so be realistic about the appeal of your product.
Outline your finances. In your business plan, you need to address key questions about your business’ fiduciary situation.
- How will your product or service generate money? How much money will it generate? How much does it cost to produce your product or service? How do you intend to pay operational costs and employees? These, and others, are critical question you need to answer in planning your small business’ financial future.
Project growth. All successful small businesses need to grow their customer base and production capabilities over the first few years of operating. Make sure you have identified how your business can and will respond to growth potential.
- Be realistic with your growth potential. Keep in mind that growing your business requires a growth in investment capital as well. Projecting too much growth in too short a time period can quickly deter potential investors.