Hey, friends! Are any of my readers business owners? Small business, home business, or maybe a booming online enterprise? I'm not, but I have to admit, the thought has crossed my mind numerous times how much I would love to open a bakery and coffee shop. Making a limited amount of fresh baked goods every day (cinnamon rolls would be the cafe's #1 menu item since they're my specialty) and serving all sorts of coffee beverages to go with the sweets. It's not something I really think I'll ever do simply because I know the statistics about restaurants failing as well as not having the capital to start something like that, but it's nice to dream.
I was reading recently about what are considered the top 10 components of a business plan, and found some helpful and extremely useful information. So, in case any of my readers are business owners or are contemplating starting a business, I thought I'd discuss a couple areas I thought especially important.
First, the customer analysis. Who are the people your business will appeal to? What specific group of customers will you be targeting? Are you going to attract moms and families? Is it something that young people will be drawn to? Maybe senior citizens? Singles or couples? I feel like figuring out who you are trying to bring into your business is a huge part of making sure your enterprise gets off the ground and running smoothly.
A second point I thought was very helpful was discussing the marketing, sales, and product plan. If you don't have a plan in place to market your product/service/business, you are pretty much guaranteed to fail. Social media marketing is almost a must in our day and age, but there's so much more than just starting a Facebook page for your biz. Do you know how to use social media effectively? Are you familiar with what hashtags and headlines will catch the eye of potential customers? Do you have an eye for photography to present your products in the best light? Moving away from social media, what is the image you want for your business/brand? Are you going for a hip look? Do you want something traditional and trustworthy, maybe the "family-owned-and-operated" image? Or do you have a unique thought in mind that you want your brand to convey? The possibilities are endless, but it's important to have these questions answered before you open a business, whether it's online or a brick-and-mortar store.
Lastly, having a solid financial plan in place is of the utmost importance. Do you know what it will cost to get your business up and running? How long will it take before you start to see profits? What is the minimum you need to make to cover day-to-day costs? Finance is, without a doubt, the one thing you MUST have calculated and arranged long before opening day.