I’m sure by now you have heard that your new local small business needs a business plan. Or does it? Is a business plan the right tool to help you get your local small business off the ground or is there a better option? What if I told you that you will probably find greater success using a Success Blueprint instead?
As many of you know, a business plan is meant to help a new business owner get their great idea off the ground. Typically, a business puts a business plan together to present to others to help secure backing of some kind… normally this would be financing. This business plan is then presented to a bank, small business association or even venture capitalists.
Since a business plan is primarily used to secure financing, these folks will want to know about your new business so they are looking for things like your vision / mission, goals for the company, target customer, operations plan, financial needs and expenses, to name a few things.
If your new local business is going to need some serious cash to get off the ground, then you will probably be looking at putting a business plan together to raise those funds needed. These banks / lenders will want to know all about your business, about you and your background and what you plan to do with the money and how you will pay it back in the future and when.
Since most local small businesses will not need huge cash investments, the vast majority of you will not need to present a business plan to a lender or venture capitalist. Now don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for a more traditional business plan. For example, if you plan on opening or buying a franchise, they will probably ask you to provide one. Another example might be if you are opening a business in need of some high ticket equipment or trucks.
A success blueprint is very similar to a business plan but the targeted audience is completely different. The most important difference between a business plan and a success blueprint is where as business plan is for others to evaluate your business idea a success blueprint is more of a tool for the small business owner. That’s right, a success blueprint is all about you and your business for YOU!
The success blueprint will be your roadmap to go from “concept to open for business”.
Your success blueprint is meant to help gather information on your business, your customers, your competition, steps to opening and how you will market / brand your new local business. If done right, a good success blueprint will walk you through the investigation stage of your business. It will help you do the research needed to understand your customers / clients as well as your competition. It will help you create the marketing plan you need to kick off and succeed your first year of business.
So what exactly is in this success blueprint? Similar to a business plan, a success blueprint is going to have you layout what your business idea is, how you plan to get there, the tools & resources you need, and your marketing plan.
Your success blueprint will also require research on your end. You will dive in to discover your core customer, what are their needs. You will study your competitors. You will want to find out what they are doing well that you need to emulate. You will want to discover what they are doing poorly and can capitalize on.
Your success blueprint will map out how you plan to brand your local small business. How you will let folks know you are “open for business”. You will also put a plan in place for your first year on how you continue to get your name out there.
So, business plan or success blueprint? Which is right for you and your small businesses? If you are starting a typical one or two-person business like handyman, dog groomer, pool cleaner, or maid service odds are you do not need a business plan and a success blueprint will be great for your start up.
However, if you are opening up or purchasing a franchise, or a business that requires lots of equipment and a long term lease, then you might need to seek out financing so a business plan might be required. However, I strongly challenge you to include some of the parts of the success blueprint especially the parts that don’t overlap.
To help get you started on your success blueprint, I’ve created a PowerPoint presentation that you can customize to fit your new business. It will have all the questions you need to either research or accomplish. You can either print it up and write on it or you can open Powerpoint to type in the information and even add more pages.
Just looking for an idea on how to build your own success blueprint? No problem, use it as a template to create your own version. Just make sure you do one!
A lot of folks start new local small businesses each and every day. The successful ones take the time to research the business they are going into. They take the time upfront to know the answers to key areas of their business. They know what their customers want and build the business around providing those services. They know what their competition is doing well and poorly to take advantage of both.
Will you be one of the smart ones who have a plan in place to ensure your businesses success?
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