The 3 start-up planning basics
Without planning, how will you know where you’re going and when you’ve arrived? It’s going to be hard work running a business, and you’ll need targets to keep your motivation strong and to know when to celebrate the small wins.
It’s also easy to get caught up in the everyday tasks without looking at the overall picture. With a proper plan in place, it’s easy to make sure you’re staying on track.
So, how do you make a basic plan for starting a business?
1. What’s your end goal?
It goes without saying that you want your business to be successful, but what exactly is success to you? Does it mean your business will:
- Turnover £xxx amount each year?
- Bring enough money in for you and your family to live on?
- Be the market leader in its industry?
- Become a franchise?
- Make you famous/well respected/considered an expert?
It’s not always just about making lots of money, and even if it is just make sure you set actual amounts rather than simply ‘being profitable’.
2. What’s your mission statement?
What is a mission statement?
In essence it’s a sentence that sums up what your business does and why.
Why do you need a mission statement?
They are an ideal way to keep your business working in the right direction and make sound decisions for the future.
When you start looking at taking on employees it’s helpful to have a mission statement to give them an understanding of the business, more than just what you do.
How do you write a mission statement?
This part is simple – write down what your company’s purpose is. No frills, just straight to the point.
Example: My company's purpose is to sell quality scarves.
Describe how your business does what it does in terms of core values/beliefs or what’s important to you. This could be your environmental values, the quality of your product, your dedication to speedy delivery or customer service etc.
My company's purpose is to sell environmentally friendly, high quality, luxury scarves.
What’s your why? What’s your businesses reason for doing this? It can help to think about why you wanted to start this business in the first place.
Example: My company's purpose is to sell environmentally friendly, high quality, luxury scarves so that everyone can enjoy luxury without costing the earth.
3. What are your business goals?
Any goals that you set here (or in life generally) should be SMART goals. If you’re not sure what this means, it’s a way of laying out your intentions to make sure you can actually get them done.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. Each goal should be well defined with a clear outcome, have criteria for being measured, be something you can actually achieve, relevant to your needs, and have a set start and end date.
If you apply these factors to each goal you set, you’ll find them much easier to achieve.
Using the example business goal of ‘I want to starting sending out an email newsletter’, here’s how you would make it SMART:
Measurable – How many people do you want to be sending this to? How long do you want to do this for?
Achievable – Is it likely you’ll have the resources, time and skills to put together an email every week?
Relevant – Does your goal give your business an advantage? Is there a tangible reason for you doing it?
Timely – When are you going to send out your first email? When would you say you have achieved your goal?
Think about what business goals are important to you at this stage. They can be as big or small as you like but having them in bitesize pieces can be much easier.
Your mission statement will be beneficial to you throughout your business journey, and you can use it as a framework for your in-depth business plan. The formula for setting successful goals won’t change – continue to use this while you grow your business and beyond.
You might find yourself looking back on your mission statement to remind you of why you do what you do, especially during the long evenings spent working hard!
You can get all the help you need to write your business plan and get your business off the ground at the biggest business event in the North of England. It’s at Manchester Central on 17th & 18th March and is free to attend.
You'll discover the formula for a thriving start-up at the seminars and expert advice counters, pick up insider tips from the keynotes, master vital skills in the workshops and make significant connections in the networking sessions. It’s free to come along, you just need to get your free ticket online now.