There are countless business planning methodologies out there so take a read of a few and create one that fits your own understanding and direction but also take time to learn what each heading means. HINT: If you are not learning new terms, skills & concepts in setting up your own business then you are probably skipping some important details.
One place to look for inspiration for business planning are venture capital firms’ web sites. These people tend to publish easy to understand pitching tools that cover off most of the important details. It’s a great way to put together a “pitch” for yourself (and if at the end of it you can’t sell it to your friends / family / accountant then you probably need to tweak it in some way).
Plans don’t survive contact with the market: No matter what your plan is you will find it will change and needs revisiting. Some people condense the key points of their plan into a single page and always have a copy in sight. Plans by nature are big and complex beasts and do need to be tamed:
- Goal: What am I trying to achieve? [and why]?
- Strategy: What are the collection of assumptions and expectations that lead me to the prediction of achieving my goal?
- Action: What is the critical strategic path? itemise each step in the journey.
- Tasks: Take each step and make into a list of tasks. Scan your tasks horizontally to see what activity can complete multiple tasks in multiple steps.
Ultimately we only ever actually “do” tasks. This is a really important thing to remember when it’s month 3, the phone isn’t ringing and you have no jobs on. If you are seeing all of your goals slip away from you then either your plan was broken to start with or more likely you are not focusing on the tasks, the tasks that deliver the actions, steps that make up the strategy, and the strategy that delivers the goal.
What’s in a name?
Yes, it is not unusual to agonise over deciding on what to call your business. Not only do you need to think of something unique or catchy but you also need to see if the domain name is available for it. Some things to consider when deciding on a business name include;
- Will the name stand out in the market place?
- What image are you trying to create?
- Is the domain name available?
- What is your plan for the business in the future? If you create a business name built around you (eg John Smith Recruitment) how would you be able to sell the business if you chose to in the future?