Creating a plan is the right way to start anything and the same is true for businesses. Creating a business plan is the right way to start your business, the time and effort you put into thinking through different areas and processes of the business would pay off when you actually start running the business.
Business plans are dynamic, you have to constantly update them. The biggest question is what should the entrepreneur do after creating a business plan? This article will answer that question for you and give you a roadmap to start executing your ideas.
What is the purpose of writing a business plan
- A business plan creates a roadmap for your business.
Writing a business plan is like drawing a roadmap for your business. It outlines all the paths that will lead to the success of your business.
It also gives you insight into the amount of money you need for capital, achievable goals, customers’ needs, operating cost, market segments and everything in between.
- Helps you secure funds from investors
It also assists you in sourcing funds from investors and tracking the growth of your business. Investors can tell the likely direction of the business from reading about your plans and any business traction you have gained while working on the idea.
However, there is more to entrepreneurship than business plans. You need grit, commitment and skills to ensure success.
What skills do I need for entrepreneurship
- Strategic thinking and planning skills
Strategic thinking is creating ideas to solve problems and developing strategies with your objectives in sight. While strategic planning involves transforming those ideas into achievable plans. You can develop these skills by observing, asking calculated questions, and making plans to give life to your ideas.
- Communication and listening
Communication skills are useful in fortifying relationships between customers, staff, investors and the general public. It also promotes teamwork between you and your employees when you can articulate the business vision and the role each member plays to achieve the overall goal..
Listening to your customers, staff e.t.c and using the feedback to refine your business process to create the best experience for anyone interacting with your brand is a big win.
If you have workers or employees, good communication and active listening skills help you become a better team player and promote a healthy work environment.
- Time management and organizational skills
Entrepreneurship can be time-consuming, so you have to organize your activities and manage time to prevent burnout. If your daily life seems disorganized and clustered, create a schedule and reduce time spent on unnecessary activities.
- Teamwork and leadership skills
Being a good leader depends on teamwork skills. If you develop this skill, you will cultivate a good relationship with your employees and motivate them to be more productive.
Learning to delegate to people, train them and believe they can do the best work, observe and give useful feedback are ways to improve your leadership skills.
The rate at which your staff resign, or their performance level and general mood, can let you know how much you need to improve these skills.
- Customer service skills
As an entrepreneur, it is important to interact with your customers. You must be capable of relating with them and resolving their grievances. Give them the best experience, let them feel good doing business with you. They will definitely tell other people about you and become loyal evangelists of your business.
Good customer service skills help you know if your product or service is achieving its purpose, which is to fulfil your customers’ needs and to know areas that require improvement.
- Financial skills
Financial skills ensure your business thrives, and it prevents losses and debts. With the aid of accountants and finance officers, you can oversee the finances of your business and remain aware of the financial proceedings of your business.
Ensure you record your day to day transactions, categorize your income and expense so that you know where you are spending more money and where you are making more money. Making data driven decisions will be a win for you.
- Analytical and problem solving skills
Every business experiences issues or problems at different phases of their operations. You need analytical skills to anticipate obstacles and see the flaws in your plans. While problem-solving skills aid in thinking and implementing a workable solution.
- Business management and technical skills
It’s one thing to start a business, it’s another to keep it going smoothly. You can only do this if you know how to manage a business. It requires a lot of hands-on work to manage your business. This means you also need to develop a few technical skills relating to your business because you can’t afford to pay people for every job.
- Branding, marketing and networking skills
Growth! Growth! And more growth!! That is the reason for these three skills. If you’re new, grow your network and marketing your business. Branding increases the awareness people have of your business.
It creates conversations about your business that puts you in the minds of potential customers. The end goal is to convert potential customers to buyers.
What do most entrepreneurs do when starting a business?
- Understand their industry
When starting your business, carry out in-depth research. These involve knowing your target market, market location, competitors, the impact of your product or service on the ideal consumers, etc. Having this knowledge will help your business in the long run.
- Perform all the roles related to the business
As earlier stated, being an entrepreneur means you have to do a lot of things yourself, such as planning, marketing, human resource manager, customer care, finance manager and accountant, and so many more. You can take advantage of free online courses to learn the basics of these job roles.
- Market their business ideas with every opportunity
Every day you meet people who are potential customers, so use these opportunities to market your business. Doing this requires strategic thinking and planning, about the impact of your business on consumers’ lives and persuading them to patronise you.
- Get a mentor or business consultant
Growing a business on your own is hard. Most successful businesses became that way with the help of mentors and business consultants. These are professionals who understand the business environment, and can use their experience to guide you on your journey.
How do you become a successful entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship can seem very scary, especially at the onset and for a first time entrepreneur. Some traits you need to become a successful entrepreneur are consistency and determination.
Many people fail at entrepreneurship because they expect quick results, or because they tire of trying. To succeed, educate yourself. To be a successful entrepreneur you need to keep failing forward. Learn from other people’s mistakes and your own mistakes. Read up on skills you need and about successful business owners who have shared their experiences.
What must an entrepreneur do after creating a business plan
- Raise the startup capital
The first step in implementing your business plan is raising your startup capital. You must already have an approximated idea of the amount needed to finance your business plan to a certain extent.
How can you raise this capital?
- From your savings
It’s advisable to have a side hustle or source of income that will help you generate the funds for your business. You can save up to start your business by creating a personal budget to control your spending and help you save.
- From friends and family
Your family and friends want you to grow and will help you ensure this happens. Ask them to support your business plan by giving you, if not all the money you need, then a part of it. Some might even be willing to give you a loan without interest and time limit. Just ensure you pay back to avoid conflict.
- From pre-orders
In some businesses, you can get your buyers to pay for a business or service beforehand, with the promise to deliver. You do not have to tell them it’s for your business startup. This payment can raise your business from the ground level. Pre orders are common in product sales and bulk buying, where the entrepreneur uses this payment to buy the first set of goods.
- From angel investors
Angel investors give monetary support to start-up businesses. They fund your business to become shareholders, giving them a say in the operations and management of your business. Some entrepreneurs dislike this, so you have to consider it before taking this step.
- Secure an office location or set up a home office for online businesses
Every business needs an office or a store/warehouse, depending on your type of business. It might be a store, a warehouse or just a space to set up your laptop, as the need might be. Renting an office or creating a home office depending on the most suitable conditions for your business, provides the space for you to be dedicated to creating value for your customers.
- Access to raw materials
Your proximity to the raw materials needed for your business is one factor to be considered while choosing a location. You don’t want to waste time and money transporting raw materials from the market to your business location.
- Access to the target market
Setting up close to your target market can make promotion and advertising simpler for you because it places you in proximity to potential customers. This provides you with buyers, as you can get their attention even without going the extra mile. It also strengthens your connection and deepens your relationship with your customers. This is why international businesses open local branches where necessary.
- Ease of expanding to secondary markets
If you plan to expand your business in the future, you can set up close to a location where your business is unknown but has all the characteristics of your potential target market. In the future it would be easier to deploy your resources and build a presence in your secondary market segment.
- Secure equipment and tools needed
Every trade has its tools, and you need yours to get your business running swiftly. Despite the high cost of equipment, it is necessary to buy if you can’t do without or if they speed up your process. You can also explore co-packers in the case of manufacturing businesses,, co-working space or any other form of collaborative partnership available to you.
- Manufacturing or production equipment for product-based businesses
For entrepreneurs who need to manufacture products, you should know the prices of the machinery or equipment you’d need for production. Please note that quality and durability take precedence over low prices and quantity. Buy quality tools to avoid future expenses.
- Outsource manufacturing or production
Many businesses, even big ones, outsource their production. You can also do this by negotiating deals with outsourcing firms. Some companies specialise in manufacturing and producing for other products based business at a particular cost.
- Technical and software tools for service-based businesses
If your business is a service, such as soft skills and digital services, ensure you get the best software and hardware tools to guarantee smooth operations. Some extra quality software might require payment or subscription. Weigh the costs to avoid ruining your finances.
- Design your business operating process
How do you want to operate your business? What methods can you employ to achieve smooth operations? These are questions you must ask yourself. Designing your business operating system enables your business to function like a properly oiled machine, making it more profitable. The following aspects have no fixed rule or method. So it lies on you to plan and strategize how to handle your business.
- Employee recruitment and onboarding
Employee recruitment is the procedure entailed in hiring an individual to work for you while employee onboarding is acquainting new hires with your business and the roles they will perform.
These differ from business to business, so you also must make some policies to serve as guidelines during the recruitment process. These guidelines often shape the culture around your business. How you serve customers, how you reward good work and ensure job satisfaction should be factored into your process.
- Customer service and support
These focus on ensuring that your customers get the intended outcome and experience on their journey with you. It targets methods to be implemented for the accomplishment of customer satisfaction. Specifying this is a part of your business operation process.
How long do customers have to wait before errors are fixed? Or before they get a refund for a badly executed service?
- Sales team
These are the group of persons responsible for the selling of your businesses products or services. Your sales team needs to be organised and have a structure. There are several ways to do this research to enable you to pick the one that suits your business.
It is a Web-based shopping system that enables employees to develop, manage, and track their orders relating to your business operations while the purchasing department maintains central control. It will help you facilitate your employees’ ordering and implement a purchasing policy.
- Financial planning
These are the processes involved in the financial activities of your business, including your short and long term financial goals, and the strategies to achieve them.
- Account management
It involves sales management, nurturing and maintaining client-business relationships. You can employ one person or more to manage your business accounts.
- Digital marketing
Since the world went digital, every business owner now uses digital technologies and the internet to promote, advertise and market their businesses.
A high percentage of potential buyers can be found through the Internet like social media.
- Process improvement
Growth is constant only if you are ready to improve. It is necessary to analyse your methods and processes from time to time to identify areas that need improvement.
- Validate your business idea
Validation of your business idea helps to ensure its success. To accomplish this, research to find out if there’s a need for your product or service or if your product or service fully meets your buyers’ needs. You can do these by getting real users to test your product or service and collecting their feedback.
- Hire for key roles
You can’t do everything on your own. According to your business sector, there are essential roles to be filled to ensure the growth of your business. Be sure to make plans to hire the right people to do these jobs. Some roles are accountants, IT gurus, HR personnel, and others.
- Have proper bookkeeping and financial management.
There is a popular saying in the business world that, “cash is king”. Without proper financial management, your business will suffer. Most businesses actually fail as a result of not having financial control. Hence, pay close attention to ensure proper management and accountability.
The first thing you must do is open a business account. You must never use a personal bank account for your business. Record every transaction and ensure it all balances out. Some applications and software can help with that. Set a day aside, either daily or weekly, for bookkeeping.
- Promote the business using conventional and unconventional marketing tactics
One important area that merits your attention is promotion or advertisement. When you advertise your business, you create awareness of it, and these people are your potential customers.
There are several conventional marketing tactics, such as using billboards, TV commercials, and many more. As for the unconventional marketing strategies, one of the most popular today is social media. Are you engaging people on TikTok?
You can do more research on examples of these marketing strategies, but the most effective are those that result from deep thinking and observation of your market audience.
- Manage your business growth
Whether your business is having a growth surge or a decline, you should always know its growth at all times. Business growth management keeps you informed of methods that are not working, those that aren’t, and how to capitalise on those that are working.
To manage your business growth, set SMART goals, hire the right people, understand your market audience, ensure excellent customer service and monitor your finances.
- Hire business consultants
These individuals specialise in the aspects of a business, such as strategic thinking and planning, market research, advertising campaigns, and so on.
Even if it costs money, it’s a promising investment you won’t regret if done right. These professionals have a keener mind and can identify the flaws your business has and show you how to correct them.
Entrepreneurship is no child’s play. After creating a business plan, you can feel overwhelmed by all the plans and goals.
The best thing to do is to take one step at a time. Look for the low hanging fruits you can quickly pick up. That might just be raising money from family or having your target audience pre-order for that service while you work towards fulfilling the service or product.