Business plan

Write a business plan | Victoria Enterprise

Whether you are considering starting a business or have been operating it for years, business planning is key to your success. A business plan helps you secure funding, gives you control and direction, and helps you set priorities.

Step 1: Define your vision

When you start a business, you have a clear goal to achieve that vision. After a while, the clarity of your vision may become blurry. Writing down your vision will help you define it so that your staff will identify with your mission. Where are you now? Where do you want your business to be in the future?

Step 2: Define your goals

Make your goals and objectives realistic. Plan your short, medium and long term goals, including choosing your location; the number of customers you plan to reach and the demographics of your customers; your sales targets – revenue and profit margins; what you will outsource; your required workforce; and your growth strategy. Planning this strategy will help you realize your dream and grow your business.

Step 3: Define your unique selling proposition

What differentiates you from your competitors? Highlight the features that set your business apart from your competition. Is there a demand for your line of products or services? What can your business offer to increase demand?

Step 4: Study your market

Who are your competitors ? What range of products or services do they offer? Where are the gaps? Where is demand greater than supply and for what products or services? What are the current and future industry trends? How do you exploit these opportunities?

Perform a SWOT analysis to explore the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats your business faces; Think of all the possible scenarios. List the problems and perform a force field analysis for each. This will help you determine clear actions to implement in order to respond to them.

Step 5: Know your customer

Do your research and define your target audience. Customers are spoiled for choice, so find out about their buying habits. What does your ideal client want? Get their feedback. Who are you targeting by age, gender, behavioral patterns or location? Find your niche.

Step 6: Define your marketing goals

Consider the product mix and stock quantities at the exit or warehouse. Create a product development strategy. What price do you need to set to achieve the desired revenue? How will you handle distribution and delivery? What tools will you use for promotion?

Step 7: Define your marketing strategy

Include your chosen social media channels and engagement. How and where will you advertise? Marketing on search engines, print, radio or other media? Will you attend industry, trade or networking events?

Step 8: Talk to your accountant

Do your math – are your financial goals and proposals realistic? How can you improve your cash flow? How can you achieve your goals? Good business planning is a three-step process:

  • You plan for the future.
  • You FOLLOW your progress.
  • And you LEARN from your experience.

One of the most important things to remember is that a business plan is a living document. Just as your business evolves over time, your plans must also evolve. Set reminders in your calendar to review your plan every 3, 6, or 12 months. It is important to revise your goals based on your current status as changes occur over time. Make planning part of your business. It doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t have to be done in solitude. Make it fun, be creative, and include others in your process.

For more information on business planning, visit business.vic.gov.au where you can access tools, workshops and resources to help you plan for success.


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