Starting your own business is a big milestone. You’ve probably been dreaming about it for quite a while, and now, you’re finally taking the plunge and taking steps toward business ownership.
While congratulations are definitely in order, so is a bit of advice: plan carefully. Most successful startups have one thing in common: their founders took the time to formulate a business plan, and then acted on it. Their product may have happened by necessity or even accident, but their plan for success likely did not.
When deciding how to structure your business, obtain funding, and execute your launch, consider consulting with a financial expert. There are a lot of things to think about, and a lot of hoops to jump through. Your business plan will be unique from anyone else’s, and that’s a good thing. However, a successful startup should be carefully planned and documented before you get in too deep.
How should your business plan look?
As stated above, your business is unique, so your plan will be, too. But whether in Southern Utah or elsewhere, successful startup plans usually contain some common elements.
An executive summary
Your executive summary should introduce potential partners or investors to your plan. It should be part of your bigger business plan, but should be able to stand on its own as well. Many whom you present with your executive summary will make their decision based on the impression it gives them.
Your market analysis should tell readers why your product or service is necessary, who your audience is, and how much they’ll be willing to pay to solve their problem. Enlist the help of a professional if necessary.
Your startup plan should include an analysis of who your competitors are, and what makes your product or service better. Tell readers how you plan to one-up the competition.
How do you intend to introduce your product to your audience and the general public? What is your price point and profitability? How will you advertise? How are you going to sell as much as possible?
This is a big one that a lot of people don’t consider when forming their plan. You must show potential investors or partners that you see the risks that lie ahead. Include an assessment of these risks and what you are doing to minimize them.
Your business plan must provide an analysis of your profit/loss and cash flow, and the data you used to determine them. Detail your funding needs and back them up with data that you may need help to compile. State how you’ll use your startup funds, along with possible investor exit strategies.
This is not intended to be a comprehensive list; just a few things to keep in mind. Think about getting some help forming your startup plan, and definitely consult an accountant about the financial and legal structure. This assistance can greatly reduce your risk and financial liability.