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6 Easy Steps to a Simple Practical Business Plan

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6 Easy Steps to a Simple Practical Business Plan

By Tim Berry, Guest Blogger
Published: May 26, 2010

So you wonder whether you want a business plan for your business. You've heard that business plans are about raising money, perhaps, and it sounds like it might be hard to do. You don't have that MBA degree or CPA certification. So thank goodness, you don't need it. What a relief.

Here's my suggestion:

  1. Take some time to think about your business strategy. Think about what's unique about you, what you do best, and what you like to do. Think about what others want you do do. Then think about whom you want to sell to and what types of people. And apply strategic focus; think about what you're not doing. Remember, you can't do everything. Strategy is focus. Write it down, for yourself, as simple bullet points. Do just enough to help you remember. Leave it on your computer.
  2. Promise yourself you're going to have a review every month. Set the day for the review ahead of time.
  3. List your important assumptions.
  4. List important dates and deadlines; what is supposed to happen when. Consider your strategy as the long-term goals and directions, and these are steps to make that happen. Make a list you can manage, short and sweet, of key dates. Make sure you know who is responsible for each deadline.
  5. Do a sales forecast. Break it down into some meaningful units, even if they're like hours or days or trips for a service business, and average price and average cost per unit. Do it for 12 months.
  6. Do an expense budget. Include payroll, and include your own value, even if you're just taking a draw on profits.

    Now that didn't take long, did it? Now you have a business plan. Be true to your promise to yourself and keep the schedule to review planned vs. actual results every month, and then you have a planning process.

    And suddenly, without that much effort, you're managing your business better and controlling your own destiny. And see: it wasn't that hard.

    About the Author:

    Tim Berry
    Tim Berry

    Guest Blogger

    Founder and Chairman of Palo Alto Software and bplans.com, on twitter as Timberry, blogging at timberry.bplans.com. His collected posts are at blog.timberry.com. Stanford MBA. Married 46 years, father of 5. Author of business plan software Business Plan Pro and www.liveplan.com and books including his latest, 'Lean Business Planning,' 2015, Motivational Press. Contents of that book are available for web browsing free at leanplan.com .


    I'm looking for some kind of help that allow me to become a Real Estate Investor, and I think that you will provide to me this opportunity. Thanks.
    I'm wanting to open my own salon
    Thank you So much
    I want to start a consignment store, because it requires little start -up cost. I need to know how to write a business plan to submit to qualify possible for a business grant from the gov state or city.
    Jeannie - I am also interested in this type of shop (consignment/resale). How has your experience been so far? Thanks! Dawn
    Helpful with advice like this. University now not important, important is their ability
    Hello, I am trying to do a business plan for a start up Assisted Living Care that only holds 5 to 6 residents. This plan is a project for school. Does anyone have any ideas? I need to get started and it is due soon. Since it is a start up, I am trying to look at small businesses such as the ones done at owner's home to get ideas. It seems overwhelming.
    Excellent! Very good,and useful information.
    Tim, this is a great short article, but what exactly do you mean by "important assumptions"? How much consideration do you give to consultants and how their services overlap your software?
    Its really very nice and informative post. its must read before start planing of new business because in this article all the thing like time, budget, own value, profit and many other are covered.


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