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Ask Maria “Business Plans?”

I would like to learn more about a business plan, people say that you need one, but I am stumped and have no idea where to go or what to do about having one, can you help?

A business plan is generally thought of as a written document that outlines the “plan” or goals of a business. You can get very formal if you need to present this plan to a bank for a loan or you can be more casual if the plan is more your guide for your business.

You will include in a business plan: Company name; contact information; company philosophy, an “About” which will state what your company does (or will do) and how the company will achieve its goals. Usually a business plan includes goals for a year, five years, and ten years. The process of writing the plan helps your organize your thoughts and goals. You also have a document you can refer back to once a week or once a month to keep you on track.

For example here’s a brief business plan for me revised from my original business plan written in 1983…

Nerius House & Company

Company Philosophy: Through the sharing of creativity and craft technique, Nerius House & Company will help broaden the consumer base that buys craft products.

Nerius House & Company annually produces project designs for publication, feature consumer magazine articles, social media networking, and consulting services.

Financial Goals for 2011 include continuing consulting with FaveCrafts.com with a new emphasis on regular column print work.

In 2011 Nerius House will cold call 20 consumer publications, add video content on a weekly basis, and write 1 book proposal.  Nerius House will increase income by at least 7%.

Nerius House would like to acquire additional storage space by mid-year.

There is plenty of helpful information online. Just Google using the keyword “Business Plan.” You’ll find everything from software to down-to-earth practical advice from seasoned business professionals. Don’t let it overwhelm you! Think of it as an outline for your business, a guide to help you reach your goals.

Do you have a business plan or business plan tip you’d like to share? Please add a comment!