What you need to know about expanding your small business
Launching a start-up, or expanding an established business, is such an exciting time. However, with an influx of ideas and grand plans, it’s easy to get carried away and start operating before laying down the foundations, which can make things difficult down the track.
This is your reminder to resist the urge to jump ahead and, instead, head to the drawing board, so you can create a solid strategy that gives your business the best chance at success.
Read on to discover why you need a business plan for your business (and tips on how to make one that’s rock solid).
Business plans. Who needs them?
If you’re starting a business, then you do!
A business plan outlines what your brand is all about, the market you’ll be competing in, and how things will operate. It will be the backbone of your business, and a resource that you lean on for all your decisions and refer back to when you inevitably experience bumps in the road.
Additionally, it can help you secure funding if you need it, as you’ll need to demonstrate a clear plan that instills confidence in lenders or potential investors.
Key components to include in your business plan
1. Brand profile
Businesses only become successful if they’ve got strong, consistent branding to back them up, so it’s important to establish what your brand will look and feel like.
When considering what to include in the branding section of your business plan, think about all the elements that represent your brand and business to the outside world, including:
- your company ethos – vision, mission, values, etc
- visual elements, such as your logo and design elements (if you have them)
- brand personality, tone, and style
- key messages that you want to reiterate to your customers
If you’re starting a business, you’ve likely got products and/or services to sell. This section of your business plan is your opportunity to outline your sell – what exactly is your proposition and product/service mix, and what qualifies you to provide what your business is offering.
Some key questions to answer in this section include:
- Are your products/services a luxury or necessity?
- How are your products/services different from what’s already out there?
- What is the anticipated demand?
- How much does it cost to deliver what you’re selling?
- Who are your suppliers?
3. Market analysis
This section is one of the most crucial, as it will help you gain a better understanding of the industry you’ll be operating in. As a soon-to-be business owner, you’ll need to gather information on your competitors and target audience, as these are the entities you will be competing with and serving to.
Having a deep understanding of who your competitors are is crucial if you want your product to stand out in the market. By identifying their strengths and understanding what their customers resonate with, you’ll be able to leverage this and identify your own points of difference and opportunity areas, so you can make a plan to put processes in place that set your business apart.
Pinpointing your target audience is essential for informing your marketing efforts. Factors to incorporate here include geographic location, demographics, consumer pain points, and where they’re the most active, so you can meet them where they are.
4. Marketing plan
Once you have a good idea of the industry, it’s important to develop a marketing plan that details how you’re going to attract and retain customers.
Your marketing plan should include your objectives, a distribution plan, pricing, and positioning strategy, key marketing strategies, budget, and a timeline of action.
5. Financial strategy
This section will differ depending on the type of business owner you are (start-up or established) but the premise remains the same—outlining your income and expenses and predicting the costs of operation.
If you’re starting a business from the ground up, include one-time start-up expenses, such as licenses and equipment, as well as regular monthly expenses including salaries, stock replenishment, and marketing.
Business already established? Include income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements from the previous three to five years.
Creating a business plan
Looking for a business plan template? Here’s a handy template you can use.
How to implement your business plan
Once you’ve created your business plan, it’s time to put it to work. The best way to do this is by breaking it down into a series of tasks and allocating time to each one.
Remember, as your business changes, your plan will need to adapt accordingly. So, be sure to review and update it on a regular basis.
Need an EFTPOS solution for your business? Tyro has an option to suit your set up (in-store or online), industry, and monthly card transaction volume.
Get started with Tyro
Tyro may from time to time provide links to other websites for information purposes. The inclusion of links does not imply endorsement or support by Tyro of any of the linked information, services, products, or providers. Tyro does not accept any responsibility for any errors, omissions or reliability of such content and any use thereof is solely at the user’s risk. Please undertake your own assessment before relying on it.