When you go on a trip, especially in a country you don’t know, you are advised to take a map. Travellers use GPS maps for road trips and even hikes to keep them on track. Moreover, knowing the path and terrain can help you pace yourself and prepare needed supplies or tools. If the next motel is seven hours’ drive away, taking extra food and water is a must. How would you know that if you didn’t have that map, right?
Having a business plan is like a detailed map for your business adventure. It will keep you safe, prepared and warn you of drops, steep climbs and other obstacles. It will lead you to success.
Develop Your Success Map
A business plan is there to motivate, inspire and drive you to success in addition to showing you the way. Here is what it absolutely has to contain:
- Defined Goals
- Milestones and Calendar
- Advertising Budget
Define Your Goals
This is the foundation of everything. Setting up your goals will determine every important decision you will be making. Use a calendar for this. It can be paper or a digital calendar, it doesn’t matter, but the goals should be set in writing and connected to dates. The goals can range from earning a million dollars, to gaining a following of 100,000 subscribers on your Youtube channel. Make your goals achievable, but don’t hesitate to aim high.
These are not goals that you meet in a week – they are where you see yourself in 5 or 10 years from now. Next come the smaller goals, in several categories:
- 5 year goal
- 1 year goal
- 6 month goal
- 1 month goal
Setting goals that mark smaller and larger chunks of progress is crucial for you to keep track of your growth. If you are behind schedule and you only set a yearly goal, you will only know that you were not doing well a full year after you could do something about it. Set your goals in small chunks and you will be able to step up your game immediately as soon as you register a delay. Tell yourself how much you want to accomplish at each milestone and you will be able to keep pace with your business plan.
Budget for Advertising and Marketing
Sure, marketing and advertising is not easy to plan for until you know more about the field, and many business people end up waiting until they start doing well before beginning to advertise. Experienced entrepreneurs will tell you, however, that advertising can greatly impact your business growth and you should definitely take advantage of this valuable tool.
There are many different advertising tools to choose from, and you will have to spend some time researching this to make the right decision. It will depend on the types of audience you are trying to reach and the type of industry you are in. While it is an additional expense, the benefit it can bring is immense and should not be ignored. Businesses that wait to succeed before they put money in advertising will often find themselves treading water and getting nowhere. Those who did put marketing expenses in their business plans will often experience an immediate influx of customers and gain traction faster.
Follow your Business Plan to Success
This may sound obvious to many, but we are sad to say that some entrepreneurs end up failing despite the fact that they start from a great, solid business plan. Because they didn’t follow it. In order for it to lead you to success, follow it constantly. Good luck!