Are you in the process of starting a business or thinking about it? One of my best pieces of advice to you is don’t waste your time on a business plan.
This defies common logic, but after all, a business plan is just a giant guess. The financials are a guess, the projections are a guess, the rate of growth is a guess, and it rarely ever pans out how you plan it.
When I started Bearded Brothers I projected I would start paying myself within 6 months, that never happened. It took two years before I was able to take a salary. The rate of stores I thought we would acquire per month was also far fetched.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to just jump right out there and start a business without doing any research or knowing anything about the market. I’m simply saying book sized business plans are a frivolous endeavor. Most people that write their plan simply write it and never return to it.
Your time is better spent refining your brand, perfecting your product and actual action steps to make your business go live. Time wasted scribbling down your guess work is only going to delay your launch and slow you down.
I do believe there are a hand full of key things you should be aware of before you launch.
Do some basic industry research to make sure you are selling your product for enough money to keep the doors of your business open. Also, don’t confuse markup with Gross Profit Margin. I made this mistake early on. Markup is rarely used. Gross Profit Margin will let you know how much money you have left to operate your business (for every dollar you make) after you pay for materials and production.
Make sure you have a basic knowledge of the overall industry. How big is the market? Will you even be able to become a key player?
Make sure you have an excellent product. Does your product address a need that isn’t currently met by the market? If so, you stand a much greater chance of success. Branding is also key to having a successful product or service. If you have an awesome product growth will come organically.
Many people will tell you it’s going to take you twice as long to get your business started as you think. I would say, “double that”. And, do the same to the amount of time you think it’s going to take you to get paid. You need time to launch a product or service, so make sure you are ready to live lean until the time comes you can actually pay yourself.
No business is complete without at least having a mission, a vision, and a set of goals to work towards. Without these you have no purpose. Technically these are part of a business plan, but you don’t need to spend endless hours slaving over the. Keep them simple, but keep them real.