Business Plan Toolkit – The Final Steps
You’ve done it! This post is the third and final instalment of Your Business Plan Toolkit. We will be returning to the first page you filled in with the first post and drawing on your objectives you put great thought into with the second post. At the end of this post you will find a cheat sheet to help you along your way.
Opportunities for Growth
Here you are going to build on what you wrote on your first page in your SWOT analysis.
This time, with your focus on the year ahead, expand on what these opportunities are and how your could develop them.
For example, do you live in an area alive with a writing culture. Could you make connections with writing circles and build relationships that could lead to clients? How would you go about that? What timeframe do you see this becoming fruitful in your business?
Suggestions for Future Development
This is like opportunities for growth but looking further afield.
Think 3, 5, 10.
In three years, how many clients will you have? In 5 years, will you be working from a dedicated office space? In 10 will you have built a team?
Here you can be as aspirational as you want so long as you can justify your numbers.
Don’t forget you have a life outside of your small business. How do your small business long-term goals align with your personal life long-term goals?
In three years’ time do you want to take that once in a life time trip around the world?
If so, don’t create a three year goal that will stand in the way of that!
Risks and Considerations
This is the section in which to cast all of your anxieties. A successful business plan has to be optimistic. However, optimism without considering the chances of failure is ignorance.
Everyone’s individual circumstances are different. So your risks and considerations will be unique to your situation.
You should consider both personal and business risks in this section.
Personal considerations could include:
Whether you’re maintaining a “proper job” while you get your business in the air
How far your personal finances will stretch until you begin to turn a profit
What your work-life balance will look like in the coming year
Business considerations include:
Whether you have the contacts or platform to access clients
If you have the skill to set up and run social media and websites
If you have the knowledge to track finances
These are not extensive lists. You should take time to really thing about areas you would need to improve yourself or your business, so you know how to avoid certain pitfalls.
Freelance editing may not have a significant start-up cost compared to other small businesses. But there are costs involved. I’ve split some potential start-up costs into three types, Core, Low Budget and High Budget. Core is the bare minimum needed to run a freelance business. It is likely you already have many of these things. Low budget and high budget are then extras that benefit your business further.
A good internet connection
Pens and paper
A web domain
A reference dictionary
An office chair and desk
Office ergonomic essentials
Editing or proofreading training
A second monitor
The final task to complete this business plan is to return to your executive summary. Get a separate piece of paper. Summarise everything you’ve learned about your small business and how it will operate in the market. Use whatever note-taking method suits you best. I like to do a mind map as it allows me to make connections between thoughts that I may have missed.
Once you have this, its time to flex your copywriting muscles. Your executive summary should be brief but effective at selling your company. It’s your elevator pitch. Your chance to sell your company to an imaginary being with the attention span of a five-year-old at an arcade. It’s your chance to sell your company to yourself.
Now you’ve spent all this time on your business plan, keep it visible. Refer to it monthly. Make amends to both your plan and your actions as you go. To help you out in the future, see below the Business Plan Toolkit Cheat sheet. It condenses these three blogposts into a business plan sized word document to aid you in writing future business plans.