Have you developed a product or service that meets a market need? Are you able to deliver this product or service to the market at a production and delivery cost that will allow you to make a profit? If you’ve identified the process for these fundamental steps, you’re on your way to launching a small business. This is a lot more arduous than it may sound at first blush. An engineer isn’t necessarily a businessman and a strong businessman is not necessarily a solid sale and marketing star. The bottom line is, not everyone can be good at everything. So often, small businesses launch with very little capital and the entrepreneur must wear many different hats. In order to ensure that your business launches on a trajectory for success, it is critical to develop a business plan and seek the input of a mentor. Whether your intention is to self-finance, seek venture capital, angel investors or a bank loan, you must now the fundamentals costs and pricing in or to determine cash needs and duration to reach profitability. Follow these steps for developing a basic business plan.
- Identify the target market for your product or service. Develop a focus group to identify this market and determine the maximum price that the market will bear. Identify your competition. You do have competition.
- Determine the costs for product or service development. This will allow you to estimate margins and calculate the scale needed for profitability. This will also determine the amount of start-up capital needed.
- Identify your sales channel. Will you market your product or service only using a website or will you engage a sales force for maximum penetration. Take advantage of the awesome deals offered by Groupon coupons and outfit your sales force with professional folios from the huge selection available at Things Remembered. Provide extensive product training and insist upon adherence to honesty and transparency from sales rep to client.
- Finally, identify the software needed to maximize operations, client profiles and financial accounting practices.
Once you have identified the above points in your business plan, review this and listen to the advice from a member of your local SCORE chapter. Best of luck to you in launching a successful business. You will work harder than you ever have and the rewards are potentially great than any you’ve experienced.