4 Questions to Ask When Building Your Business Plan
So many “professionals” in this industry are successful almost by accident. Their talent, in spite of all their preparation or business management acumen, creates the perception of a brilliantly crafted career.
It’s not hard to make that perception a reality, but it does take time and dedication. The first step is create a business plan. Consider your business plan as the roadmap to your dreams, complete with fluffy clouds and rainbows that you can slide down!
It doesn’t need to be complicated. Here are four questions you can answer to get started…
What is your product or service?
Every company exists to create new value. That’s what customers are paying for. What do you do to earn your income? This is the place to really pinpoint the nuts and bolts of the services you want to provide to your clients. In the fancy version of a business plan the answers to this question would be considered your Executive Summary, About Our Product/Service, and Company Description sections.
Who are your customers?
This is the one question I see wedding professionals really dilute the most. “Anyone engaged” is NOT a good client demographic. Think on a micro level. This allows you to target your exact clientele by knowing what their age is, education level, where they shop, etc. If you want to flesh this out even further, you can create customer profiles and even customer personas with names and personalities. Marketing and selling to each type/group will require different strategies and tactics. The first step, though, is to identify these groups.
Once you know this, you can create a marketing strategy and understand who your competition might be. The snazzy versions of this info in your business plan are your Market Analysis, Target Market, Primary (and Secondary) Markets, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Plan, Competitive Analysis/Advantage, and Market Size sections.
When will things get done?
This is when we get to the nitty-gritty. Write down concrete action steps and scheduled milestones. Now take it a step further and set three-year five-year goals.
When are bills due and when do you get paid?
Identify all of your expenses. Write down all the things you might have to pay for while launching or running your business. All of your expenses will fall into three categories: fixed expenses, variable expenses, and capital expenses.
And that’s it! You have a solid foundation to your business and a great place to grow from! Don’t forget to re-evaluate your plan yearly. It will grow and change just as you do!