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planIn part 1 I discussed how to identify your future business. In this second post, I’ll teach you how to set up a business plan.

Here’s a secret: you don’t write business plans for the bank. Nor for Venture Capitalists. You write a business plan for you. At this point, I can hear you say ‘but I got everything in my head, what do I need a business plan for, then?’ You’re partly right. The stuff is in your head, but it needs to come out. When you have all your ideas and plans layed out in front of you, things will become clear. You’ll get aware of problems and their solutions, and of new ideas.

So how do you write a business plan?
There is a ton of business plans and business planning software online. You’d do wise NOT spending any money on them. Since you are making the plan for yourself, there’s no right or wrong. As a guide, here’s what business plans usually consist of:

  1. A description of your business
  2. Marketing
  3. Finance
  4. Management

1: A description of your business
State here what your business is all about. What are you going to sell/offer? What need does your business fill?

2: Marketing
To me, this is the most fun part. How are you going to get people to sell your product/service? I highly recommend Perry Belcher‘s blog and Seth Godin‘s blog for inspiration No wait, make that mandatory reading!

3: Finance
The financial stuff. What do you need to buy, and how much you have to sell to get profitable. If you’re writing for a VC, this part is super important. If you’re a roach, don’t spend too much time on this. How the heck can anyone predict how much you’re going to sell in three years?

4: Management
In regular business plans, this is where you put bio’s, backgrounds and data of your management team. In your case… that’s right.

If you need an outline of a ‘real’ business plan, check out this link.

One last tip
As you write your business plan, it’s inevitable that you come up with new great ideas. The key is to stay focused on your original idea. If you don’t, you’ll end up chasing one dream after another, not finishing even one of them. Write down the new ideas, but stay focused.

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