Home – New Forums Starting your journey Do you have a plan? I do not !!!

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  • #983086
    asmgx
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    Hi

    As I am starting a new business, when I tell friends and family they keep asking me the same question..
    Do you have a plan?!

    Will, I do not have a plan and I do not know what type of plans I suppose to do?

    I know what I am going to sell and I know who i am going to target.

    but I really dont know what plan to do?!

    Can some one please guide me in this?

    I really would love to answer : Yes I do have a plan.

    Does anyone else have the same issue?
    any one has a plan can post that plan so can guide me…

    Thanks

    #1140540
    Breevree73
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    Oh my goodness, you are about to open a can of worms!!

    The opinions about whether or not you should have a written business plan vary between “You can’t possibly begin a business without one” through to “they aren’t worth the paper they are written on”, with every variation in between!!

    My personal opinion is that as a small business, you need to know the direction you wish to go in, so a level of planning is required. A written plan helps you to focus your thoughts on the markets and activities you expect to bring you the best results.

    However, this is not necessarily a “Business Plan”. A Business Plan is a document you provide to banks and financiers to convince them to fund your business. It includes projections of your budgets for the next 5 years, your market research and marketing planning, competitor analysis, your suitability to own and run the business, and a heap of other stuff.

    For myself, a basic plan works nicely. I have a financial plan for twelve months, which only tells me what I need to sell to make x dollars, and the known costs I am going to encounter – and really, in new small business, you can’t plan how much you are going to make, because it’s impossible to project figures based on no previous data.

    Second, I have a marketing plan, which tells me how I am going to get people to consider my product. Competitor analysis is important here, but it should be something you are constantly doing, rather than just once when you write up the plan. The marketing plan should also show your target audiences and what you think the best media will be to reach them.

    Third, I have a sales pipeline. This tells me how many leads I have converted into sales, and the value of those sales, where potential customers have fallen away (if they have fallen away) and is a way to compare my financial plan with my actual income, and my marketing plan with the actual results from marketing.

    If you are seeking funding, by all means complete the entire document. It is a very good way of knowing loads about yourself and your business prior to starting. But if you are ready to go, keep it simple and functional, and just Do It :-)

    #1140541
    PetesPlans
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    Hi,

    I don’t have a “plan”. I do have a lot of ideas (mostly technical product stuff) written down, but no actual plan of marketing, pricing, profits etc.

    I guess it depends on how much its going to cost you if it fails. For me, i can live without a few thousand if it all falls in a heap. But if this is the start of the rest of your life with no turning back, and your savings on the line, a plan would be good :)

    But i have learnt in recent weeks, now that my new business has turned from technical development to marketing (not my strength), that the motivation is falling away. A plan could have helped here i guess.

    All the best.

    Pete.

    #1140542
    ScarlettR
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    You need to be able to assess and test your levels of success in every area of your business. In order to do this you need to:

    a. Recognize where you are now, and where you need to get to in order to be (what you consider) successful. This may include your annual income, your industry reputation, a number of customers, whatever, but it must be able to be assessed.

    b. Set mini goals between now and then. Knowing your product and target business is good, but it’s not enough. How much do you need to earn in order to cover your expenses plus earn a profit? Are you going to need to hire someone else if business picks up? How much do you want to sell a week? And, of course, why should people buy from you? Why are you in this business? What’s going to keep you going in this business when you’re working 16 hour days just to get everything done?

    Having a plan gives you purpose and direction. Without those two things you may find yourself drying up very quickly.

    #1140543
    WhatsThePlanDan
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    Hi there,

    For my last two businesses I had no plan… and both died a horrible, horrible death.

    For my new business, I have done more planning than I ever thought was possible – and as a result I have very high levels of confidence, I know what I am doing and why, I know where I’m trying to get to rather than flopping around at random… and I’m sure that is going to make all the difference!

    There are heaps of articles and forum posts on business planning – do some searches and get reading – it will pay off! You can also find heaps of templates online – the big banks have some pretty good ones these days that aren’t too heavy on the complex financial stuff.

    How did I do my planning? I sat down with a big sheet of paper (actually in the end about 5 sheets) and over several days wrote down every last thing I thought I needed to consider about the business – from business branding to software to what I was selling to who I was selling it to, etc. Then I took each item one at a time and brainstormed around that. Once all that was done I started turning one-liners into a written plan doing whatever research I needed to along the way. I now have a comprehensive plan and task list to follow – yes, parts of it are already out of date but at least I know I have considered everything I need to.

    Hope that helps – and that I haven’t scared you off! :D

    Cheers
    Daniel

    #1140544
    Divert To Mobile
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    Hi Pete,

    You could start off by downloading a template and trying to fill in the blanks. This could help you identify issues you may have overlooked.
    The link is here

    Steve

    #1140545
    MatthewKeath
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    With my new business I have done more planning than I had ever done before, and it has helped enormously.

    I bought I business plan template, and it was awesome. It included a business plan, a marketing plan, and comprehensive financials

    I am seeking funding, so a business plan was essential, but more that that, it was able to help me clarify my offering, helped with pricing, helped me understand my target audience and USP, and helped focus on who my competition really is, and lot more.

    I highly recommend it.

    #1140546
    Mary Gardam
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    Hi,

    Whatever name you want to give it you need to have a plan and there is some great advice already given here.

    Having recently been through start-up I would suggest taking some time out from the excitement of starting your business for planning. It might not be as fun as working on a logo or talking to family and friends about your pending adventures but a good plan is going to save you time and money in the long term.

    A good template will take you through some areas you possibly hadn’t considered, including hidden costs (insurance, legal costs, registrations, subscriptions, monthly fees etc), competitor analysis (who’s out there doing what you do-this really helped us with our point of difference in the market), your strengths and weaknesses (consider what areas you may need to outsource or collaborate on) etc.

    It gives you a great starting point to estimate how much money you need to get started and stay in business and better understand your preparedness for your new venture.

    Best of luck with it all.

    Mary

    #1140547
    Rick | Visible
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    If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Definitely plan, but don’t overanalyse. At a more operational level it regularly is “Ready, Fire, Aim”.

    #1140548
    Robselc
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    Im starting my online boutique and I do not have a plan. My husband is very technical and he insisted before he help me that I write up a business plan…. but because I am the most un-technical unplanned person there is…. every time i sat down to write it, I would get to the numbers and It would just fizzle away. What I do know is that I have a dream, what I do know is that if i dont try it I will constantly think about it and it will be on my list of things to do. I guess I would rather try and fail so that can tick it off my bucket list then spend years trying to plan it, and fail at the planning. I hit lots of hurdles (or unplanned elements) but because I am already half way there when these hurdles come up I am simply forced to deal with them. However Im sure there are some business ideas that you would need to have a plan in place for…so I think in alot of ways it depends on what your business venture is?

    #1140549
    WhatsThePlanDan
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    Hi all,

    Just wanted to add some more fodder to the debate…

    I had a lot of trouble deciding on which business idea I wanted to pursue (out of about 3-5). The planning process helped me a lot in deciding which ideas were either no good, too expensive for me right now, etc and zero in on “the one”. In that respect planning can help you save a lot of time, money, hassle and heart ache going down a path that proves to be unviable.

    Cheers
    Daniel

    #1140550
    PRO
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    Yes I do plan. I plan more or less depending on the maturity of the business. For a startup or a takeover of an existing business my planning is immense and covers small and big things. I constantly use spreadsheets, reports etc to give me feedback on how my planning is going.

    I also have Macro Plans. I think they are equally important and that you need to keep big picture plans also.

    I have a big picture plan at the moment that consists of only 3 things.

    1. Develop a National Town Planning Practice.
    2. Develop a National Property Law Practice.
    3. Develop a National Property Accounting Practice.

    Each of those are broken down in to further Macros.

    Town Planning Practice
    1. Establish Offices in Key Centres throughout QLD (only Townsville, Cairns & Toowoomba to go)
    2. Establish Office in Northern New South Wales
    3. Establish Office in Sydney
    4. Establish Office in Melbourne (this one is about to leap to no.2 as I have a planner who wants to move to Melbourne)

    National Property Law Practice
    1. Establish a separate Property Law Branded office in Brisbane (practice is being restructured commercial and IT is staying under current name and location, new entity is opening in Spring Hill on July 1)
    2. Open office on Gold Coast
    3. Open office on Sunshine Coast
    4. Open office in Ipswich
    5. Decide whether to continue expansion in QLD first or open in NSW

    National Property Accounting Practice
    1. Plan to open first office 1 July 2015.
    2. Get systems and manuals organised 7 Jan 2015
    Dates may accelerate if I meet the right person to partner in practice prior to then.

    For me planning is invaluable but you need to remain flexible.

    #1140551
    asmgx
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    • Total posts: 34
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    Thanks everyone
    That really really helped,
    I did not know planning is very important.
    I downloaded a plan template and working on it now.
    I think I need to do some market research that would take few weeks or maybe months.
    I am not sure if I am over doing this, but I hope i am on the right track

    Daniel On the contrary you did not scare me, you helped a lot

    Thanks

    #1140552
    Sydney Business
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    Glad to hear you are now working on a plan – think of it also as a way of getting all those ideas which are running around in your head, down on paper.
    Once they are on paper this frees you up for more ideas and more time to work on growing your business.
    I run workshops for start ups and often the business plan is the scariest tool of all, but it does give you a clearer picture of where you are heading and how you are going to get their.
    If you can’t answer all the questions honestly sometimes it is cheaper to delay starting your business until you can.

    #1140553
    RobynLee
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    I “needed” a plan to apply for a loan for my business and I enjoyed working on it. It raised questions and issues I hadn’t really thought through, made me sit down and really think about where I was going and what I hoped to achieve. It also highlighted areas I was weak in, or hadn’t given much attention to.

    One of the main advantages to me personally was that it helped me look at my business as just that — a business, and not a hobby that I hoped would turn into a business, or something I did ‘part time’.

    Six months down the road I am actually still on track with it :) But there were a few hiccups along the way where it seemed I wasn’t going to be able to meet my expectations or predictions.

    I found it helpful, but I probably wouldn’t have done it unless I was somewhat forced to. Now I’m tackling a marketing plan…

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