The first steps of business planning
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Follow these steps to ensure you’re on the right path.
Undertake market research
Successful businesses rely on knowledge of the market. Within your chosen field, consider what the market needs, then look at what you can do to meet that demand.
You can get a good overall picture of your market using surveys, researching what your competitors offer, and checking current research provided in specialist publications such as trade magazines or directories. You can also use the Internet to check current research on specialist websites and publications.
Position yourself within the market
Decide on your USP – Unique Selling Proposition. What makes your product or service better, faster and more cost-effective than those of your competitors? What can you do – or do better – than your competitors?
Write a business plan
The essence of a business plan is to prove the viability of your idea to yourself and others. It will identify where you are, where you want to be and what actions need to be taken in order for the plan to succeed.
Put the figures & finances in order
The more detail you can bring to your financial planning, the better. To help you do this, there are a number of questions to consider:
• What will your initial and ongoing costs be?
• Do you have this money up front or will you need to borrow a bit?
• How much money do you need to make each week and month to cover personal and business expenses?
• What will you charge for your products or services?
Have a system and simple way to keep track of your income and outgoings on a daily basis. This will help you compare progress against your plan and improve the accuracy of your forecasting.
Taking these steps will guide you in the direction of having a productive and profitable business!
This post is sponsored by Lloyds TSB Commercial. Lloyds TSB Commercial offers a range of guidance and support to help ensure you achieve business success. For more information, please visit www.lloydstb.com/startup
Lloyds TSB Commercial is a trading name of Lloyds TSB Bank plc and Lloyds TSB Scotland plc and serves customers with an annual turnover of up to £15M.
Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.