Think of business planning as a process, instead of a document Think about business planning as something you do often , rather than a document you create once and never look at again.
If you take the time to write a plan that really fits your own company, it will be a better, more useful tool to grow your business. It should also make it easier to share your vision and strategy so everyone on your team is on the same page. Adjust your plan regularly to use it as a business management tool Keep in mind that businesses that use their plan as a management tool to help run their business grow 30 percent faster than those businesses that don't.
For that to be true for your company, you'll think of part of your business planning process as tracking your actual results against your financial forecast on a regular basis. If things are going well, your plan will help you think about how you can re-invest in your business.
If you find that you're not meeting goals, you might need to adjust your budgets or your sales forecast. Either way, tracking your progress compared to your plan can help you adjust quickly when you identify challenges and opportunities—it's one of the most powerful things you can do to grow your business.
Ready to get started? Now that you know how to use a sample business plan to help you write a plan for your business, it's time to find the right one. Use the search bar below to get started and find the right match for your business idea. LivePlan makes business planning easy Get Started Get the most out of sample plans Bplans has over sample plans to learn from. Before reading the plan, hear what the business planning experts have to say about getting the most out of business sample plans.
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Bplans is owned and operated by Palo Alto Software , Inc. Top Sections. Only buy items you are confident that you can sell relatively quickly for a good mark-up, and avoid getting stuck with slow moving inventory. To really succeed, develop deep expertise in a specialty and build a loyal customer base. So, keep your overhead manageable and watch for changing trends. Usually the client will provide the booze and the glasses, you might bring a few mixing tools or even a service cart if you want to get fancy.
Demand for this service will run strongest on the weekends, making it a great part time gig! You can lease the boat, market the tours and build a business without the overhead. Would you like to drive a boat for a living?
This is your chance! To make it more fun, you can buy a few small drive-it-yourself speed boats and lead your customers around the local harbor. What could be more fun than that! People will pay good money for a really awesome cake for special occasions.
Get some great cake pictures up on your website, promote your skills to event planners and build your clientele! This can be a lot of fun but it may be harder than you think to make money. First make absolutely sure your location has great foot traffic—stand there and count heads before you sign a lease! Clothing Line Yes, you can start your own clothing line with just a few items, be successful and have a lot of fun along the way! Look at Ralph Lauren who started by selling a couple neck ties and then built that into a multi-billion-dollar empire.
Contract out the manufacturing which is the really hard part of the work. Then focus on developing eye-stopping designs and talking it up with potential re-sellers, or sell the items yourself online! Business will be heavily focused on weekends, so you can hold onto your day job as you build your clientele. Coin or Stamp Dealer I loved to collect stamps and coins when I was a kid.
Today some coin and stamp dealers still have retail locations but many others work primarily online. This is a great business to start part-time and then consider going full-time later on. Or is it just a hobby with the potential for making a lot of money? American President Franklin D Roosevelt would spend many enjoyable hours alone with his stamp collection. However, these chains have raised the bar, so your coffee or tea must be not just good, but awesome!
Your ambiance better be good too. Your location needs to be good as well. Plus, you need to be distinctive. One way to stand out is to compliment your world class beverages with some fabulous foods. I met Wally Amos who made a blockbuster success out of famous Amos cookies, which he launched after a career as a Hollywood talent agent.
Wally eventually lost control of his company to outside investors. However, he came back again with still another cookie line. Craft Beer Pub A few years ago, I overheard a conversation in a gym about a fellow who was planning on starting an Irish pub, of which there are close to million well almost a million in Boston, but then changed his mind and opened a pub focusing on craft beers.
It was wildly successful! In addition to being a unique idea at the time, he also chose an excellent location and developed a solid food menu. Unless your overhead is extremely low, you are probably going to need to serve food to make a go of this business, so yes you can be extremely successful—but it is no small undertaking. Creative Arts Day Camp You could run this as a seasonal camp during the summer. I suggest doing surveys to find out what age groups of kids and what specific art activities have the most appeal.
You can cash in on that feeling and make others happy. But if you are specializing in cupcakes, people expect them to be excellent! And if you want to be remembered, they should be world class awesome! Garden Center Gardening is big and growing. And it is a business that is less likely to move totally online than many other businesses. You could start out with a supply center, expanding over time to add some plants to sell, and then, eventually vertically integrate with your own plant nursery.
You could also expand into providing onsite services. Of course, it would! You could have a lot of satisfaction putting together distinctive gift baskets that will delight your customers and bring in sales! But if you have some talent at this challenging game, you can charge some good money and bring your gift to others. Golf is an excellent lifetime sport and people are willing to pay to try to master it!
She taught herself to make mouth-watering candy by practicing up in her kitchen. Most of her candy she made herself, but she did compliment her offerings with a few products she bought wholesale. This is a good vacation area business, but it could also be a good gift for special occasions. Nail down all of the licensing and safety requirements, and this could be fun business that quickly builds by word-of-mouth.
Ice Cream Shop Yes, you can make a lot of money with a simple ice cream shop! Perfect your ice cream before you start, find a good busy location without a crazy rent and consider starting with a smaller footprint to minimize your overhead. Yes, there are some really cool craft items you can find around the world for really low prices. It could take a little bit of patience to get going, and specialization helps. But this is a very doable business. Jewelry Designer So, you start out with some stunning jewelry designs but how do you turn it into a business?
Another woman I know built her business into a much larger enterprise…all built around a strong unifying theme. You could start with a class at your house or perhaps at a local knitting store. Maybe offer an entry level course at the local adult ed program to get going. Logo Design There are lots of graphic designers out there but not so many people specializing in logos.
Yet in the age of the Internet, a good-looking logo is more important than ever! You can help them create a great logo—one that can help define their business and bring them customers! Martini Bar Everyone wants to feel special now and then. If you can create the right setting, you could make your customers feel great and be happy to pay top dollar for a sophisticated beverage!
If you get all the details right, this could be a really fun and highly profitable endeavor. Having a well-designed course is nice but what really matters here is the location. You need to be on a highly visible road, a vacation area is a plus, and ideally your competition is a good distance away. Mobile DJ You should have some decent equipment that makes your audience happy but that could mean different levels of investment for different audiences. Are you going to be playing for large event venues or for junior high school birthday parties?
He would either have a friend give him and his equipment a ride to his gigs, or he would get a taxi. Night Club Promoter Put together parties for your friends and get paid for it! Sign me up! For starters, you should have a strong following on social media.
Then if you have a knack for promoting, see if a nightclub will pay you to help boost their attendance. Being social and having a following really helps for this business idea. Outdoor Adventures Choose an adventure really carefully. One that people will easily pay good money for. At least informally ask lots of people for their feedback on a suggested adventure before you put any money into marketing it. Then when you do offer your first trip, make it incredible! On your first few trips it is more important to build a great experience and a great reputation, then to make a lot of money right out of the gate.
Personal Trainer You can start as a personal trainer at a local gym. Then try going out on your own. Being known for a particular expertise can help.
Then someday you can open your own gym. Maybe even franchise it and go global! And then there is the shop itself, a rare book shop is such as wonderful antidote to our way-too-busy Internet world. Yes, you can make money with rare books but this is a profession that I suggest you ease your way into gradually, getting very comfortable with market demand and pricing, before investing in inventory.
Furthermore, you can finance much of your purchase. And if your fishing skills are a little weak, hire a boat hand with some strong local fishing knowledge.
In the right location, you can charge some serious money in this business. Vintage Toy Producer Parents and grandparents are only willing to buy their kids so many computer games! What they would really prefer to be buying are beautifully hand crafted vintage toys that the kids can use their own imaginations to play with! Hand crafting takes time, so carefully figure out what interesting toys you can bring to market at a reasonable price.
Wine Bar I love wine bars! There is even a successful wine bar in the small village on Cape Cod where my summer house is. How did it become successful?
The owners found a location near the center of the village but at a low rent. They started with a very limited food menu but eventually expanded it to become a full-service restaurant. They also offer live music on most nights. Beware that many customers expect truly exceptional wines at a wine bar. If you start a wine bar, you better have quality products. Remodel your own basement, put together a website with the before and after photos, and hang out your shingle!
Craft Classes Promote the fact that people will get to go home with a finished project! A neat bonus of attending a craft class is that not only do you learn how to do something new, but also that you get to go home with something tangible—your finished craft project! People are often willing to take a craft class if you can market it in an appealing way. And focusing on what the finished project will look like is one way to get people excited about signing up! She was successful enough to rent large commercial space, but this is a business you may want to start in your home.
Related: Are Home Businesses Legal? Day Care Service The market for daycare is gigantic! Of course, you can start in your home or in the workplace. Safety and licensing are essential for this business. You can quickly build a steady income and a valuable business. Event Organizing While you may first think of wedding planners or reunion organizers, there are many, many types of event planners out there.
Some may specialize in parties for young kids, others in large corporate events. Think carefully of a specialty that you could do well in and meet participants in that field, before you open shop.
Business and consumer-oriented websites alike are rushing to post more and more content related to their business space, to try to attract traffic from search engines and to position themselves in the minds of potential customers. Some businesses will require that you have expertise in their industry to write for them, but others will consider buying articles from you, as long as they are well researched and well written.
Study hard for this profession and you can do a tremendous service for people by helping them protect and growth their hard-earned money. Many people like to do their own gardening but they can use a little bit of help! Maybe you specialize in flower gardens or vegetable gardens, or even something more exotic. You will need solid expertise, but you will find a clientele willing to pay for it. Home Bakery One of the challenges of running a home bakery will be finding customers.
That basically means going out and selling your products to stores, restaurants, cafeterias, caterers or anyone else. You may want to canvas potential resellers even before you decide what products you plan to be baking. Everyone needs their house inspected before they buy it. Network with real estate agents. Become known for being a meticulous home inspector.
Leave you clients with a thorough, detailed report. Home Landscaping There is a big difference between mowing a lawn and performing a full landscaping service. At the highest end are landscape designers, who design elaborate and unique landscape changes for your property. Focus on high-end projects to make this business even more profitable.
Sometimes these are full-service firms that not only do the design but also perform the work. House Cleaning This is one of the most popular small businesses because everyone wants a house cleaner.
The work is repetitive. But if you can show up on time and do a good job consistently I find many the work of many cleaners deteriorates after the first few weeks , you will build a healthy clientele. And if you can charge enough so that you can delegate, you can grow this into a large business. However, it is very competitive and can be hard to break into. Interior design is also increasingly sophisticated, with software design simulation and specialized educational backgrounds becoming more common.
Local Marketing Service With the wide array of digital marketing options to consider, not to mention traditional options, local businesses increasingly need outside help to develop and execute the best marketing strategy. To get going in this field you will need to be familiar with the most popular online and offline marketing venues, and be comfortable selling your services to local business people.
Music Teaching Refusing to accept that I had no musical talent, my parents took me to many music teachers over the years, from a home based piano teacher to school based trumpet teachers. If you are patient with young students or talented enough to work with more experienced musicians, this could be a very satisfying way to make some good money.
Pet Sitting If you love animals, pet sitting is the perfect business idea for you. What could be easier? You sit in the chair and watch the dog chase its tail! I am surprised to hear how much money people will pay for pet sitters if they believe their pets are being really well cared for.
Doing photography for groups typically at their location is one way to get going. Promotional Material There is a huge market and a big opportunity selling promotional material. Your best market will be mid to larger sized businesses, who are willing to spend some money to both promote their business to their customers or to use promotional items as incentives and rewards for their employees.
Basically, you are reselling the product lines for other companies. T-shirts, pens, hats, jackets: there are all kinds of promotional items you can sell.
Room Rental Do you have an extra room in your house or condo? You could rent it out by the day like the Airbnb model, or you could rent it by the week, or you could rent it by the month. Then maybe you could use the income to help subsidize your expenses as you start another business! Sales Trainer While there are all kinds of training that corporations will pay for, I am focusing on sales training because the demand is so widespread.
It is an absolutely critical function, even for small businesses. And then you could take your finished product and go show it off to potential customers! But you could set up sports clinics or sports camps. You could build up a business based on your expertise in a particular sport or you could offer more general fitness training for athletes of many sports. Often sports coaches get started with a part time job coaching a school sports team, which then leads to private coaching work.
Virtual Assistant Being a virtual assistant not only gives you the flexibility of working from home, but often you get to set your own hours. Virtual assistant work is frequently part time, so it could be a way to get some income coming in while you develop a plan for another business.It helps if you are a good networker or are comfortable approaching small business owners to sell them your service. I met Wally Amos who made a blockbuster success out of famous Amos cookies, which he launched after a career as a Hollywood talent agent. When you are dealing with the smaller businesses such as single location laundromats, you will need to achieve a reasonably good volume of transactions to make decent money. For starters, you should have a strong following on social media. Unless your overhead is extremely low, you are probably going to need to serve food to make a go of this business, so yes you can be extremely successful—but it is no small undertaking. Carpet Installation There is solid demand for this business—and no wonder installing carpet including stretching it out to fit just right—is harder than it looks! You must also known formal financial statements that include the personal life list, balance sheet, income statement and cash server statement. You can really have fun cheeky striking nursery designs for your strengths and make good advice by bringing it all together for them. Orthodontics of her candy she made herself, but she did education her offerings with a few hours she bought wholesale. I became very in litigation with a service vendor and it took like we had no uncertain but to go to business.
While the structure of a strategic plan differs from company to company, most include five elements: business vision, mission statement, definition of critical success factors, strategies for achieving objectives and an implementation schedule. For example, do customers care most about speed, quality, location, reliability, comfort, price, value, etc.? It was wildly successful!
Looking at a sample plan's financials section can be helpful because you can see what should be included, but take them with a grain of salt. It is an absolutely critical function, even for small businesses. Do you sell advertising space? You could give courses or hold events on scrap booking.
What could be more fun than that! It could take a little bit of patience to get going, and specialization helps.
Start part time and build this business carefully! There is even a successful wine bar in the small village on Cape Cod where my summer house is. Personal Computer Training With this business, you could focus on providing PC training to employees at smaller to mid-sized companies that are too small to have their own IT departments. Study hard for this profession and you can do a tremendous service for people by helping them protect and growth their hard-earned money. And, as you build a track record of successfully securing grants, you will also be able to charge more. Financial Information The business plan should clearly indicate the costs that are affiliated with the business, as well as the generated profit that results from its operations.
But I did make sure to hire test prep coaches who had scored exceedingly well themselves on the exams being targeted. While this is a long list of business ideas—I have carefully pruned it for you. Then you arrange the promotion. This document typically includes sections describing the company, the product or service your business will supply, market evaluations and your projected management team.