The economy’s in a slump, so you’ve decided to take matters into your own hands. You’ve started earning extra money working, full-time or on the side, as a virtual assistant, bookkeeper, graphic/website designer, sewing/altering clothes, creating/selling crafts, etc. You’re pleasantly surprised to find a demand for your product or service. You weren’t expecting things to take off quite so quickly.
Things are going well; you’re earning money and new business is flowing. Your home business seems to be successful. So is a business plan really necessary?
Some small business owners believe business plans are only necessary if you plan to secure funding in the form of a loan from a lending institution or an investor. But there are other reasons home-based business owners should consider writing a business plan:
- You’re planning to take on a partner and need to define the roles and agreements
- Changing courses – making major changes in your business to make corrective changes
- You’re planning an expansion of your business
- You’re selling your business
Even if your business unexpectedly blossomed from an urgent need to earn money from a hobby, talent or skill, a business plan can provide the vision to keep you on a focused path.
Forget everything you thought you knew at the proper format of a business plan. Sure business plans created for the purpose of seeking funding need to follow a more comprehensive format; but otherwise your plan can simply include the details that are most important to you. Your plan can even be a one page long outline if you like. The basic elements can include:
- Introduction: A summary of your business, the products or services you provide, the start-up capital that will be involved.
- Products or services: List the product(s) and services(s) you plan to provide. Spend time researching your competitors so that you have an idea of how what you offer compares.
- Market analysis: Is there a demand for what you’re offering? Who are to targeting your products or services to? You can also conduct your own research using surveys and include the results in this section
- Marketing/sales strategies: You will you deliver messages about your product or service to your target audience? What methods will you use to promote your business? How will you monitor and measure the effectiveness of the methods you choose?
- Business Structure: What business structure will you choose to operate your business under? A sole-proprietorship, partnership, LLC, S-corporation, etc.
Home-based businesses can benefit from outlining even a very simple plan. A plan encourages you to think about your short-term and long-term goals and the steps necessary to reach them.
photo credit: Generationbass.com
Muslimahs Working at Home was created to provide women with a financial alternative to earning an income outside of the home. Our objective is to share resources and tools needed to operate a successful, home-based business.