By Olle Tiggelaar at April 24 2019 22:04:17
I teach that you should seek to learn from competitors; obviously never copy another business's idea or what they are doing, but you can absolutely learn from their mistakes or see what they are doing and discover ways to improve it. All of that analysis belongs in your business plan: make sure you have your competitors under the microscope and make sure that is a solid chunk of your plan. That is some of the best research and information you will gather about what will make your business successful in future.
It's like planning backwards. 1. Determine what you want in life 2. Figure out what your business would need to do to give you that life. 3. Figure out how long it would take you to reach it. 4. Figure out how big of a market it would take each of the years you're planning for. 5. Then see if that market is big enough. Isn't this a much better way to go about planning your business? Shouldn't your business be designed to give you want you want instead of you working yourself to death just hoping for the best? So how would you go about calculating all this?
Certainly when you reach the point where you are looking for investors or lenders, you will move beyond those first casual notes. Until then, drawing upon your expertise can allow you to quickly jump into the market and perhaps gain a competitive edge by using a minimalist plan. The "One Pressing Issue" Plan: Business planning does not stop the day you open for business. Under the best of circumstances you should be revisiting your plan once or twice a year to see how things are going, and where perhaps you've veered away from your original goals. Remember, changing the direction of a business isn't always bad, but it should be intentional.
A plan like this would show you how much sales your business would need to do, what your fixed and variable expenses would be, what your material cost, labor cost and profit would need to be to provide the income and profit margin you want. You can see pretty quickly if it's possible for you to get your business to that level. I don't know of any better way than to have your business give you the income and profit you want. What's neat is you can determine what you want your income to be and your profit to be over the next few years and develop a plan that can show you exactly what your business would need to do to give you that income and profit.