It’s a rare treat when somebody asks exactly the right question, meaning the question whose answer has been so much of my recent work. And that just happened, so here, with name and identity left out for obvious reasons, is the email I just received:
Needless to say, I liked this email a lot. I liked the nice feedback about the online course, but more than that, I liked the fact that the answer to this question is my Plan-As-You-Go Business Planning work at http://planasyougo.com. The whole idea is that you get going with planning by thinking of it as modules, start where you want, start using your planning now, without ever finishing. Your plan will be wrong, but vital, because you’ll track how and why and where it was wrong, and use that to steer your business better. Form follows function, so you do just what you need, and only as much as you need, to manage your business.
Subject: Developing a Successful Business Plan…Inquiry
Date: 2009-01-05 14:53:32
Hello Mr. Berry!
I just completed your “Developing a Successful Business Plan” online seminar, via the www.sba.gov website. Very informative presentation, thank you! I have a quick question for you.
My business partner and I have decided to start a new business. We are going to launch a small maternity clothing line. Currently, we are only conceptual, which is to say, the only thing accomplished to date, is our research to determine whether or not there is a demand, competitors, etc. Based on this preliminary research, we have concluded…that yes, we can fill a niche and yes, there is a demand for our clothing line.
With that said, we have a general concept of our clothing line, but need to explore fabrics, designs (or patterns), etc. – before we can even begin to create our first sample garments. We are in the very infancy stages of this business.
Our conversation today ended with great excitement in our decision to move forward and assignment of two tasks. 1, seek out upcoming trade shows for the retail clothing manufacturing and 2, look into a business plan. I was a bit overwhelmed with your business plan presentation – simply due to the detail necessary for a successful plan.
My question, at what stage should we write our business plan? Should we start now with what we know…which might include basic information on Description, Market Analysis, Competition and Marketing Strategy – then fill in the blanks as we evolve our idea? Or should we first concentrate on developing our specific garments (fabric selection, pattern drawings etc) ..and write our business plan once we have our these specifics?
Any thoughts you can share, would be greatly appreciated!
Eventually, as your business grows and you need it, that becomes a formal business plan. But even before that, you’re already introducing the benefits of planning into your business.