I am a licensed [irrelevant] and nationally certified in my
profession. I want to operate a [omitted] … I believe there is lots
of opportunity in this business area … I need help with ideas on how
to write a business plan for this type of business …
Start thinking, talking, researching what you’re going to be selling
to people, why they spend money for it, what they get from it, and what
other ways they have to get it. Start thinking about the core of your
plan, your core story, how are you different and why does that matter
to your customers?
For ideas, turn first to yourself. You know this business, you have
the ideas you need, and if you don’t, then keep thinking, keep talking,
keep studying until you do. Talk to customers a lot, and listen. Don’t
feed them the answers you want to hear, ask them questions and listen
to their answers. Be brave enough to take disappointment if their
answers don’t make you happy.
Find people who know this business, and talk to them. Call up
journalists who cover your industry in trade magazines. Call up
competitors in distant places. Find somebody whose business you admire,
in your industry or related, and buy lunch, and talk. Talk to people
who need what you’re selling.
What I’m getting at here is that the ideas you want, the answers you
want, aren’t hidden somewhere for an Internet expert to reveal them, as
if they were the answer sheet on some high school test, hidden in the
teacher’s desk. On the contrary, you generate the ideas, trust
yourself, feed your brain on articles about what kinds of subjects you
should cover, and develop the core concepts of your business, what you
want to do, why people will buy from your, your strategy, your
resources, your plan.
If you have no idea, if you can’t do this, then get a clue. Keep your day job.
But you do have good ideas already, I’m sure of it, so trust
yourself. Develop your own story, your own key differentiators, your
mantra, your focus. Then, at that point, when you’re ready, you’ll find
lots of resources to help you put that into the right size plan to help
you organize your thoughts and consider the details.
At that point, look at some of the other posts on this blog, other business planning content on this website, or the free sample plans and how-to articles on www.bplans.com. There are videos on how to develop a plan at www.sbtv.com.
Thousands and thousands of Web pages, not to mention hundreds of books,
telling you what a plan is and how to write one. I’ve posted my book Hurdle: the Book on Business Planning on the Web where you can read it free. On this blog I’d suggest you read at least the not so big business plan post, and then also click the link to go to the interview
by Guy Kawasaki. There’s lots of “how-to” available, but you have to
look back to yourself for the “what-to” ideas to put in the plan.