Too many people have the idea that a business plan is like an exact recipe, or a scientific prescription, rather than just what’s going to happen. For example, this was in my email overnight:
I listened to your SBA course presentation last night on writing a business plan. I noticed that nothing was said about a plan for an ecommerce business. My business will be a sole proprietorship and run strictly online. Startup costs are less than $500.00.
I have no desire, at this time, to open a physical location. Although some business persons that I use have expressed an interest in carrying some of the product in their stores.
My client base will be individuals, primarily women. I will buy my products wholesale and have tracked down 3 potential suppliers.
I understand that a business plan is a living, fluid document. But I’m not certain how the plan can be adjusted.
Don’t worry, just do it. Just tell your story. Your plan isn’t a checklist for an academic term paper or thesis, it’s a plan, meaning what’s going to happen and how much it’s going to cost. Form follows function: if you have to prove a market to somebody else, for investment or a loan, that’s something else to do; but in your case, with $500 startup cost, what you have to do is know to your own satisfaction why people will come to your website, how you will get them to know about your website, and what’s in it for them. Then set yourself up with your own key dates and activities, so you know what’s supposed to happen and when. Then add sales forecast, with costs, and expense budget. Then use it to track changes and stay focused on the right things.
Every plan is different, there are no recipes, and that means you don’t have to sweat about adjusting for your situation, just plan and track results.