There are nearly 104 million businesses majority-owned by women which provide over 12 million jobs and account for over a trillion dollars in sales, according to the Small Business Administration (www.sba.gov). With this impressive statistic, we know that there are women entrepreneurs who mean business.
Though they created successful ventures for themselves, their success did not just “happen”. Launching and running a lucrative business takes careful planning and working strategically. By creating a business plan, entrepreneurs are able to outline each critical aspect of running a successful business.
Although this task may seem time-consuming and some-what intimidating, having a plan for your business can make the difference between success and failure. To get you started off right, here are some tips to creating your business plan:
Determine Your Niche. To clearly outline your plan, you need to first identify the exact market your business will target. Narrowing this market to a specific segment will not only help you in better planning your business goals, but also in reaching prospective buyers more effectively. By studying your market carefully, you will be able to identify that specific group of potential customers who could best utilize your products or services.
Choose a template for your plan. There are many great formats for writing a plan for your business, but all should include these major elements: Cover sheet, Executive Summary, Table of Contents, Business Description and Overview, and Financial Data. Also, be sure to attach any necessary supporting documents such as relevant tax returns, business contracts, or copies of other legal documents.
Keep it a Work in Progress. Your business plan will be ever-changing, ever-evolving. As your business grows, you will no doubt see opportunities to improve your plan. Outside factors, such as the economy and competitors, will also influence the make-up of your plan. Periodically reviewing and updating your business plan will help ensure your business stays current and on track for success.
Launching a successful business can be challenging, so be sure to get the added support and professional advice you need to ensure your business’ longevity. Two great resources are the Nashville Chamber of Commerce and the Tennessee district of the Small Business Administration. By following these tips and utilizing available resources, you can help avoid the common pitfalls and join the 104+ million women who mean business.