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Your business plan blueprint

An effective business plan lays the foundation for success. Each piece of the plan should come together to create a blueprint that will see your business prosper in the years ahead. 

What do I need to consider?

Description of your business

You need to describe your business when planning to build a prosperous future. Begin by asking yourself, "what business am I in?" Ensure you answer this question with details about your products or services and the markets you intend to target.  What makes your business unique?

Goals and objectives

Carefully defined written goals tell you where your business intends to go and by when. They increase the effectiveness of your building blocks.

Objectives are the actual steps your business will need to take to reach each goal. They tell you how to get where you want to go, making the construction of your business more efficient. 

Price positioning and strategy

How are you going to position your product or service in the market? Will you price low and compare on price with the aim of selling large volumes from the basement, or will you position your goods as luxury items advertised exuberantly from the balcony? Your customers will strongly believe in getting what they pay for, so it is important to be consistent with your price positioning. 

Use this Profit and Loss template to accurately forecast the year ahead

Core competitive advantage

A core competitive advantage will help your business differentiate its goods or services from those of your competition. Compare your business with your competitors, look for how your offering stands out from the crowd and why customers should choose you. 

Cash flow forecast

It's vital to have an idea of your financial liquidity over a certain time period, say 12 months. Get a plan underway by detailing your cash on hand, expected receipts each month, expected payments each month, and anticipated balances at the end of each month,

Ensure you include every item and take into account seasonal changes in sales. In addition, plan multiple scenarios such as an optimistic sales forecast and a pessimistic sales forecast. 

Compliance

There are some laws and regulations that your business needs to know about, including consumer laws, health and safety, employment and environmental laws.

Have a look at some of the Australian federal Government's laws and regualtions for small businesses with this helpful website tool.

Market research

Market research should be part of assembling your blueprint. Whether you choose to get customers' reactions to your products through a short survey or encourage them to fill out an elaborate questionnaire, quality research can help you to understand what your target consumer wants and enjoys aboutyour offerings.

Both primary research (surveys, interviews and speaking to customers) and secondary research (government statistics, trade publications and information that's already been gathered) can be useful for improving your business. 

Skills and experience of staff

Planing for a successful business requires the foresight to envisage what skills experience your staff will need in the future. 

Marketing Plan

Now that you understand your product, financial objectives and goals, positioning strategy, and competitors, you should develop your marketing strategy. Depending on your target market, consider using social media, print and radio/advertising, trade shows, publicity, and building a website. 

Ongoing development strategy

Your business plan blueprint may be most useful when you begin to fabricate your business, but failing to review and improve your stategy as your business moves forward is a crucial error. 

For your business to continue to develop and grow, you'll need to persistently check its foundations and structure while looking for areas that could do with a little renovation. 

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