If you’ve always wanted to turn your passion into your profession, there’s no better time than the present – especially considering December is “National Write a Business Plan” month. Vice President of Community Banking, Jason Svejda, thinks that behind any strong business model, lies an even stronger plan.
“It serves as the framework for the company and lays out strategies and action plans so that you can establish and successfully operate your new business.”
Here’s everything you need to get on your feet when you’re in the early stages of planning your small business.
Do market research.
Before you launch your business, be sure to conduct thorough market analysis to determine whether or not your products and services will fill a consumer need. Methods of research include consumer surveys, experiments, and utilizing free resources like the Census Bureau for demographic information.
“It’s essential to have the knowledge and understanding of what exactly it is you want to do and knowing the obstacles involved,” said Bill Partain, Senior Vice President at Two Rivers Bank & Trust and Chair of the Entrepreneurship Committee of the Greater Burlington Partnership.
“A business plan isn’t about fluff or length, it should be more about facts and other key variables that will make the business successful, as well as knowing what hurdles and threats you will face that could potentially cause the business to fail.”
Write up your company details.
Clarify your business structure and product offerings by writing up the details. Consider the best method of managing your company, how your products will benefit your consumers, your products’ lifecycles, and your company’s differentiators; what makes your business stand out from the competition?
To put it simply, Svejda said, “Determine what your competitive advantages are or a distinction your business has, or could offer.”
Determine your marketing methods.
This is the step where you need to determine how you will market your products or services. Analyze your market research to determine the best method of reaching your target audience. For example, a younger demographic is not likely to be persuaded by mailers. Find out what works best for your target market, and include the sales strategy in your business plan.
Create your financial projections.
This step is crucial if you are in need of funding for your small business. Investors need to see sales projections in order to invest in you and your business. Keep in mind that different investors will be interested in different projections – determine what kind of projections you need before you make your pitch!
“Financial projections are simply a forecast and provide a means to quantify the many different variables and considerations within the business plan,” said Svejda. “While it’s not an exact science, a well-prepared financial projection will show a potential investor your understanding of the market you wish to be in, as well as financial metrics such as growth rates, expense ratios, profit margins, etc.”
Revisit your business plan frequently.
“It’s important for any business owner to maintain a healthy balance sheet to ensure they have the ability to withstand any adversity they may face,” said Partain. “We actually encourage the majority of our business customers to review their business plan at least a couple times throughout the year.”
Two Rivers Bank & Trust | Small Business Account
At Two Rivers Bank and Trust, we love supporting our neighbors, which is why we offer our Free Business Checking with 1,000 free transaction items per month at no charge! It’s a great way for your company to manage its finances without spending a lot on services you don’t need.
“We take a simple approach with our small business account,” said Svejda. “This account provides the basic services and conveniences at a minimum cost. Our Free Business Checking is a great option for startups or businesses working on growth, as we offer the first 1,000 monthly transaction items (debits, credits) free.”
Partain says at Two Rivers Bank & Trust, he’s fortunate to be part of many financial success stories in the local small business community.
“Whether a business owner needs to borrow funds to grow their business, or they simply need a better way to manage their cash, Two Rivers Bank & Trust has the resources and the experienced staff to assist you.”
Learn more about our Free Business Checking at Two Rivers Bank & Trust and get your start-up on its feet!