Tips for Creating a Winning Business Plan for Your At-Home Enterprise

In other words, if you don’t plan, you’re planning to fail. Don’t limit the potential of your home-based enterprise by skipping the planning stage.

The Strategic Business Plan
In order to be successful with a home-based company, you need a well-thought-out plan. Even if you don’t need a loan to launch your home business, writing a business plan will help you organize your thoughts, clarify your objectives, and plan for the future.

Various Forms of Business Strategies
Organizational business plans: These are extensive documents, with the primary goal of attracting investment from outside the company.
One type of business plan is the informal one, which serves primarily as a guide for the company’s owner. It could be as simple as a set of handwritten notes, or it could be a carefully crafted document.
Business plans, whether formal or informal, when written and maintained properly, can help you stay focused on the actions necessary to grow a successful online enterprise.

Is a business plan necessary?
A formal business plan is required if you want to raise capital from investors.

A business plan isn’t required if you’re just getting started or if you’re using your own money to fund your home business, but it can increase your chances of success significantly either way.

Somewhere around 30% of new businesses fail within their first two years, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Those numbers have the potential to be quite disturbing. After all, why waste time and energy and put your own money at risk if your business has a one in ten chance of succeeding?

There are a number of factors that contribute to the demise of home-based and micro-enterprises, but these can be avoided with careful preparation. One of the ways in which a business plan can aid you is by…

Define your objectives.
Cultivate a thorough comprehension of your target market.
Maintaining a home business requires daily organization.
Find out where you stand financially.
Take charge of your home business’s management and finances.
Define a baseline from which to track improvement.
Business Planning Prompts
There are two major considerations that must be taken into account when answering this question.

Do You Want to Use This Business Plan Internally or Externally?
You can write your own business plan if you’re not trying to secure financing or attract investors. Professional business plan writers bring a lot to the table if you’re trying to secure outside funding, even if it’s just to review the plan and make sure everything is covered. Further, business plans should be edited and proofread for correct grammar and sentence structure. Business plans that are well-written have a better chance of being accepted by investors.

To what extent do you feel confident in your writing abilities?
If you’re a good writer, you might be able to put together a business plan on your own. There is software and examples available to help with writing business plans. The Small Business Administration is also an excellent tool for helping you along the way. Get started on the right foot by enrolling in their online Develop a Business Plan Workshop. While it’s possible to teach yourself how to write a business plan, it’s still a good idea to have someone else look it over and it’s also possible that you’ll need outside help, such as a certified public accountant to draft financial documents and/or a market research firm to compile statistics about your target audience.

You will still need to play an active role in the process whether you use software, have a professional write the plan for you, or a combination of the two. For the person or team tasked with writing your business plan to do a good job, they will need access to detailed information about your company and an in-depth grasp of the industry.

In addition to helping you understand your business and the steps you need to take to succeed, the data you collect will also provide you with a more complete picture of your competition and the market.

Business Planning Prompts
Creating a business plan for your own use at home can be done using a basic business plan template.
It’s a good idea to check with the lending institution ahead of time to see if it has any particular requirements it likes to see in loan applications and business plans, even if general guidelines are available. The basic outline of the business plan includes:

Executive Summary – A high-level overview of the document that is placed first in the finished document but that needs to be written last.
A brief summary of your company’s background and operations.
Details about your planned offerings, including comparisons to similar offerings from competitors.
You need a market analysis to describe your target audience, your product’s niche, and the level of interest in your offering (supported by documentation). The anticipated market share, along with the results of any relevant marketing research.
How you intend to spread the word about your company and its offerings, how you intend to get those offerings into the hands of consumers, what it will cost to do so, and how you intend to track the results of all your hard work are all part of your marketing and sales strategy.
What kind of business entity you run (sole proprietorship, LLC, C corporation, S corporation, etc.), who your key players are, who is responsible for what, and how much it will all cost you are all part of the management and organization of your company.
Your financial information, including a balance sheet, a breakeven analysis, an income statement, and a statement of cash flows. In addition to financial statements from the past, you should also include projections for the future.
Request for Financial Support – Here is where you should explain why and how your company needs financial assistance. You can skip this section if you aren’t actively looking for investors at the moment.
Appendix – Includes supplementary materials to back up the main body of the business plan, such as resumes, market research findings, estimates, and other necessary paperwork.
Assuming you’ve completed your business plan, what’s the next step?

After you’ve filled out the above details, you should use your business plan to guide your day-to-day operations and set long-term goals. Keep in mind that your business plan is not an immutable piece of paper. The market, your ability to achieve your goals, and shifting market trends may all require you to make adjustments or make new plans as you build your business. Therefore, it is a good idea to revisit your business plan every six months or so and make any necessary adjustments.

There are numerous advantages to maintaining an up-to-date business plan, including:

There will be no need to start from scratch if you ever find yourself in need of additional financing and need to apply for SBA loan programs or other private funding. You will not have to spend as much time or money submitting revised business plans.
It aids in keeping your attention on what matters most for your business, rather than getting sidetracked by trivial tasks or distractions.