After youve analyzed your personal foundation, the next step is to come up with your business idea. One way is to break the idea down into three parts: the problem that your business will solve, who is affected by the problem, and the solution to the problem. First, explain what the problem is. Then, brainstorm who is being affected by the problem. These people or businesses will be your potential customers. The solution to the problem will be the product or service that you will ultimately sell.
Here are some ideas that will help you create a business strategy that will work for you.
- Look at your own passions, skills, and goals to see where they align.
- Identify growing industries, trends and opportunities.
- Read about other startups.
- Identify a new solution to an existing problem in your daily life.
- Take an existing solution and make it better.
Writing a Business Plan
A business idea is not enough to build a successful business. Ideas are everywhere, but successful businesses are not. The difference is having a solid business plan built around your great idea. So, after you have come up with your business idea, the next step is to write a business plan. The business planning process provides structure and guidance, determines resources you need to succeed, establishes a direction for your business, provides a way to measure results and provides a way to gain financing. In a sentence, a business plan takes your idea for a product or service and creates a business around it. The list below outlines the different sections of a business plan, as well as how long it should take you to gather the necessary information and write each section. Each bullet also links to our Whats in a Business Plan series, which describes each section in more detail.
- Executive Summary 2 hours
- Mission and Vision 5 hours
- Product and Service Description 5-25 hours
- Market Analysis 20-30 hours
- Industry Analysis 20-30 hours
- Competitive Analysis 20-30 hours
- Sales and Marketing Plan 20-30 hours
- Operations Plan 10-40 hours
- Management Team 20 hours
- Financial Plan 35 hours
In total, writing a complete business plan can take anywhere from 180-400 hours. Because of the time and complexity involved in the business planning process, there are alternatives to writing the entire business plan yourself. The first is to use software, which will help you organize and format your business plan, and also guide you through the process with automated questions. Another one is the mobile business planning app helps you understand the many things that have to be evaluated when evaluating a business idea such as marketing, product, etc. The app can be used as both, a planning guide as well as an interactive way to get your questions answered. Entrepreneurs have a choice of the Android app or the ios version of the app available on both the iPhone and iPad.
The other alternative is to hire a business plan writer (like The Startup Garage). There are two basic types of business plan writers: writers that give you an inexpensive, template plan that is written quickly and cheaply, OR business plan writing consultants that work with you to create a customized plan for your business, and also provide business coaching along the way (this is what we are at The Startup Garage, and this is the kind of business plan writing service we support and believe in as entrepreneurs).
The Business Idea and Business Plan Writing phases are when your idea will grow and change the most. Dont be surprised if your business plan looks nothing like your original idea. It almost never does! After lots of creative planning, researching, and strategizing, you will have a complete strategy for your new business. Armed with your completed business plan, you are ready for the last step in the startup phase of your business, pre-launch actions read on!
Take a look at our Sample Business Plans and Products.