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Starting a business or side hustle without a business plan is like trying to ride a bicycle without wheels or fetching water in a basket – it’s a recipe for failure.

The reason for this is simple: without a business plan, your business lacks direction, focus and lesser chances of survival. Not having a business plan also means that other people are less likely to invest in your business since you have no demonstrated way of showing that your venture will work.

A business plan helps you identify your goals for your business and also serves as your blueprint for how your business will be set up, grow and become successful. When you don’t have a business plan, you’re unable to deal with important business aspects like customer management, employee morale, regulatory requirements, competitive pressures, economic changes, operating expenses, and so on.

So, how do you come up with a sound business plan that focuses on the goals your business needs to achieve? Here are eight things to keep in mind:

1. Start with an executive summary

You should use this segment as a way to introduce you (and any one else operating the business with you), your company, the services you’ll be rendering/product you’ll be selling and why they are valuable to potential customers. Ensure it is clear and concise as possible.

2. Write a company overview

This is a summary of your company and it should include your mission statement, a review of your company’s legal structure and ownership, a brief history of the company (if it’s an existing company), and information about the business location.

3. Add your business’ products and/or services

This is basically where you sell your company to whoever is reading your business plan. Describe and detail the problem you’re solving, your solution for solving this problem and how your product/service fits into the existing competitive market. You should also use this section to explain what makes your product/service different from the competition.

4. Add a description of your target market

It’s critical that you do your research for this part. What group of people are you selling your product/service to? WHere do they live? How old are they? Are they employed? Explain what your potential customers look like – the more you know about them, the better.

5. Outline a marketing and sales plan

This part is about how you intend to reach your target market. Is it through social media? Word of mouth? How much are you willing to spend on building your brand? What does the brand look like? What will your pricing look like? What partnerships and activities do you have in mind to grow your business? All of these questions and more need to be answered in this segment.

6. List out/project your milestones

Use this section to detail some of the things your business has accomplished. It could be initial sales or a significant partnership. If you do not have any major milestones worthy of note, list out potential milestones you hope to accomplish along with time lines you hope to accomplish them in. You don’t have to follow them to the letter. They’ll serve as a guide.

7. Details of your team members

If you have employees, list them out in this section. Explain why they are the people for the job and how it impacts the bottomline of your business. This shows that you have thought about the roles and responsibilities that’ll make your business grow and become successful.

8. Include a detailed financial plan

This section should speak to how you plan to run your business financially. Describe in detail your total operating expenses, interest, taxes and capital needs. From revenue to profit and investment in growth, outline everything you’ll need money for and why and how you plan to raise said money.

If you follow the steps above you have a pretty solid business plan as well as an idea of what you want your business to look like in a year or five years. This way you’re better prepared and ready to take on the competition.

We hope you find this useful and valuable. As always, you can always get a FairMoney loan to get started on that business idea. Just make sure you’ve thought of a business plan first. To the moon!