Business Startup Strategy 100

I strongly suggest that would-be entrepreneurs do a business plan. As a result of completing the plan you will be much better prepared and know whether or not your business idea is feasible. Try the following article for a short-cut. However, I caution you on following a short-cut unless you have substantial experience or knowledge about your area. Proceed with caution without a business plan!

How is your business unique, and why will your goods or services appeal to customers? What are the primary differences between your company and your competitors? What are the driving factors to choose your business over another?

In other words, what is the underlying reason a customer would do business with your company?

1) Define Your Business and Vision

Defining your vision is important. It will become the driving force of your business. Here are questions that will help you clarify your vision:

  • Who is the customer?
  • What business are you in?
  • What do you sell (product/service)?
  • What is your plan for growth?
  • What is your primary competitive advantage?
2) Write Down Your Goals

Create a list of goals with a brief description of action items. If your business is a start up, you will want to put more effort into your short-term goals. Often a new business concept must go through a period of research and development before the outcome can be accurately predicted for longer time frames.

Create two sets of goals:

  1. Short term: range from six to 12 months.
  2. Long term: can be two to five years.

Explain, as specifically as possible, what you want to achieve. Start with your personal goals. Then list your business goals. Answer these questions:

  • As the owner of this business, what do you want to achieve?
  • How large or small do you want this business to be?
  • Do you want to include family in your business?
  • Staff: do you desire to provide employment, or perhaps, you have a strong opinion on not wanting to manage people.
  • Is there some cause that you want the business to address?
  • Describe the quality, quantity and/or service and customer satisfaction levels.
  • How would you describe your primary competitive advantage?
  • How do you see the business making a difference in the lives of your customers?
3) Understand Your Customer

It is not realistic to expect you can meet the needs of everyone, no business can. Choose your target market carefully. Overlook this area, and I guarantee you will be disappointed with the performance of your business. Get this right and you will be more than pleased with the results.

  • Needs: what unmet needs do your prospective customers have? How does your business meet those needs? It is usually something the customer does not have or a need that is not currently being met. Identify those unmet needs.
  • Wants: think of this as your customer’s desire or wish. It can also be a deficiency.
  • Problems: remember people buy things to solve a specific problem. What problems does your product or service solve?
  • Perceptions: what are the negative and positive perceptions that customers have about you, your profession and its products or services? Identify both the negative and positive consequences. You will be able to use what you learn when you start marketing and promoting your business.
4) Learn From Your Competition

You can learn a lot about your business and customers by looking at how your competitors do business. Here are some questions to help you learn from your competition and focus on your customer:

  • What do you know about your target market?
  • What competitors do you have?
  • How are competitors approaching the market?
  • What are the competitor’s weaknesses and strengths?
  • How can you improve upon the competition’s approach?
  • What are the lifestyles, demographics and psychographics of your ideal customer?
5) Financial Matters

How will you make money? What is your break-even point? How much profit potential does your business have? Take the time to invest in preparing financial projections.

These projections should take into account the collection period for your accounts receivables (outstanding customer accounts) as well as the payment terms for your suppliers. For example, you may pay your bills in 30 days, but have to wait 45-60 days to get paid from your customers.

A cash flow projection will show you how much working capital you will need during those “gaps” in your cash position.

I recommend thinking about these six key areas:

  1. Start up Investment
  2. Assumptions
  3. Running Monthly Overhead
  4. Streamlined Sales Forecast
  5. Cumulative Cash
  6. Break-even

6) Identify Your Marketing Strategy

There are four steps to creating a marketing strategy for your business:

  1. Identify All Target Markets: define WHO is your ideal customer or target market. Most companies experience 80% of their business from 20% of their customers. It makes sense then to direct your time and energy toward those customers who are most important.
  2. Qualify the Best Target Markets: the purpose of this step is to further qualify and determine which customer profile meets the best odds of success. The strategy is to position your business at the same level as the majority of the buyers you are targeting. It is critical to figure out who your best customers are and how to best position your company in the marketplace.
  3. Identify Tools, Strategies and Methods: a market you cannot access is a market you cannot serve. Marketing is the process of finding, communicating and educating your primary market about your products and services. Choose a combination of tools and strategies, that when combined, increase your odds of success.
  4. Test Marketing Strategy and Tools: the assumptions we do not verify are typically the ones that have the potential to create business problems. Take the time to test all business assumptions, especially when you are making major expenditures.

You may also find inspiration in the marketing strategies used by other businesses—sometimes the best ideas are already out there, and free for the taking.

  • http://www.paloalto.com Chelle Parmele

    Thanks for your question. We have several articles and resources on business planning here on bplans.com. You can look through our free sample plans and free business resources.

    Palo Alto Software also offers business planning software which helps you, step by step, through the process of building your business plan. You can get more information about Business Plan Pro by going to our consumer website.

  • Gregory Whitten

    Im trying to Start A small beauty supply store do i need a business plan or should i chance it. The building is between three salons And my competition is On the other side of town. Rent is reasonable and getting supplies i wont know how much they are until i get lease

  • jackson nathan

    i am from india and planning to start an online travel agency…as the penetration level is very less by the competitors at the same time the major players in the industy are 5-6 in number…
    How can you help me in getting funding from a VC

  • Chelsey

    Im 16 and i really want to set up my own buisness i just dont know how to do that…how can i set up my own buisness

  • http://swifttechsolutions.com ernest lithur

    the bplan samples are very good.

  • http://swifttechsolutions.com ernest lithur

    i need more of identifying the need or how to identify the need of startup a business at a particular area.

  • Rosie

    The article is very educative, I plan to open up a bookshop in my area and i am in the process of developing a business plan. Your advice will be appreciated

  • Doug Bianchi

    Hi Greg,
    I’am a semi retired small bussiness owner have you ever thought of going out and actully holding seminars on this in different cities ? Just wondering because I have a pretty good Idea how to do it . we can talk if you would like. Thanks for your time

    Doug

  • NKALUBO DICKSON

    I am a male Ugandan with a vision of starting a restaurant in one of the busy towns in Uganda. I have read samples of business plans and they have given me the courage to go ahead. But how best can i raise initial starting capital? Thank you.

  • NKALUBO DICKSON

    I am a male Ugandan with a vision of starting a restaurant in one of the busy towns in Uganda. How best can i raise initial starting capital? Thank you.

  • mahmoud

    we already have a business and we would like to restructe it again from A to Z in all dep. so what can we do ?

  • Tryphina

    Wow these is great sometimes in life you get discouraged because you dont get the support system,but when you read articles like these one you are motivated!

  • http://bpsconstruction.net Tui

    we have a small family landscape / contracting business. My husband and I got involved about 4 years ago, we got our license about 2 + years ago. We have not written a business plan and need some advice. Where do we start?

  • neh

    I’m keen to start an old age home in India.I want to write a business plan and go ahead woth it. Where shall i start from?

  • neh

    I want to start a old age home and write a business plan to go ahead with it.Where shall i start from?

  • ree

    i want start a service for women .young women and girls who are becoming young women.i have the concept,but i don’t know were to begin.is it the same as selling a product?

  • isse

    please i want to start business so what did i need first?

  • isse

    i have been starting new business which was fuel station so i made alot of loss so what did i do?

  • dalmar

    i am know in business i have made loss and also i can,t afford to buy the rent of house i have alot of material which can,t i take so what did i do?

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  • Lisa Martin

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  • perumal

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  • Mohamed Faras

    i want to start a business so i dont know what to do? please what is the best strategies do i do?

  • Nazim

    Hi,
    I would like to setup and IT services company.I have technical resources with me and we all are technically skilled and certified Oracle professionals.We are in the process of creating a business plan.Please help me in guiding towards the market research.How do we start our market search.

    Regards,
    Nazim

  • Nnamso Nyong

    Hello bplan,
    Your articles are very interesting and motivational. Thanks for educating me. Am interested in purchasing your bplan software and would do that within the next four weeks.

    Keep the good work.
    Regards,
    Nnamso

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  • Sicelo

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  • shan

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  • OLATOSHO AKINRINOLA

    Quite interesting you highlited your points so simply and succinctly that made it useful for even a layman in business administration, i appreciate what u are doing to help serious minded people.

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  • http://Nil Iberedem Akadu

    Hi,
    We are starting up Drink Company here in Nigeria. We are in the process of creating a business plan.Please help us in guiding towards the market strategy to break into Nigerian Market, Administrative approach. How do we start our market search.

    Thanks

  • Jabrecia Williams

    Good Morning, my question is my husband and I are starting a property manangement business and we are in need of funds. We will be managing our first third party property next year through my church but we are needing money to start our actual company.Family and Friends are out of the question and I’m trying to get my credit fixed as we speak. What can we do

  • http://www.amintas.com Galina

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  • http://www.amintas.com Galina

    we already have an Web marketing business and we would like to restructe it again in all departments, and so what can we do ?

  • Jegede

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  • sudheer

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  • Asad Habib

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  • http://Businessplanning Rachael Webb

    How do you come up with projected costs and price, or what your competition is doing, when you truelly have no competition? This is the one area that is stumping me. Any one in the great void have any suggestions or advice? Thanks

  • Munya

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  • http://noneasyet Fran

    We are opening a wellness center; vitamins, herbs, seminars, massage therapy, alkalizing water, exercise and walking tours, nutritional counseling, infrared sauna, vibrating machine etc can you help us? Thanks so much.

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    Hi i would like to start a recycling business and have no idea about writing a business plan please help.

  • EPEY AKULY

    Glad to explore your plan and will be interested in starting up a new business in marketing and distribution, haning a franchaise andorganising serminars and events

  • http://www.businessconcepts.co.cc Sheila

    Excellent tips on writing an effective business plan.

  • Gherman Andrei

    Hello,
    I want to start a business based on snails, and I wonder if I can find any business plan sample. I don’t know were to start, can you help me?
    Bye

  • Keith

    I would like to start my own business and i have a very good plan i know will work

  • selk

    hello i am a motswana aged 20years i want to start a real estate bussiness how do i start?

  • biegon

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  • Leungo Ketshotseng

    Hello I am a Motswana man starting a business on tourism, a Horseback safari, Campsite and Cultural Village with a Restuarant. I have started working on my business plan and I was so impress by your sample business plans on your web. Now I have to rewrite mine again using your samples. Thank a lot you are the best. Looking forward to hearing from you.

  • http://nowebsiteasofnow Hi I’m Florynce Mathews

    I’m trying to write a buissness plan and having problems because I am just starting out and need help. I’m a licened real estate investor and I’m trying to get things togetter but I need some coaching. I am a student of scores and have everything in my head to the questions you have but I need to get everything in format. I don’t type very fast so I most definetly need a secratary.I wanted to start off with a goverment grant but I have to do the Buissness plan first. PLEASE HELP ME.

  • Omar Quait

    Hello, I’ve been contemplating starting up my own small business in hair products and accessories here in Toronto, Canada. I’ve actually been thinking about this for a few years now and have done a bit of researching.. now my question to you is how would I go about doing this..My start up money is minimal and very limited. What type of plan would I need to get this business off the the ground. Your guidance would be immensely appreciated.

  • Niamh McHugh

    Currently doing my final year thesis and finding this website very helpful, not exactly sure where i should be starting, the degree is in business and event management and the thesis is on Incentive travel, ne ideas all sugestions welcome and appreciated

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  • Robin Taylor

    I am thinking of doing a charity business involving breast cancer awareness in order to help a friend in need, but do not know how to go about writing a business plan or if I actually need to write a business plan. My start up funds are minimal, and would not require an actual store, just inventory to be placed at other businesses. I do not know if I would even qualify to apply for a grant or loan, etc. Could you please direct me as to where I would research this information. Thanks for your assistance!

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  • Kirsten

    I am researching what it takes to start a Medical Cannibus growers co-op as well as Medical Cannibus Dispencory/dispencories in California. I know dispencories have to be none profit orginizations and Im wondering if that makes things different? Would I plan for a none profit the same way one would a retail establishment?

    Kirsten

  • http://none Pamela

    Hi I would like to start up a construction company, and would like from hear from Investors and sub-contract companies, as well as how to go about with a business plan that will rock. Please help.

    Kind Regards
    Pamela

  • hlengiwe nzuza

    i want to start a business but my problem is that i don’t where to begin

  • Matt Talamillo

    I am planning to run a security agency with myself. I am an ex-soldier and worked for 13 years and now working abroad for 2 years now; first year as security supervisor, and as security coordinator in my second year in Afghanistan. My question is, does my field experiences would work on my plan?

  • http://www.archmailledesigns.com Copper Jewelry Store

    In essence isn’t this just a basic business plan? It doesn’t go into detail about the research and time spent that a full on business plan would (Done one once when I was in DECA over 250 pages, much more work than this is), but it’s still a “plan” for a business. Either way, good article, it’s a place to start for most people who don’t know what to look into in creating their business plan.

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  • Reborn Design

    I have a freelance Graphic Design/Illustrator/Photographer business but I have no clients. I have an ad in the local paper but no bites at it. What do I do to get it going? How do I motivate myself to go get companies to want to use me over others or at all? Please help!! I am in the process of creating a business plan and have a contract form that I worked on is school all ready to be used.
    hlengiwe nzuza I am in the same boat as you.

    —————

    Great question!

    I would suggest you check out John Jantsch and his Duct Tape Marketing systems. He has fantastic information that I feel would be completely beneficial to your needs. Marketing is what he does and while he does have some systems that are for pay, he has a wealth of information and resources that are completely free.

    I strongly suggest you take advantage of his expertise!

  • http://jjparis.livejournal.com/profile Jessica Paris

    hi everyone! well, this is quite a write up for people who would want to have their business up and standing. I am also one of those people who have just started to put up their own business and i really find this so helpful. After reading this article, I went back to my original business plan and edited more things as I have learned more from here. thanks for sharing! anyways, have a nice day to everyone! best wishes with our business

  • http://------------- jabraan

    Hi guys it aint easy starting up a business and belive you , me tha it’s twice as hard to keep it a float but hay look at is this way it an investment that would grow with you cheers guyz and god be with you in all your best intrest’s

    Thank JABZ

  • http://grandpa1948.livejournal.com/ Mitchell Troy

    I can not agree more! This article sure covers much of the basic background in starting a business. I remember what I had to do before when I started my own.. lucky now we have these things to study and research online.

  • Fundile G

    For a while now I have been working on an idea to start my own business.I have looked around my community and discovered that there are several business opportunities that I can venture into,but the difficult part of it was to get the right idea that will be viable and to come up with a business plan. Now that I have come to your website, I think I am well informed and ready to take the challenge.

  • Paula T.

    Hi everyone, I am in love with this site. I have written grants for other people, but never for myself. I have discovered a business that I want to pursue for myself. This website has helped me a lot. Thank you1

  • http://notyet John Victor

    Hi I am trying to open my own business like a vodofone store.Your website was extemely helpful thank you so much. God bless you all folks.

  • Jennifer Muldoon

    Hi…..I am just starting to formulate my idea into a plan & this website has put this into the forefront of my brain! I’m in Australia & have an idea for the Beauty Industry of which I have been part of for the last 20 years.

    I’m really excited about my idea!! I’ll keep you posted!!!

  • Theresa Vaughn

    I hope you all are successful at your dreams and goals of starting your businesses. This site helps me to answer extremely important questions to starting my own. There is just so much information to be captured and summarized. This site helps alot and encourages me to keep going, its very frustrating but I feel if you’re going to do it, do it right and this information starts you in the that direction. Wish me luck!!!

  • Anant

    A wonderful article, must read for every would be entrepreneur!!

  • ekpe elinam

    managers do fail thier responsibilitiies there is thourogh researche before starting thier business ,some because thier frivoliness they fail .Informations should the best asset to our plan and also planning is an ingredient of any activities as the saying go” you fail to plan ,you plan to fail ”

  • Ninoska Ramos

    Hi there this is very good inforamtion,,,i’m thinking about opening my own bussines in Cleaning… I will like to get some information on how to get grants.. I’m working on my bussiness plan right now.. any help is greatly appreciated…

  • David chukwu

    i want to start my own business,im having problem with preparing a business plan and how to raise capital to start up.i believe so much in the principle of starting no matter how small.

  • Scott

    I’am looking to start a small restaurant business this site help me on a lot of question thanks for having a website for beginners

  • http://WWW.DIVINETOUCHTHERAPY.ORG AJILA TAIWO CHRIS

    THIS ARTICLE IS VERY GOOD IN THE TIME AM WONDERING TO START UP MY BUSINESS IT HAS SHED A GREEN LIGHT TO MY AREA OF MY NEED IN START UP PLS KEEP IT UP

  • http://cnandpartners.com C.J

    Hi.
    I’m very happy to have stumbled on this webpage.Fortunately for me, It happened when I’m about starting up a biz and its all i believe i need at the moment. Let me work wit it and see how far and well it can take me.
    Thanks once again for publishing this articles.
    C.J

  • Wale

    The information on this page seem helpful,but my problem how to convert all this info into practical sense.Am a graduate of computer Engineering,now am planning to venture into photography business.

  • http://shareful.org shareful

    Great article and now ‘sharing’ on http://shareful.org/blogs/category/9/221

  • ray f

    i am looking to start my busness and i have never done a business plan before,i have the idea but need to put it in the right format ,thank you.

  • Thein Htaik

    Hi
    Thank you very much.
    This post is very useful to me.

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  • Edwin Mogusu

    Hi,
    Writing a business plan isn’t as easy as it seems. There are so many challanges requiring a lot of one’s attention. Am in the process of writing one down nd this site has been of great help to me. God bless u guyz

  • Praveen kumar

    Hi ,
    i want to start my own business in industry supplier so can you help me that how i can start up my business , I have a good contact on industries but not a contact from where i get a material to reduce the broker can you help me or can u give me the right format to start my business.

    thanks

  • Jasmine

    Hello I am a registered nurse and would like to start a home care business to care for the elderly clients or clients who need nursing assistance daily. What kind of licensing do I need and where to get clients are my concerns. Also, how do I choose a location of the home? Thanks for your advice.

  • pierro

    i will try the format now and give you feedback. thanks for your help

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  • http://notyet. Apeh Monday

    Thank you very much for this wonderful business plan, you given a reason to achieve my long awaited dreams. God Bless You.

  • http://hungrynfoolish.com Kshitij A

    Nice article quite really makes it easy to write down that business plan. But first most of the people dont usually know why they should have a strong model! Find it out here : http://www.hungrynfoolish.com/2011/10/21/how-important-is-it-for-a-new-internet-startup-to-have-a-solid-business-model-and-four-more-startup-related-questions/

  • Clinton

    Hi Greg,

    Thanks very much for the useful, informative article. I am planning on starting a new venture in South Africa and I will be putting your advice into practice.

    Regards,
    Clinton

  • Collen Tamu

    Hie
    Thank you very much for the information given on the website.
    With all the information i found today i realy believe and i have all the high hopes that i wont go wrong in anyway.I long time wanted to run a transportation busnes now i have a direction on where to start .

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    Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Very helpful info specially the ultimate phase :) I handle such information a lot. I was looking for this particular information for a long time. Thanks and best of luck.

  • Kelemedi

    Thank you Greg,

    You are going to be a real blessings for me and my family back in Fiji. This information will help us start up a healthy and clear vision of our family business. Many thanks!

    Kelemedi Lave / Zurich, Switzerland.

  • MAMSEUS

    thanks quite helpful.

  • Ali Salmin

    Very Informative. A good read.

  • Gaurav

    informative……….

  • Mcallister0211

    Good info

  • 123

    AMAZING

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  • http://www.howtostart-acleaningbusiness.com/ cleaning business master

    Excellent post. Organizing and sticking to a plan is key to successful start-ups, mo matter what market you’re in. On the other hand, as a business owner, you have to wear many hats and competition analysis is definitely one of them. Understanding your customers is also essential since it allows you to perfect your services and match their needs…

    Again, excellent post. Keep them coming!

  • biswajit majumdar

    I did business but i did not survive. no matter what you make a plan , strategies for your business. the primary thing is capital and how to utilize the capital.

    when i started a business i evaluate the whole things. such as

    1) how the market works?
    2) strength and weakness of the competitors and all that stuffs which is written above.

    but the veracity is you have have enough capital to pay your operating expense. because this the primary thing which you have to keep it in mind . if you do not consider this you even cannot achieve the break even point . you should have a good capital for your business for the substantial growth of your business.

  • SARAH

    I WOULD LOVE TO GET A business plan on my in home child care center to expand it so that I can better serve and educaticnal the parents of my community on resources that will better services them.Happpy kidz feel that Providing support helps dream come to reality.

  • http://www.paloalto.com Casi Deatherage

    The Windows software package Business Plan Pro is an excellent tool for developing a professional business plan.

    You may choose to write a simple or a standard business plan. It customizes outline topics, tables, and charts depending on whether your business is retail, a service or product provider, manufacturer, for profit or non-profit, ongoing or start-up, etc… We haven’t yet heard of a business that couldn’t complete a business plan using Business Plan Pro.

    Business Plan Pro will guide you through the process with a flexible outline of about four dozen topics organized into chapters, topics, and subtopics, with links to the proper tables and charts. Each topic has a split screen (if you choose to) that explains what should be covered, and where to find the information. With the click of a single button, you may view an example of what that topic will look like in the finished business plan.

    We also have online tutorials which will walk you through several sections of Business Plan Pro.

    You may order Business Plan Pro online at our website.
    Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

    Best regards,

    Casi Deatherage
    Palo Alto Software
    Customer Care

About the Author Greg is a small business coach and consultant who has worked with hundreds of small business owners and entrepreneurs in over 20 industries. He fills the gap between the lawyers, accountants, web developers, marketing and technology professionals and specializes in business start up, planning, turn-around and expansion. Greg distributes free information about small businesses on… Read more »

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