Making projections for various courses of action means planning. Accurate business planning will literally turn you into a medium (do read further), enabling you to look into the future and discover risks, solutions and alternatives for your next business. Just like management-pioneer Peter Drucker said, “the best way to predict the future is to create it.”

Firstly, let’s shed some light on the matter: we are talking about businesses with potential, that can soon become productive, money-making, even highly successful. Some might say that all you need is a good idea, others might think it’s the investment capital that will do the trick. Rumor has it that age  is a rather vital aspect when you decide to become an entrepreneur. Taking all of these into consideration, I strongly believe that there’s more to it – you need to be a skillful planner, with a strategic mindset.

Use this checklist for efficiently writing and implementing your business plan:

  1. Don’t neglect market research. Your success depends on it! A good way to start your plan is to dissect your business DNA, its uniqueness and objectively state why your customers should do business with you:
    • establish the product market that suits you the best, and figure out what are the most appropriate methods to access it;
    • search for your customers, understand their needs to the fullest, and determine how you can engage them.
  2. Name your baby wisely. You probably can’t imagine the way a clever business name can do magic. But picture choosing a name for your business that will somehow build its future, and give lots of ideas for a motto, marketing campaigns, and commercials.
  3. Constantly repeat “I’m off” while writing your plan. This stands for Idea, Market, Operations, Finances, and Friends (networking, mentors). This way, you will know exactly what your plan needs to include and how far your business wants to go.
  4. Three times’ the charm. Create 3 financial plans – a conservative one, a balanced one and an optimistic one. Each of them should include down-to-earth, achievable sales incomes, limits, expenses and profits on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis.
  5. Create a living document. A day-to-day guide used by everyone involved for assessment and enhanced productivity. Never forget that flexibility is everything in a world where all things seem to change the next morning. Constantly adapt your plan to your market and customer profile changes.
  6. Answer as many “what ifs” as you can. You will deal with all those variables that could alter your future activities. Eventually, you will come up with solutions and backups for a lot of the difficulties you might encounter along the way.
  7. Always remember the “YOU” factor. Being your own manager will give you personal and financial satisfactions, but it comes with a price: long and, sometimes, discouraging hours of hard work. Before jumping into action, do focus on your real capacity to work at least 70 hours a week in the next couple of years. Wait, there’s more: during this period you will have living expenses, some always unexpected, that won’t pay for themselves. Self discipline while planning and managing your budget will help you work any cost-related problems.
  8. Make the plan a significant part of you. Give it relevance and coherence, especially for yourself. Search for info in every corner that might help you fully understand your business framework: industry specialists, similar organizations, books, and specialized publications. As long as you reach this depth in understanding your business, you will do great in convincing any potential investor or bank.
  9.  The law is your friend in a higher place. Your business will grow faster if you make sure to choose the most suitable legal structure. Think about the various types of ownership, the way you would like your business to be taxed, personal liability insurance, etc.
  10. Don’t forget about marketing. Since you have already done your research, the next moves would be: building your image, convincing people that your products or services are the best choice for their needs, and nurturing the relationships you have built with your customers. Starting your own business means knowing where you would like to be in the future, and how you can reach your destination. Therefore, you got to have a clear road map. You can create one with a mind mapping & project collaboration software that will help you enhance your brainstorming, and set ready-for-action ideas.