Follow Melinda Emerson’s expert tips to build a solid business plan

In today’s episode of The Small Business Show, we will be discussing how to create a solid business plan with Melinda Emerson, America’s number one small business expert, CEO of Quintessence Group, and Best-selling Author.

Key takeaways

1. Planning 12 months before launching your business is highly recommended. During this time, you should research, talk to the right people, save money, and, most importantly, understand who your paying customer will be.

2. The first thing you need to include in your business plan is the reason behind why you want to start this business. This is where your purpose, values, and mission should come from.

3. Secondly, you need to figure out how you are going to finance your business. It’s important to remember that banks generally do not lend money to startups; therefore, most startups are funded using personal savings.

4. The third aspect to consider is how your business is going to operate. You need to determine your current skills versus the skills you need to run your business successfully. Emerson also suggests that some people may need to work for another business similar to the one they want to start before launching their own to gain a clear understanding of their plan.

5. Finally, it’s important to understand your marketing plan and your target audience. You need to understand where your potential customers go and what they like, and then build your marketing strategy accordingly. Emerson advises, “If you can’t differentiate your business from your competitors, then your potential customer will likely go towards a bigger, well-known brand.”

6. Entrepreneurs should also prioritize how realistic their sales projections are. A 20 to 25% increase is still an aggressive goal and can help develop your budget on an annual, quarterly, and monthly basis. On the other hand, Emerson advises entrepreneurs to avoid including their “super secret sauce” in their business plans, such as their actual IP or anything they have a patent pending.

"You really want to think about how you will specially serve this customer." – Melinda Emerson.

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