Research has shown that only one out of three startups actually manage to reach the second year of trading.
One of the main reasons attributed to this is the lack of a proper business plan. How can freelancers go about writing a good business plan?
Basically, the business plan is a document that outlines where you are now, where you want to be in a few years, and how you will get there. In the freelance world, the road to failure is littered with half finished and poorly done business plans. A well done business plan will make all the difference to your business success and will place you in the ranks of successful startups. This article gives advice on how to prepare a winning freelance business plan.
Get it done
The most important thing is to just get the plan done. If you feel you cannot write it well enough to attract future investors or clients, then pay someone to do it for you. Grammar, layout and general presentation are as important as the contents of the plan itself. Find an expert if you have to since doing it properly shows investors and clients that you are have taken it seriously, given it much thought and are ready for business.
Take your time
The writing of the business plan should not be rushed. Gather all the facts and peruse them, alone first and then with anyone else who may be helping you. Then cross check the facts again before settling for the final document.
Ensure that your financial projections are as realistic as possible. Plan for minimum sales and err on the expensive side. Plan for not having money when you need it most and for losses. Think about the duration you expect something to take then double it to make provision for the unexpected. If you attain your target within this time period, you will have done well.
Remember the basics
The business plan is the road map for your business. By outlining specific responsibilities, deadlines and milestones, you are putting in place markers that can be used to measure business performance.
The basic format for the business plan would be a follows:
The company (its ownership, history and legal formation)
What it does or sells
The market (including size, trends and growth)
The management team and their profiles
Financial analysis (month by month cash flow, returns and profitability)
The plan itself (marketing plans, sales forecasts, who does what and how and when)
Conduct a SWOT analysis
Successful business plans adhere to the fundamental of SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. If your business can examine and address these factors realistically and competently, then success can is assured.