9 Questions to Ask in making a business plan

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Planning For A New Business This Year?


Image Credit: created using Pixteller by @artbytes for bitlanders

New Year. It's to cook up something new. Perhaps, some of you reading this right now is also thinking of starting a new business at this time of the year.

My brother and I had been talking about starting a new business this year. It's a business that will utilize our current individual field of works and skills. I am into Information Technology infrastructure and he is into construction.

In the past, our family ventured into a failed business. My brothers entered into other businesses that had some success but also failed after a while.

Lesson From the Failed Businesses

Perhaps, the biggest lesson from our failed businesses in the past is, we did not have a clear business plan. The business idea was good, but we simply did not have a business plan.

So, how do I make a business plan?

Before I answer that, let's answer another question first... "What is a Business Plan?"

A business plan is a formal written document containing business goals, the methods on how these goals can be attained, and the time frame within which these goals need to be achieved

- https://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/business-plan 




Image Credit @rawpixel via pixabay

Therefore, in order for us to have a successful business, we must have a good business plan. The next question is, how do we make one?

Here is a short video to start with

Video Credit: @Young Entrepreneur Forum via YouTube

This video outlined 7 steps. With additional information from other sources, I came with these 9 questions to asks in making a business plan.

9 questions to ask in making a business plan.

  1.  What are the products and services are you offering?
  2. What is your main goal for your business?
  3.  Who is your target market?
  4. Who are your competitors? (List at least three who are producing similar products)
  5.  What solution are you offering?
  6.  What is your USP?
  7.  What is the ideal price for your product(s)?
  8. How do you market your product(s)?
  9.  What is your business model?

I will not write my own business plan here. I might mention some information as an example. I am sharing this to you as a guide for those who are thinking or planning a new business as well.

1. What are the products and services are you offering?

To start a business, you must have at least a product or service to offer. But not just any products or services.

But what products or services should you offer?

  • Based on my experience, and also on experts advice, offer products and/or services that help solve people's problems.
  • Also, you could offer something that is good at and love to do.

As an example, I love to troubleshoot and repair network systems. I am also well experienced in designing large networks.

I am currently offering this service as a freelancer, but now I want to go on a full business with this skill.

2. What are your goals for your business?


Image Credit: @Tumisu via @Pixabay

Your business must have at least a specific goal.  Here are some things that you need to consider when you are setting your goal:

  • Specific – be clear about what you want to achieve for your business.
  • Measurable –  be quantitative. Meaning make sure your goal can be measured. Don't just say you want to gain new clients. Say "I want to gain 5 new clients"
  • Achievable - make sure that your goal is achievable within a certain amount of time. You could set it a little bit higher but make it realistic. 
  • Relevant – your goal should be relevant to your business.
  • Timely - each goal must be time-bound. Set a deadline for each goal.

 Make a long term goal and some short-term goals.

3. Who is your target market?

A target market is a set of individuals sharing similar needs or characteristics that your company hopes to serve. These individuals are usually the end users most likely to purchase your product.


Image Credit @geralt via Pixabay

No one can serve and satisfy everybody. Identifying and selecting a target market allows you to focus on those people who are most likely buy your product or avail of your services.

In selecting your target market to consider the following:

If you are targetting individuals

  • Location
  • Age group
  •  Gender
  •  Occupation
  •  Buying capacity or income level
  • Family status
  • Ethnic Background

Learn More: https://www.inc.com/guides/2010/06/defining-your-target-market.html 

Or you can target organizations or other businesses.

4. Who are your competitors?


Image Credit: @Geralt via Pixabay

You will always have competitors in any business. Competitors could either be direct or indirect. Direct competitors are businesses that are selling the same products that you are selling. Indirect competitors are businesses that may be offering different products but could satisfy the same needs of your target market.

Like, the notebook computer manufacturers are indirect competitors of personal computer manufacturers.

Read more about 'indirect competition' here: https://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/indirect-competition 

Knowing the competition could give you an idea about the areas you are competing in. You will also know how to differentiate your business from them.

5. What solution are you offering?


Image Credit: @Geralt via Pixabay

“To launch a business means successfully solving problems.”

-Richard Branson

The most successful businesses today are focused on delivering solutions and not just products. Most products were designed to solve certain or several problems.

“Selling a solution requires that companies fundamentally change how they do business: Instead of pushing products, they must create genuine connections with other people. The solution-selling methodology requires lasting relationships with clients in which the goal is always to find new ways to help.

6. What is your USP?

  • “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight - FedEx”
  • “They melt in your mouth, not in your hands. - M&Ms”

These are some of the well known USP’s of popular brands.

A USP or Unique Selling Proposition is what could make your business and/or product unique from your competitors. Strong USP ’s, like in the examples above, makes your business or product unique among your competitors.


Image Credit: @3DMan_EU via Pixabay


Here is a video on how to create a strong USP.

Video Credit: @Irfan Farhan via YouTube

7. What is the ideal price for your product(s)?


Image Credit: @moreharmony via Pixabay

If you are selling tangible products, then most likely your supplier will give you a suggested retail price (SRP) for each item. Or you can add a certain percentage on top of the cost of the products to set up your selling price.

Selling Price= Cost +Expenses+ Markup.

However, for businesses like restaurants and cafe's, setting up the ideal price is quite tricky.

8. How do you market your product(s)?


“Marketing is the business process of creating relationships with and satisfying customers."

- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing#Marketing 

As defined, marketing is not just about selling your products or services. It is about building relationships and satisfying the customers.


Image Credit @muneebfarman via Pixabay

But to start marketing, you must first tell the world, or at least the people around you, that you have a new business. This could be done through:

  •  Media advertising- newspaper, TV, or radio
  •  Fliers
  •  Social network
  • Word of mouth

and or any other forms of advertising

These days, the most efficient and most cost-effective form of advertisement is through social media. When done right, you could reach to your potential customers at minimal or even zero costs.

9. What is your business model?

A business model is a company's plan for how it will generate revenues and make a profit. It explains what products or services the business plans to manufacture and market.

There are over fifty business models to choose from. Depending on your products or services.

From direct sales, consumer service, retail store or even digital goods.

You can read more about the different business models here: https://simplicable.com/new/business-models 

In Conclusion

If you want to start a new business and succeed, it is best to prepare for it by creating a business plan. The business plan is not a writer-and-forget piece of document. You read it regularly. It is going to be the compass of your business. You may make some modifications along the way when necessary.

With your business plan, you can put your ideas into actions towards success.



Image Credit: @geralt via Pixabay


Thanks For Reading


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John Reynold Loberiza (a.k.a @artbytes) is a freelance graphic artist, web developer, and blogger. He is also a  licensed Financial Adviser under Insular Life. 

The content of this blog post is the author's original work. Proper credit is always given to the respective sources of information and images. Please feel free to check out my other blog posts: http://www.bitlanders.com/Artbytes/blog_post  

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About the author


I'm a self trained graphic artist web designer/developer, IT Consultant a teacher and a father of two..
Visit my site: http://Jrlcentral.xyz
Twitter: @jrlcentral
I'm also in Beer Money Forum https://www.beermoneyforum.com/?inv=71478

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