3 Keys to Planning Your Startups Short- and Long-Term Success

US entrepreneurship hit a 40-year low in 2016. That compares to a 33-year low in 2010. Clearly, business startups are seeing a rapid decline in America.

Some blame the Great Recession but the startups didn’t start up again at historic levels after the economy recovered. Could it be the Amazon effect, where e-commerce is killing small businesses almost as fast as they can start? Are regulations to blame?

Whatever the reason, if you want to succeed as a startup you have one advantage: the landscape is less competitive. But you also have a challenge: it’s more difficult to succeed. You need a rock-solid plan.

A startup business plan has several purposes and goals, according to SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors. First, it helps you clarify your vision, mission and goals. But it can also help convince investors or lenders to put some financial power behind your business.

“Writing a business plan is an opportunity to carefully think through every step of starting your company so you can prepare for success,” SCORE explains. “This is your chance to discover any weaknesses in your business idea, identify opportunities you may not have considered, and plan how you will deal with challenges that are likely to arise. Be honest with yourself as you work through your business plan. Don’t gloss over potential problems; instead, figure out solutions.”

Beyond the rather simple aspects of a business plan, such as your executive summary, company description and explanation of products and services, your road map to success should include the following:

1. A marketing plan:

You have competitors. Your marketing plan should include competitor data so you can analyze your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses and compare them to your own. This will help you see where you may have an edge and where you may need to strengthen your position. This part of your startup business plan should also include marketing expenses, pricing sheets and distribution strategies.

2. An operational plan:

The operational plan outlines the daily operations of your startup business, including its location, equipment, personnel and processes. When you hire new staff, this operational plan will be key to faster on boarding. It deals with issues like production, quality control, legal issues and hiring guidelines.

3. Management and finances:

Rounding out your business plan, you’ll include information about your management team, organizational structure, startup expenses and capitalization, and a financial plan that demonstrates where you are now and what your goals are in a year, three years and five years.

4. Challenges and opportunities:

As you begin to work through the business plan itself, you’ll discover challenges and opportunities. Take the time now to face every problem head on so you don’t run into a roadblock that will derail your plans. Have a brainstorming session with your team. Let someone play devil’s advocate against your best-laid plans so you can plug holes in your strategy now before you start seeing leaks.

In conclusion, with the right planning you can get your startup up and running. Consider seeking outside services to help get on your feet like Davinci Meeting Rooms, Davinci Virtual Offices, or Davinci Virtual Receptionists. Any of these services can help you begin your successful business. 

Read more Entrepreneur advice here. 

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Jennifer LeClaire

Jennifer LeClaire

Jennifer LeClaire is a veteran business journalist, editor and new media entrepreneur with a strong niche in real estate and technology.