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Creating a Successful Small Business Plan

In today’s economy, the best small business idea is based on something you already know. Some of the most successful small businesses today come from a skill or product that predates the foray into entrepreneurship. To create successful business ideas, you don’t have to learn a new skill or create a new product from scratch – you just need to find a way to successfully leverage what you already have.

  • Discover Your Skill Set
    Everyone has a skill or talent. The key to a successful business is to leverage what you’re good at. Is there something you do that people always complement? Do you make something that everyone loves and wants? These types of things form the basis for your small business, and the challenge becomes to create a manufacturing or service delivery process around them.In other words, once you figure out your skill set, you need to decide how to monetize it. Develop a process from end to end. In the case of a physical product, you’d need to decide how to handle manufacturing, marketing, selling, order fulfillment and customer satisfaction. A service-based business is essentially the same, minus the manufacturing.
  • Research the Competition
    Once you have a plan, or while you’re developing your plan, research the competition. What are other people doing in your space? How are other businesses serving the need you’re trying to address?Speak to customers about what they actually need, and find out as much as you can about how the competition is managing their process. Then you can more readily differentiate yourself and your product or service, or decide that there’s not room for you in the niche and move in a different direction.
  • Test Run a Minimum Viable Product or Service
    Once you have a plan and you know what the competition is doing, the next step in evolving business ideas is to test run a minimum viable product or service. Decide what your minimum viable product is – and develop it.Put together a working version. Test run it with a few buyers that you know personally to see where there may be flaws in your product or process. Use this opportunity to refine your product and process, and prepare it for the general public. Fix issues, improve processes, reduce manufacturing costs – do whatever you can during this phase to prepare for rolling it out.
  • Create Your Business Plan
    At this point in the process, you’re ready to dip your toes into the waters of entrepreneurship. You’ve got the data you need to put together a business plan, which is a vital step in the development of your small business idea.When you compile this data into a business plan, you have a guidebook for your business’ operation, development and growth. From there, you can take it to investors, formally release your product or service to the public and start the day-to-day operations of putting your business in place.

When you follow these steps in developing your small business idea, you can take a successful plunge into entrepreneurship. By having all of the data and doing a test run of your product and process, you know where potential problems are and you can address them before they become huge issues.

Your small business plan becomes a roadmap for how you’ll run your business, and a thorough business plan is the key to success.

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