Putting together a business plan

Putting together a business plan can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Don’t get hung up on the format or the end result. In fact, it’s not even the end result that is important. Rather, it’s the process of putting a business plan together that is the truly important step!

This is because by going through the steps of putting together a business plan you are forced to sit down and answer the tough questions about your business, such as "How will I differentiate myself from the competition?", "How much will I charge?", and "What will be my marketing strategy?"

Putting together a business plan:

1. Set aside some time to put together your business plan.

Putting together a business plan starts with setting aside time to do it. If you are busy, particularly if you are working another full-time job, it can be difficult to squeeze in the time.

Our tendency is to put off work that feels a little scary and out of our comfort zones, like putting together a business plan. Often it’s merely the thought of putting together a business plan that feels scary, but once you get into it it’s really as simple as answering a survey and then crunching a few numbers. So don’t let fear put you off. Schedule a few three-hour chunks into your agenda to work on putting together a business plan. And when the time to put together your business plan rolls around, don’t procrastinate. Get to work!

2. Find a business plan template that you can use as a guideline.

Putting together a business plan is much easier if you can use a template or boiler plate as a guideline. When putting together a business plan the idea isn’t to copy your template exactly. Rather, use the template as a jumping off point. Feel free to add or remove any sections as necessary.

To help you put together your business plan, here’s a bare-bones consulting business plan template to get you started.

3. Start putting together a business plan.

Putting together a business plan is as easy as sitting at your computer, putting your thinking cap on and starting to type. When you run into questions or sections that you don’t know the answers to, start doing a little bit of research.

However, it’s most effective for you to work on the business plan yourself and only ask for assistance on very specific questions that you are unable to answer.

Often there are community business organizations that will help point you in the right direction to resources and potential contacts who will help you complete the gaps in your business plan. Enlisting help and feedback from someone who is already doing the work that you plan to do is one of the best ways to approach putting together the difficult parts of your business plan.

Are you putting together a business plan? There are a number of resources that will help you hone in on your business in the Consultant Journal store, including an excellent guide to helping you set your rates to ensure your success. Start putting your business plan together today.

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