The Basic Business Plan For Solopreneurs

By Rob Place

Before the business plan is even started, a little prep should be done first:

Pre-Business Plan

Business and Personal Feasibility. Without conducting Personal Feasibility, you miss out on positioning your business relative to your skills and interests. Without Business Feasibility, you won’t have a basic idea of your revenue model. I don’t include this as a numbered step, but it is the unspoken requisite for your business plan.

Business Plan

1. Mission. Often perceived as an expendable piece of your business plan, your mission is as important as anything else. Without a defined mission, you don’t have a good grasp of your personal goal of starting one.

2. Target Market. Who will the average customer be?

3. Competition. After identifying who your Target Market is, you’ll be able to identify who else is competing for them. Who are your competitors and what are they good (and bad) at doing?

4. Service Niche. Your service description will detail on the scope and specialization of your offerings. What packages do you offer? While it’s tempting to just start your business with an unclear scope of services and Target Market, the “build it and they will come” strategy rarely works. You’ll flounder and start moving away from a specialized service for a certain kind of person in an attempt to get volume. Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) will build upon the findings in your Competition. What one desired thing isn’t being delivered to your target market by the existing competition? Build your Service Niche around the USP. This will focus your identity on a key thing that customers can identify with you.

5. Marketing Vehicles. You need to pick the right mix of vehicles to get your name out there. You should look at both online and offline vehicles.

6. Exit Plan, Vision, and Milestones. This is your macro-to-micro goal setting. I don’t see how you can move forward without a plan of what needs to be done. Exit Plan is how you want your business to end five, ten, thirty years down the road. Vision is where it will be in five years when you’re still on top. How will it have grown? Milestones are the steps required to launch your business or make a few initial sales.

7. Financial Projections. The most dreaded section of the plan shouldn’t be reserved until the last section. You should be working through your financials throughout the plan. This will show how, when, and where you will make money.

This has worked the best for my clients as it’s more than a back-of-the-envelope plan while it’s not approaching the complexity of an institutional business plan. Feasibility and Mission are the forgotten step children of the business plan process and should not be seen as trivial. The above can be written between five and ten pages and shouldn’t take more than a few days.

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