The more you learn, the more you realise there IS to learn. Never stop reading, watching, expanding and pushing yourself. I would recommend this book before you start your business plan. It’s very thorough and isn’t a quick read but it’s good to understand that if you’re starting a business, nothing about it will be easy!
I’m looking to open a cafe next year and this is everything I’ve done in order to equip myself with the right knowledge/skills (and it’s not yet complete):
– Completed an online ‘How to open a Coffee Shop’ Course
– Attended a local ‘coffee school’ event
– Learnt the complete process/history of coffee
– Read 20 books and have a list of another 12 or so lined up
– Researched a suitable location
– Compiled an analysis of the market and industry trends and growth rate
– Visited MANY cafes, made even more notes and compared my findings
– Watched many videos about digital marketing/social media
– Quizzed people I know who are very successful in business
– Quizzed people I know who own cafes
This is by no means a yardstick, there is a lot more that I could have done but I’ve completed what I felt was needed in the time I had. At this point I’m nearly a year into the eighteen months I gave myself to prepare.
Work out what will be beneficial to you and go for it, just don’t scrimp on the research.
Speak to people
Talk to people who have been in your position or are experienced in working with new/small businesses. Get them to read through your plan, give you feedback and test you on your knowledge of the chosen industry and key statistics within it.
This will be great preparation for when you have to pitch your plan to potential investors.
Stick to what’s relevant and don’t bulk out your plan for the sake of it. You’ll end up distracting from the main points and risk giving the idea that you don’t know exactly what you’re talking about.
Be succinct and don’t miss out the obvious points
When you’ve worked on an idea for a long while, there’s a lot of points, thoughts and knowledge floating about your brain. Remember that your business plan will be read by people who know nothing about your idea. They need to be one hundred percent sure of the points you’re trying to make and the problems you’re trying to solve.
Include your personality
Personality will sell your idea just as much as your skills, potentially even more so. Skills can be learnt but anyone who you’re trying to get on board will want to know that you have the right personality to be able to build relationships, to sell your idea and be memorable. Make sure your personality jumps out of your business plan and grabs them in the face!
Brand it as you would your business
There’s nothing wrong (and everything right) with consistent branding. Start this now and brand your business plan to coincide with that of your business. It’ll make yours stand out and add a few professionalism points as well.