Simple Business Plan Template
Part 4 of 5

My simple business plan template is a one-page plan to help you build the road map and foundation for creating your successful business.  Don't let the word "simple" fool you into thinking this plan doesn't have any "horse power" behind it.  

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Remember KISS -- Keep It Simple Sam!!! :)

This one-page plan keeps you focused on the planning process which is so important to your business success.  It walks you through the main points of a multi-page (25+ pages) format, but gets your thoughts on paper quickly and in one place.

When I'm done with my business plan, I can see my full plan all on one sheet of paper! As I've mentioned previously, I'm very visual so this keeps all of my long-term goals and action steps in one place.   Then I pin it to my bulletin board and refer back to it often.  

I'll cross out information which did not happen as planned and pencil in the actual data -- then from that I project from that point forward as new tasks come to light.  

Here we're going to continue to discuss the free one-page template I've developed and used for years to plan my business as both a new venture and an ongoing business. 

Free Business Plan Template | Part 1 of 5 (Success Is . . .)

Home Based Business Plan | Part 2 of 5 (SWOT Analysis)

Small Business Plan Template | Part 3 of 5 (Resources)

Getting The Word Out!

My simple business plan template will help you think through what it will take to get the word out about your new business idea!! 

. . . You can have the greatest business idea in the world, but if nobody knows about your company or wants your product, your company will not survive!!  Lets dive in to some of the ways you can get the word out and how to include them in your business plan.

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Finding Customers?

Keep in mind, this is a general discussion to get you started thinking about your company's marketing efforts.  I subscribe to the theory that less is more -- especially when you're getting started with your business.

The simple approach I prefer is to have 3-5 lines in the water (much like fishing).  If you get much more than that going at one time, it can be overwhelming and you begin to get confused by your marketing efforts and lose site of the rest of your business.  

More is not always better. . . .

Plan your marketing, stick with your plan, measure what's working, and give it time to work.  Marketing is a "long-end game" -- plan for it to take time!

1.  Website

With the technology explosion, you have a variety of avenues to let your potential customers know you are open for business.  

A well planned website is a minimum for business online exposure and can help to drive people to your business. The thing to remember about your business website is you need to drive traffic to it -- how will you do this?  Your customers will not 'just find' your website once you put it out there . . . 

And, with all websites (especially web based businesses), it is important you utilize the power of "key words" and quality content to drive traffic to your web site.  Don't be intimidated by the technology. I can definitely recommend SBI! to help set up your business online -- see how I did it!  :)

2.  Social Media

Social media,(i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc), are fast becoming an effective marketing media to get the word out about business. 

Maybe you already are on Facebook and have a large following. You can add a business page to your Facebook account and invite your friends to follow information and promotional items about your business. 

This can be an inexpensive way to get the word out.   I read about a new mobile restaurant who moved their location each day -- the owners would tweet their new location to their customers each day so they could connect.  What an awesome use of Twitter!

3.  Other Online Resources


Most of us have had an opportunity to use free online marketing, such as Craigslist. This may be a great tool for your business to begin advertising your service and connect with people who need what you're providing.

These tools generally are free or have a minimal cost and are a good way to try out different marketing ideas to see what works!

Make sure to keep a record of any ideas you come up with on your simple business plan template so you can refer back to them as you're generating your marketing.

4.  Networking

Networking will always be an important part of the simple business plan template.  The cost of networking is usually minimal, but provides awesome results!

A good way to start networking is to write down a list of people you know both personally and professionally.

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Think about people who provide services to you. Your hair stylist/barber, your auto mechanic, your waitress/owner at your favorite local restaurant and pub. Then talk to them about your business, and always ask if they know of someone you should talk to about your product/service.

Also, attend professional networking functions where there are people or businesses who may be looking for your services or may know others who might need what you're offering!

Look in your local paper and online to find local or social networking groups for your industry or meeting your needs.  Local groups tend to meet for breakfast or lunch.

Determine which networking groups you'll join, write them down on your simple business plan template, budget an amount needed to join or for any meals, and start attending the networking groups regularly.  Think about local associations related to your business and attend their meetings. 

5.  Print Media

There are numerous ways to get the word out in print media. If you have a local business, this can be a great way to drive customers to your website or social media information by letting them know you're online. Again, write down any print media marketing you intend to do on your simple business plan template.

There are business card, newspapers, coupon services, flyers/brochures, magazines, and many other print type opportunities for your business. With all of the focus on online marketing today, don't forget these media may be a good (better?) way to spread the word about your particular business.  

Make sure to put business cards in your budget. There are various online resources which can provide very reasonable pricing to print your cards.  Vistaprint will provide you with 250 card free (but it does have their advertising on the cards -- which may or may not work for your needs). 

Who Is Your Market?

Another important part of "Getting The Word Out", is to determine who your market is:

  • Do you know who your market is? 
  • What are the demographics of your customers?
  • Is your market male, female, or both?
  • Do your customers own a home or are they renters?  Or does it matter to your business?
  • What are your customers' needs?
  • Do your customers use online queries to find services?
  • How will you satisfy your customers needs?

Write down the specifics in your simple business plan template. Determining what your target market looks like also helps you identify the specific media (3-5 lines) that will be most effective for getting your word out to your customers.

Locations?

Identifying the location is pretty simple for most of us.  If you have a local business, write down the specific area where you will work on your simple business plan template.  What are your boundaries -- how far are you willing to travel to get work (10 miles; 30 miles; 200 miles?) 

If you have more or a regional business, identify what that area looks like -- is it multi-state?   multi-city?  or along a well travelled highway corridor?  How far will you go to generate business?  And what are the costs associated with travelling this area?

Or do you have a global business?  Many online businesses now have a far-reaching global audience.   How does this impact your marketing and your approach to your business?  How do you interact from people from different countries you may not personally know about?   What are the costs associated with a global business?

These are terrific questions to ask yourself during the planning process so you can begin to think about the impact on your specific business idea.

Identify Your Top 3 Competitors
On The Simple Business Plan Template

Finally, I'll always want to figure out who my top (2-3) competitors are so I can determine what they are doing well, what they may not be doing as well, and the areas I can exceed my competitors and excel for my customers!

Jot down 2-3 competitors and some of your ideas on your simple business plan template. 

Determine if you're competing against local companies, such as another caterer or construction business.  Or is your market global because you have an online business? 

As you are thinking about your competition, ask yourself

What makes me and my business better, different than my competitors???

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This question will help you to narrow in on your business niche. I've talk a lot about finding your businesses niche -- when you can identify your niche (an area where your customers have a need you are uniquely qualified to satisfy) this provides you an awesome business idea for your successful business!  :)

A simple business plan template will walk you through who, when, where and how you will get your word out about your new business. 

Your marketing doesn't have to be expensive, but it does have to be consistent, focused and targeted so customers will be lining up at your door (or web site) or the phone (or email) will be "ringing off the hook". 

Business Ideas . . .

Home Based Business Ideas . . .

Simple Business Plan Template to Business Plan Templates . . .