Although it has undergone many changes, the commerce plan is still in circulation. No longer limited to the traditional 12-15 page written document, a commerce plan can be exciting and engaging as well as useful. Many of us realize that it is the planning process and the associated research and the search for the soul, which is so precious. The finished plan is just the icing on the cake.
Just as there are many types of entrepreneurs and commerce ideas there are many types of commerce plans. Here are three that deserve special attention.
The "Accidental Entrepreneur" plan:
Believe it or not, it happens fairly often. An impulse, a hobby or a notion of passage turns into a commerce without warning. One day you will deliver to your neighbors the additional tomatoes on the back or the homemade cake and, before you know it, you are filling out the forms for a stand at the local farmer's market. possibly you create a unique piece of handmade jewelry and wear it at school or at work, and then find your phone full of messages like "Where can I get one?" and "I'll pay you to make one for me".
When you are writing a commerce plan in a situation like this, you have to face some problems that the intentional entrepreneur has already considered. The first is that you really want this idea to become a full-blown commerce? Surely it is flattering when you realize that there is a market value for something you were doing besides, but that does not always mean that you have to start an activity. Many accidental activities are formed around fashions or seasonal items, and may not be solid enough to function as businesses for the whole year, making money.
Next you will have to carefully examine what actually happens in your offer. How many hours does it take to create those unique bracelets? How much does it cost to cook a dozen special cookies? How much research goes into "mounting" a website? Making fabric goods requires space. Do you have room to grow enough pumpkins to actually make profits? Are these numbers that you could support over the occasional personal or family use of your product or service?
The commerce planning process can be of great help to "casual entrepreneurs" as it allows you to decide which ideas are best left as a hobby and which ones could supply a real cash flow.
The "Back of a serviette" plan:
It is the source of legend and entrepreneurial tradition, the million-dollar idea that was hastily scrawled on a bar serviette. Yet for most potential entrepreneurs this option for commerce planning remains a fantasy. However, like any myth, there is a small grain of truth inside. A fast company profile can work as a launch plan in the right circumstances.
whether you need to start quickly riding the wave of a fad before it goes on fire, then a quick and stripped planning might be all you have time to perform. It works best when you have already installed the infrastructure, perhaps from preceding projects or from a consolidated commerce, and you can simply transfer energy and resources to the new idea.
When you and your partners, whether any, have all the basic skills and commerce knowledge needed to get started right absent without looking for experts, the serviette notes might be enough to get you started. Let's say you're already a technology and social media expert. So you and your team probably don't need a detailed plan to start developing a new app. You will draw on your knowledge and experience and you will understand that you may have to go back and make a more detailed and formal planning later.
Surely when you reach the point where you are looking for investors or lenders, you will go beyond those first random notes. Until then, drawing on your experience you can afford to quickly enter the market and possibly gain a competitive advantage by using a minimalist plan.
The "One urgent Issue" plan:
commerce planning does not stop the day you open your commerce. In the best circumstances, you should review your plan once or twice a year to see how things are going, and where you may have moved your initial goals. Remember, changing the direction of a company is not always poor, but it should be intentional.
Then there are the moments when something seems to go wrong, when one or more areas of the company seem not to work. The cash flow is anemic or the marketing message is flat. Perhaps customers have shown considerable interest in just one product or service, ignoring all other offers. This means that it is time to revisit your commerce plan, more precisely it is time to revisit the application process that helped you create your plan.
Look at the assumptions you made in your original plan. Has the city followed the opening of the new park in front of your location? Were the insurance rates the ones you expected? How many hours of assistance for accounting or web design do you really need? Do your on the web requests exceed your face-to-face sales? Or viceversa?
Sometimes it doesn't matter how much you are researching, planning or testing, things don't go as planned in a company. This is not necessarily a herald of bankruptcy or a sign that you are not cut out for entrepreneurship. Life and the market are both unpredictable and the plans must be fluid and responsive. The "One urgent Issue Plan" is simply a reflection of a normal evaluation process.
As I continue to recommend the commerce planning process, I warn you to understand that a well-crafted document does not always equate to commerce success. I have worked with many entrepreneurs who have successfully launched without a plan and some with beautifully written plans that have never materialized. You and your commerce idea are unique. Your planning process will also be unique. Be wary of the advice or statements of all experts on how you should proceed.
By Karen Southall Watts