QUESTION: I have been encouraged to develop a detailed business plan for a new business I am considering. The plans I found online are quite detailed. Is there a more user-friendly way to solve the main problems I will encounter?
ANSWER: I’m not normally one to encourage shortcuts. But the SCORE organization has developed a one-page business template that helps you answer the critical questions facing a startup business.
Essentially, your business model is the structure with which you will market your product or service and earn profits. This leads you to answer questions such as who are your typical customers and how will you contact them? Who are your competitors and how much can you charge for your product or service?
Answering the following questions can help you begin to crystallize your thoughts on your business model and if, after careful consideration, you are confident moving forward, your SCORE advisor can help you develop a formal, more detailed plan .
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- Do you have the funds to cover your start-up costs, and will your monthly cash flow be enough to cover your running costs until you break even?
- Who are your target customers and what value will you bring them?
- How will you reach your customers? What is your marketing strategy? How much will it cost?
- What is your e-commerce strategy and what role will it play in your business?
- Who is your competitor and how will you compete? What are your competitive advantages?
- How much are your customers willing to pay for the value you provide? What are they currently paying and what are your pricing tactics?
- What resources are needed to produce your product or service, deliver it to market, and make a profit? What infrastructure will it take to do this?
- Do you have a team in place including a lawyer, an accountant and an insurance agent?
The Richmond SCORE Chapter is offering a webinar titled “Imagine Your Success with a One-Page Business Model” on October 4 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. via Zoom. To register, log on to richmond.score.org/event/one-page-business-plan-workshop-2.
SCORE also offers online resources such as a Startup Business Plan Outline, Sales and Marketing Templates, and Financial Projection Spreadsheets. Log on to richmond.score.org/resource/business-planning-financial-statements-template-gallery to access it.
Gray Poehler volunteers with the Richmond chapter of SCORE, Counselors to America’s Small Business. To ask a question or seek free, confidential business advice, visit richmond.score.org/mentors. Learn more about SCORE’s workshops on the website or by calling (804) 350-3569.