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Start Your Online Business with a Written Business Plan

April 29, 2011 By: Yvonne A Jones Category: Uncategorized

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

The above quote may be regarded by some as a cliché, but it is also a very true statement.

You’ve decided to start your own online business and may fall into one of these categories:

  • You’re brand new to starting a business
  • You’re brand new to starting on online business
  • You have an offline business but want to build an online presence in order to attract more clients or customers

What You Have in Common

The common denominator  for all three groups is that in order to reach your goals and experience success, you must have a plan in writing or a blueprint for your business.

Value of a Plan

Having a written business plan or a blueprint gives you focus, allows you to create momentum, and create direction in your business.  It will allow you to keep your business on track by providing ways to identify your goals and the strategies you’ll need to implement in order to reach your goals.

A business plan, properly executed, will allow you to identify your business strengths and weaknesses.

It’s important to note that as you gain more knowledge and understanding of what is involved in having an online business, your needs for your business may change or grow.  As a result, you may need to make changes to your original business plan for the success of your online business.  If you’ve already started your online  business without a written business plan, it’s time to go back and do it.  It’s worth the effort to do so.

In my next post I’ll expand on how to set up your business plan. In the meantime, I invite you to visit and claim a copy of my Checklist on getting your online business started in 72 hours or less.

18 Comments to “Start Your Online Business with a Written Business Plan”

  1. Many people feel that a business plan is not warranted. They feel it’s a great deal of work. Baloney!
    I just participated in a discussion of this exact matter on LinkedIn ( I will repeat my last comments here:

    But, the fact that a business plan becomes outdated in a year is NOT a problem. It’s a badge of honor. When we were running our medical device manufacturing company, we planned. If the plan was outdated in a year, it meant we exceeded our objectives! And, we were thrilled that we averaged 1.2 plans a year. No, we did not slave over them for six months (obviously, we were too obsessed with building and managing our business). But, they were vital for our regional managers and new employees to understand what was expected, what the history was, and what our values were!
    The key is to make the plan USEFUL, not cosmetic or worthy of a trophy at an MBA convention. (I would venture to say ours were, but some of us had the writing gift, so it was not quite the burden.)

  2. I used to fight having a plan. I thought I could just wing it. WRONG! A plan let’s you know where you are headed and if you are on the right track. I adore my plan now! Am looking forward to the rest of your series 🙂

  3. Roberta Budvietas, says:

    A plan gives you your thinking but one thing – a plan needs to be kept alive (its why I like mindmaps for the words) and spreadsheets for the numbers with actuals against the forecasts

  4. Leanne Chesser says:

    I absolutely know the value of having a plan . . . and one that’s written down. I agree with Martha. It’s important to have a vision and a plan to get there. It lets us see where we’re headed and how we’re going to get there and it keeps us on track.

  5. Very comprehensive comments, Roy. Thank you. Many small business owners feel that it’s not necessary, but we have to remember that we are just small organizations where we wear many hats. The value to your larger organization was clear; the value to us can be just as effective. We just have to do it.

  6. I can relate, Martha, as I felt the same way. In fact, it was not until about a year after I started my online business that I created a plan…and you know what, it was until a year after I started my online business that I began to see progress and growth. They do go hand in hand.

  7. That’s great that you use different methods, Roberta. Like you lots of people love mindmaps and find them very effective. I can tell you are a detailed person who likes numbers and stats 🙂 Very effective to know where you are and where changes need to be made.

  8. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Leanne. Perhaps it’s safe to say that without a written business plan you’d not be able to share so much valuable information with the Work-at-Home community as you currently do…and we appreciate it 🙂

  9. Samantha Bangayan says:

    A plan is so easily overlooked, Yvonne! Thank you for this post! I just started freelance writing seriously this year and I know that I’m just riding the waves where they take me. If I had a plan, I could make this business grow threefold! Looking forward to your next post and glad we’re in touch through the TLC group. =)

  10. Diana Simon says:

    Hi Yvonne, I am working on my plan. The quote is dead on because it doesn’t matter what you do, a plan is essential. I have started a blogging plan and see how much easier it is for me to blog consistently.

    Like Martha, I was fighting a plan and always made the excuse that I didn’t have time. What’s strange is that when you still down and plan, you actually become more efficient and save more time.

    I hope to get my written business plan all done by the middle of May. A bit late but better late than never 🙂

    Thanks for this reminder!

  11. Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur says:

    Good stuff, Yvonne!

    I would love to see you craft a post all about what happens when you don’t have a business plan. Maybe some of your readers can contribute by sharing their own personal stories or those of their clients And I bet those stories would be pretty juicy!

    In general, writing things down in life matters and it makes a huge difference in how your life will flow. Ever head off to the grocery store without a list? Ever join a month-long blogging challenge with nothing noted on your editorial calendar?

    Developing a “plan” for almost anything sounds like a lot of work on the outset. But, in fact, it makes your life (and your business) a whole lot easier.

    And after you write out Plan A, be sure to get busy writing out Plan B — just in case Plan A doesn’t go according to plan. 🙂

  12. Lynn Brown says:

    Yvonne you provide good information and advice on having a business plan. When I started as an independant contractor in the financial lending industry, I remember my boss telling me I had to write a business plan. I thought that was funny because I didn’t have a business. But he pointed out that I make decisions to work hard or not to earn my commission only pay. He was right. I needed a plan to increase my income each and every year. Business plans can be that ‘carrot in front of the horses nose’ to keep you energize and moving forward.

    Appreciate you sharing this information on a very important topic.

  13. The great thing though, Samantha, is that you’ve identified the need and it’s not too late. You can do it and it saves so much time because you know what you should do, and can evaluate where you are in relation to where you want to be. I’m glad we’re now connected in multiple places. 🙂

  14. Diana, it’s never too late! As you noted we just save ourselves a lot of unnecessary stress when we have a written plan. All the best in getting it down by the middle of May. Perhaps we can visit this topic again in 3 months and you share the difference having a written plan has made for you? 🙂

  15. That’s a great idea, Melanie! Perhaps we could collaborate on that and turn it into a report or an ebook because I believe that one of the reasons most entrepreneurs don’t have a written plan is that they don’t know how to do it, what to include, as they’re visualizing a 20 or more page document.

    The comparison to not having a grocery list is a good one. Budget on one hand; no grocery list on the other. Purchase what you don’t need and leave what you intended to while spending more than you should have. Same is true without a written plan. We don’t have a path to follow.

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Melanie.

  16. Lynn, I love that statement, “Business plans can be that ‘carrot in front of the horses nose’ to keep you energize and moving forward.” and you will probably see in it one of my future posts of this topic because it creates a word picture that I believe many who think it’s not really necessary to have a written plan will relate to.

    Great testimonial to the power of a written business plan. Thanks.

  17. Columbia Jones says:

    Excellent post Yvonne! It reminds me to get out the plan, dust it off and update it. I haven’t done that lately. Very wise advice here.

    Thanks for this timely reminder.

  18. I’m glad it served as a reminder, Columbia. I’m not surprised that a sharp business woman like you already has a Business Plan. We definitely have to re-visit it from time to time. Thanks for sharing 🙂


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