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The decision to start
a home business automatically activates your planning skills,
whether you realize it or not. And the more adept you are at
making plans, the better off your business will be.
by Lisa M. Roberts
Remember the moment you first found out
you were going to be a parent? Elation, anticipation, frenzy
-- all mingled together into a feeling that made you want to
shout with joy from the top of a mountain...or curl up with your
spouse in your own private world. Whatever your initial reaction,
one thing was for certain. Shortly after hearing the news, you
started making plans.
Well you might not feel quite
as ecstatic the moment you become an expectant home business
owner, but that moment will activate your planning skills, whether
you realize it or not. And the more adept you are at making plans,
the better off your business will be.
Just think how handy it would
have been the day your baby came home to have had a booklet already
written specifically about her, following your child's
needs all the way from infancy through adulthood. From the moment
she came under your care you would already know her sleep patterns,
feeding times and favorite lullaby. How much easier parenthood
would be if we all had such a resource!
While it's just not possible
to research, analyze and forecast the life of a human being before
she comes into the world, it is possible -- and very common
-- to do so for a business venture. It's called a Business
A Business Plan is:
- The collected result of all
your preliminary business research.
- A work in progress, through
periodic evaluations and revisions, throughout the life of your
A Business Plan will:
- Make life infinitely easier
for you and your business once it is underway.
- Guide you on your home business
journey and keep you on track when it swerves.
Preparing an effective business
plan should not double your preliminary efforts in launching
your business. It simply gives all your efforts a physical shape
in the form of a written document. A business plan is a customized
reference guide tailored to your venture that:
- Describes the services or products
of your business.
- Explains why it is needed and
who it will serve.
- Estimates upfront costs and
when to expect a profit.
- Identifies who will be involved
in the division of labor.
Down the road a business plan
can also serve as an example of your commitment that can be shown
to loan officers, investors, or a potential partner. Initially,
however, a business plan serves a simple purpose -- to gather
all your thoughts together in one place. You should develop
it at first for your eyes only (just to make certain they're
wide open as you proceed!).
Here's a brief outline of what's
needed (more detailed information is found in Lisa's
- Business Definition - A two to three sentence statement
of the products or services you intend to sell.
- Mission Statement - The goals of your business in relation
to the community at large.
- Market Analysis - The information you collected during
your market research, and the conclusions you came to.
- Competition - The information you discovered when
you scouted out the competition.
- Marketing Campaign - All the ways you plan to reach your
market and why you believe they will work.
- Business Set-Up - The route you will take to cover the
practical details of business set-up. (See the following section,
- Owner - Take the time here to pitch yourself to yourself
- reflect on your past resume and bring to surface all skills
and abilities that pertain to the business you have chosen, and
all personal traits that are relevant to business management.
In other words, if you were interviewing yourself, what would
you say to convince yourself that you are perfect for this job?
- Professional Support Team - Your lawyer, accountant, insurance
agent and anyone else you expect to hire to help manage your
- Business Outlook - Your hope for the business: what it's
going to look like this year, next year, in five years, in 10
years. How will your business mature and how long will it last?
(Some home-based entrepreneurs choose this work option for a
fixed number of years, either as a stepping stone or a bridge
in one's career.)
- Financial Projections - The numbers...added up.
- © 1997 Lisa M. Roberts, all rights reserved. The above article
is an excerpt from How
to Raise A Family & A Career Under One Roof: A Parent's Guide
to Home Business, a title highly recommended by La Leche
League, Home Office Computing and the Family Christian
your own copy today!