You’ve done it: You’ve perfected the formula for a new product, you’ve created that product, packaged it, and launched it into the wide world of CPG.
It’s hard to move a business forward if your strategy is simply to take things as they happen. Rather than being reactive, be proactive in growing your business. And that starts with writing a business plan.
You know your business best, and you know the end goal you’re aiming for with your product and your company. That end goal can be anything—growing the business to a certain point before selling it. Expanding it slowly but surely and passing it on to your kids. Using it as the product that launched a thousand businesses. Whatever the outcome you seek, having a plan in place will help you get there.
Writing a business plan might sound complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Let’s look at four key elements that will help get your plan rolling on the path to success.*
1. Overview & Objectives
Are you running your business part-time, but want it to be your full-time gig? Are your products in a few regional stores but you’d like them to go national? International? Are you spending too much on packaging? Are you spending too little on quality ingredients? Who is your target consumer?
Before your business can go anywhere, you have to know where it is. A deep, realistic look at your current situation, and all the smaller cogs it consists of is necessary. You want to start your growth on solid footing, and understanding the unvarnished truth about your capabilities is the first step. From there, you can more easily determine the steps you need to get to your goal.
Once you have a realistic, honest overview of your business’s current status, and a vision of the future, take a look around and identify those opportunities that will help you achieve your goals. Consider, for example:
- Is there a new audience you can tap?
- Can you engage a new region?
- What collaborations are available that align with your business?
- Do you need to revamp your packaging?
- Does your assortment need an overhaul?
These are just a handful of possible opportunities that can pave the road to your goals. Carefully evaluate the opportunities that are right for your product and your business, and to open up new avenues to success.
You know where you are, where you want to go, and the steps you need to take to get you there. But who’s going to execute the plan?
As a business owner, you’ll obviously play a role in furthering your business. But be honest—do you have the time to do all the tasks you’ve outlined? Or, as the owner, would your time be better spent elsewhere?
Adding employees to your staff, whether on a part-time, full-time or seasonal basis can be crucial to your success—and for keeping you sane in the process. What can you outsource? Where are your weaknesses? What are the tasks you avoid? Identifying these concerns and if and when you’ll be able to hire the people needed to execute on these responsibilities are essential for staying on track.
4. Cost and Finances
You know where you want to go, and now, with your business plan set, you know how you’re going to get there. But how are you going to pay for it? Growing a business isn’t free—there are employees to pay, ingredients and supplies to buy, and other overhead to account for. And at some point, you’re going to want to draw your own salary for your efforts.
Understanding how much that is going to cost, and more important, how you’re going to pay for it, will help shape the success of your overall plan and provide a level of stability for your business.
Creating a business plan is a needed first step when building your business. It creates not only a strong foundation upon which to grow, but also provides a clear roadmap of the opportunities ahead of you, as well as identifying potential challenges you may encounter. Keep these four key elements in mind when writing the plan that works best for your business.
*Of course, you can expand on your plan however you see fit.
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