Simple business plan: 7-step guide to starting a business

Simple business plan: 7-step guide to starting a business

In order to start a business that thrives, you need a simple business plan that will set you up for success.

Do you want to start a business that is financially stable and gives you the freedom to live on your own terms?

Do you lack a clear business purpose or process — or are self-limiting habits stopping you from making progress?

If so, then you need to streamline your efforts with a simple business plan.

Reprinted with permission, a business coach provides a 7-step guide to developing a business plan that will set you up for success.

Read on plus learn how to access the free business plan template.

Simple business plan contents

  1. Preparation and intention: developing a growth mindset

  2. Persona and focus area: attracting your perfect customers

  3. Positioning: creating a unique value proposition (USP)

  4. Product strategy: creating high value products and services

  5. Pricing strategy: pricing your products and services

  6. Presence and presentation: branding your business

  7. Promotional plan: marketing your business

    Bonus: Access the entire series plus free business plan template

Simple business plan: 7-step guide to starting a business

Preparation and intention: developing a growth mindset

At the core of any successful business is a clear vision about what exactly you want:

  • what you want to create

  • the compensation you desire in return for the value you add, and

  • how exactly you will make it all happen

For independent business owners this is especially important because there's likely no clean divide between your personal life and business life.

In fact, your personal goals, ideas, and talents likely inspired you to start a business in the first place. 

Personal growth and business growth go hand-in-hand and starting a successful business requires developing the right mindset — a growth mindset. 

A growth mindset is an underlying system of positive beliefs about your ability to develop and succeed.

This type of mindset puts you in the best position to create a clear business vision or purpose, chart a set path or process to achieving it, and overcome any obstacles that stunt your progress.

Learn more about how to develop a growth mindset

Simple business plan: 7-step guide to starting a business

Persona and focus area: attracting your perfect customers

Entrepreneurs should be very specific about who they are and who they want to serve with their work.

This clarity will draw you to your perfect customer and them to you. 

Your perfect customer is the one whose needs and wants are aligned with your purpose, what you want to create, and the value you want to add — the one who you know your business can deliver outstanding results for. 

With a perfect customer in mind you’ll be able to build a persona — a detailed representation of this person that will help you get better at attracting and adding the most value to them.

If you are spending a disproportionate amount of time and effort trying to find customers for your business to no avail, it is likely because you've missed this key step. 

Clarifying who is the best fit for you and luring them in is a more effortless way to grow a thriving business than desperately running after ill-fitted customers who won't be loyal to you or evolve your business over the long run.

Learn more about how to attract the perfect customers.  

Simple business plan: 7-step guide to starting a business

Positioning: creating a unique value proposition (USP)

With a clear understanding of your perfect customer, you can start to refine your approach and flush out how you can uniquely add value.

At this stage in the business plan you are ready to define your USP (unique selling proposition).

The key here is to develop a laser sharp vision of who you are, what you offer, and how it differentiates from other peers in your field.

In other words you need to answer for yourself what every customer will be thinking before they decide to support you: why you?

This is why it’s so important to have a persona — you simply can’t be everything to everyone.

The USP forces you to take a stance and will result in succinct messaging that resonates with your target.

Learn more about how to develop a unique selling proposition.

Simple business plan: 7-step guide to starting a business

Product strategy: creating high value products and services

So now you know what value you add and to whom. What's next?

You can begin to think about about the best way to deliver that value for maximum affect.

This is your business model and the key to your ability to make money. 

In this step of the plan you should refine your model and carefully craft your products or services accordingly. 

Having a few options available in terms of how you deliver value also helps diversify your income.

Options give your customers choice and help you extend your resources. 

Most important is that you figure out what types of products and services work best in solving your customers' needs so they deeply value your work and keep coming back for more.  

Learn more about how to create valuable products. 

Simple business plan: 7-step guide to starting a business

Pricing strategy: pricing your products and services

With your products and services in place you can walk through a pricing exercise to determine your rates.

There are a few elements that go into pricing but the three most important to consider are:

  • your personal income needs and goals

  • what the market is for comparable products and services

  • what your perfect customers are able and willing to pay

You may have to do a bit of research and surveying but it shouldn't be difficult coming up with baseline figures that support your business model (i.e. the ability to cover your expenses and be profitable). 

On top of those baseline figures you should think long and hard about the value you are adding to ensure you do don't underestimate your worth.

From many entrepreneurs, the big issue isn't overpricing but devaluing your offering and making it available for much lower than what it could actually demand. 

You can't serve your customers if you can't support yourself which is one of the reasons why correct pricing is so important.

You should determine an exact figure for what you need to survive and thrive as a business owner and create and price your work accordingly.  

Learn more about how to price your products. 

Simple business plan: 7-step guide to starting a business

Presence and presentation: branding your business

Depending on your market, branding ms be one of the most important contributors to your success as an entrepreneur.

No matter if you are an entrepreneur, freelancer, small business owner or coach, branding will help you:

  • build your digital presence and online reputation

  • establish credibility and thought leadership in your field

  • be the face and voice of your business

  • and much more

Oddly, there is no consensus when it comes to what branding is, why it’s important, and how to do it right.

Some perceive branding as a nice-to-have exercise but not really something you need to devote much time or energy to in the grand scheme of things.

Others deem it as important but place it squarely in the “design” category and completely disregard the need for strategy.   

There are many misunderstandings and misconceptions that prevail as it pertains to branding.

It's important to dispel these myths and gain a complete picture of how you want your perfect customers to perceive so you don’t downplay or mismanage a process that can catapult your business to success.

Learn more about how to brand your business

Simple business plan: 7-step guide to starting a business

Promotional plan: marketing your business

With almost all the important elements of your business in place, last but certainly not least is your marketing plan.

You can't just build and expect people to come. You've got to put a mechanism in place that helps you lure your perfect customers.

There are no shortage of marketing tactics but not all of them are right for you and your effort is best spent focusing on only one or two at a time. 

For brand new entrepreneurs tapping into your existing network is a great way to start getting business, while more established entrepreneurs can amplify word of mouth through a referral program.

However, for all entrepreneurs — new and established — you must have a sales funnels.

This is one of the most powerful promotional methods for capturing and nurturing leads.

Learn more about how to market your business.

Access the entire series plus free business plan template

Read the original article to get the full series plus access the free business plan template.

Images via Unsplash.