You have an idea for a business plan. Maybe you’ve even had the same idea for ten or more years. And you truly believe that your idea could eventually become a successful small business.
I remember hearing about a married couple with a constant stream of great business ideas. First, they wanted to own a pizza pub near a college campus. Then, they dreamed of a chicken farm where they could sell the high-quality, organic eggs. Again, they thought about building a small home on the back end of their property and renting the home to a family in need. Finally, they imagined opening up an ice-cream parlor on that same piece of open land.
However, never did this couple start a small business.
With the proper business plan, any and all of their ideas could have come to fruition. In fact, this couple might have been able to retire early and invest in kingdom causes that truly matter to them!
So, if you have a business idea, don’t let it sit in your iPad notes folder. Work through this list of questions and determine if your idea really is a good one. Then, start pursuing it!
18 Questions for Developing a Business Plan
- What problem does your business idea solve?
- If there a true need for this business? Or will you need to spend time differentiating yourself?
- Why is the problem important?
- What is your solution to this problem? (Be specific!)
- Describe your product or service in two or three sentences. Put it in terms anybody could understand.
- What is your value proposition?
- Why is your value proposition important to the customer?
- Is your value proposition a nice-to-have or a need-to-have?
- Who are your competitors? Name at least 3 to 5!
- What do your competitors sell, and how does it compete against you?
- How will you differentiate your product?
- Describe how your product or service differs from the competition. (Price alone is not enough!)
- How large is this market?
- Who is your target customer?
- What is your go-to market strategy and pricing model?
- Describe your pricing model.
- How do you intend to market your product or service?
- What will your organization look like? Consider your staffing needs at the end of a full year of operation.
After spending time working through this list of questions (be as detailed as you can possibly be!), there are two other steps I’d recommend taking before you invest in starting your small business.
Two Extra Steps Before Starting
First, write out a 3-year financial projection. Consider revenue and revenue sources, expenses, and gross profit. Be honest with yourself: after looking at the three-year projection, does the business idea still excite and motivate you?
Then, pray about your idea before ever taking one step forward. If God is not the King of your decision – and if He doesn’t remain King over your business for its entire existence – then it’s not an idea worth pursuing. Remember, you cannot serve both God and money. So, pray about God’s plan for your idea. Then, when you feel peaceful about pursuing it, start to take those steps.
Don’t let your ideas dwindle and die.
Like I say in my book, “Take action. Some of the best ideas in the world are still in somebody’s notebook or iPad somewhere.”
Have a small business idea? As tame or wild as it may be, I want to hear it! Share with me in the comments.