When I started working on All The Things I Do, two years ago I did not even think about creating a business plan. My plan was simple; I’d start a blog, people would flock to it because of my witty humor and fascinating tales of a twenty-something and marketers would throw money at me for ad space. Yeah, I obviously had it all figured out. NOT! I quickly learned after I started working with ad companies that it would take about a million page views to even make enough money to fund my TGIT wine habit. Even at 30,000+ pageviews, a month ads make up about $70 of income a month. As I learned more about the world of blogging and what I wanted to bring to it, I knew I needed a plan. If you’re still on the fence about whether your online business or blog needs a business plan here are a few reasons why you need a business plan.
Yes, Your Blog or Online Biz Needs a Business Plan
You Hope To Make A Regular Income From It
Even if you only hope to make a little mad money on the side from your online presence a business plan is an excellent way to make it happen. I’m all about setting goals and making a plan for them. I’ll use one of my favorite examples, losing weight. If you want to lose weight and you say, “I’m going to lose weight by getting healthier,” you do not have a game plan. You have a nice thought and a vague statement. If you want to sell customized quilts online and say, “I’m going to sell my quilts online and make money.” It’s the same.
A business plan is like saying, “I’m going to lose 15 pounds by eating 1200 calories a day and working out four days a week with a trainer.” It’s a clear plan with a clear goal.
Have Realistic Expectations
You know you want to sell your custom quilts online and that you can usually finish one in two weeks. If you plan to sell them at $89.00 a quilt and it takes you two weeks to make one, having a revenue goal of $500 a month is very unlikely, even without adding in the cost of materials.
You can set realistic goals for the time and money you have to work on the business. If it takes $15 in fabric and other materials to make a quilt on average, then your profit per quilt is only $74. Does the $89 include shipping or will that be an additional fee? These are things your business plan will help you plan for.
A lot of the frustration that comes with starting something new comes from a lack of clarity and that lack of clarity lead be overwhelming.
Have you ever sat down to do something seemingly simple and found that you got nowhere because you weren’t sure the steps of doing it? Building your online business can be like that. It’s easy to let that fear you might screw up stop you in your tracks. Personally, if I have a plan or guidelines, my fear of screwing up is greatly lowered.
It also helps you know what is in your reach. Do you plan to hire help?
Now that you know the average cost of supplies are you going to require payment upfront? Are you going to charge a cancellation fee for canceled orders to cover time invested and materials?
Figure Out Marketing
When you purposely think of how you plan to market your business, you will find yourself coming up with more ideas to market it. Yes, a website is nice but are you going to write blog posts with D.I.Y tips? Do you plan to go to local events to advertise your business? Are their local trade shows you can go to?
You will be able to plan ahead for any special seasons where your service or product might be popular. Do you want to do ads in the late Fall for all the people who might want to purchase quilts as Christmas presents?
Mark Your Progress and Re-strategize
Like with goals, having an idea of what you want out of our business is wonderful but being able to measure those goals and the activities you do to accomplish them is what makes them work. When you have custom and personalized business plan you can sit down regularly and evaluate which activities are working and which aren’t.
Are you limiting yourself using a certain carrier? Should you shop around for fabric suppliers? If you create your business plan for Awesome Quilts Online, and 2 months later review it you may notice that the money you spent on that trade show fee actually only returned 3% in revenue and 4 orders, while attending meetings of local sororities and offering your services was a free investment and earned you 10 orders. This allows you to refocus your energy instead of doing the same limiting or unsatisfactory methods of marketing or business operations.
Are you ready to start your business plan? I’ve created a free email challenge with templates to help you get through it. In less than half an hour a day, you can have a business plan ready in less than a week to help you grow your online business and figure out your mission.
Go ahead and sign up below and I can’t wait to see you in the challenge!