A business plan is like a roadmap that guides you through starting your business and is a crucial tool for any entrepreneur. It helps you launch your business on the right foot and provides a blueprint for long-term success and growth. So, if you have a great business idea, starting with a solid business plan is the first step toward turning your dreams into reality! 

Here are a few tips to help you create a better business plan:

    1. Get to know your potential customer: Market research and analysis are crucial to understanding if there is a viable market for your goods or services. Before you get too far into the business planning process start with getting to know your potential customer. Learn their needs, their patterns, and their interests, and find out whatever you can about your target demographic. Of course, you can tackle some of this research on your own but the Wyoming SBDC Network Market Research Center will be your best resource for finding out the most information possible. 
    2. Define your value proposition: What makes your idea special? What makes you different from the rest? What problem are you trying to solve? Your value proposition should clearly communicate who you are and what your business does to your market and potential investors. 
    3. Figure Out Your Finances: Before you launch or even embark on the business plan process, you need to know where your finances stand. Do you have enough funds to launch your idea? Do you need investors or a loan? In addition to figuring out your personal finances, do your due diligence and work on some financial projections and goals for your future and determine if your business is truly viable. Explore some of our recorded webinars to build a strong financial foundation and work with your Wyoming SBDC Network advisor to develop projections that make sense for you. 
    4. Develop your operational plan: Your day-to-day operations will vary and likely change as you grow your business but starting with a clear idea of what you will be doing every day will help you create a foundation to build your business growth upon. Think about what positions you will need to fill right away, what will they contribute to your business? What will your role be and how will you perform your work? Take time to consider what your actual work will look like once your business has launched. 
    5. Create a cohesive marketing and sales strategy: You don’t have a business without sales! Develop your sales and marketing strategy for launching your goods and services. What sales channels will you be using? How will your communication methods reach your target audience? What’s your communication style and voice going to be like? This is the time to think outside the box and come up with methods to generate buzz around your business and in turn, generate sales! 

Your Wyoming SBDC Network advisor is your best resource when it comes to writing a cohesive business plan. Your advisor can provide you with business plan templates to help you get started, training opportunities to boost your knowledge, and one-on-one confidential advice that can help you take your small business idea from dream to reality. 

About the author: P.J. is a Wyoming native and is passionate about helping small business succeed. She has spent the majority of her career advising and advocating for small business in her roles at chambers of commerce and economic development organizations. She has a background in marketing, human resources, strategic planning, leadership, and management. She and her family enjoy the many outdoor recreational opportunities that living in this great state provides.

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