A business plan serves as your map through an entirely new landscape. Through a formal plan, you give yourself the structure to set your sights high and formalize the practical goals that will inform your business.
These four steps can help you to narrow in on your mission, aspirations, and target income to realize a fulfilling future turning what you love into a viable business:
1. Develop A Mission Statement
A strong mission statement sets you apart from a sea of others by declaring your values and purpose as a new business. Start by jotting down the different ways you plan to serve your clients, and eventually, solidify the mission statement in two or three sentences that sum up the value of your business.
This process forces you to articulate your strengths and gives you an elevator pitch during important conversations. Also, consider placing a mission statement on your website and using it during negotiations with prospective clients.
2. Write Down Your Goals
Many people usually go independently or start their own business to pursue personal and professional goals on their own terms. This extra dose of autonomy means that they need to be more intentional about goal setting to ensure long-term career progress. Practice developing monthly and yearly benchmarks for every aspect of your business.
Although some people may shy away from including personal goals in a business plan, I add a few every year. For example, I added “resources for travel” as a goal in my business plan because it’s an essential part of my life as an entrepreneur— I want to make sure I plan ahead for it.
3. Target An Ideal Income
A lot of folks striking out on their own start thinking about what’s realistic in terms of revenue before they imagine their ideal income. But understanding your preferred income helps you to maximize your time and determine your pricing. When you make your calculation, note that you need to pay higher taxes and benefits out of your own pocket. A net revenue ultimately should be much higher than your target income to keep you covered.
4. Connect Your Skills to Demand
Do some research to identify the best market for your services, and assess rates that help you meet your business and personal goals as well as your target income. If you need help figuring out rates, try to connect with a local community of entrepreneurs and business owners and ask for candid advice.
You may be surprised if, after some digging, you move into a different sector than you originally anticipated. When I started writing full-time, I didn’t realize how much work I would find creating content for an audience of freelancers. With a little research, my next steps became clearer, charting a path toward more lucrative gigs for the following year. This can apply to all types of industries from photography, music, consulting, and personal training, just to name a few.
Without direction, it’s impossible for you to create a sound basis for your work. Get started with a business plan today to maximize your potential!
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