Planning is an essential part of owning your business. You should always have a strong plan set up for where you are now, and how far you would like to take things down the road. Here are a few tips on how to start a business plan:
Write down your plans
Even long-established companies have a plan that outlines their market, products and objectives. If you’re not sure where to start – try using a business plan template from a quick online search as an outline. Here is a great place to find a simple one-page business plan, and other resources. Success begins by first determining what it is you want.
This business plan is the roadmap to your success. It is a constantly evolving document that projects several years ahead, and outlines the route your company intends to take in order to grow. A well thought out plan also helps you to step back and think objectively about the key elements of your business venture, and informs your decision-making. A business plan is about results, what you want to do and how to achieve your goals.
You can use this plan as a foundation to branch off from, and then update it each year you’re in business.
Develop business goals, and visit them periodically
Entering into business without clearly stated development goals could cause failure. Since most new businesses go under within the first 18 months of starting, it’s vital to have these goals set up ahead of time. Many businesses have learned this the hard way.
There are two simple but important business development goals to set for your firm each year. The first is the number of new clients you are targeting for the year, and the second is the income you would like those clients to bring you.
Estimate taxes based on current revenue
Tax planning may not be the most exciting part of owning a business, but down the road it can help you save a lot of money!
"Starry-eyed entrepreneurs who skip planning could get caught in the taxman's net," said Daniel D. Morris, a partner at the accounting firm Morris & D'Angelo (Los Angeles Times, 2010). Some new business owners don't realize they may have to file a tax return, even if they haven’t even made anything in revenue yet or started formal operations.
Many new business owners also put off taxes because they are daunted by trying to get their products or services to market. About one-third of the start-ups Daniel D. Morris sees in his practice wait to become clients until after the tax year ends, giving them fewer options to cut their tax bills.
Putting off your taxes can also mean fewer deductions on business expenses, which can be a great way to save money on your tax return.
Don’t try to do everything yourself – delegate!
The inability or unwillingness to delegate has led to the downfall of many business professionals and owners, regardless of the company’s size or revenue. It is impossible to do everything yourself at the highest possible quality. No matter how passionate you are about the business that you run, there are many tasks to keep it running including: marketing and advertising (to get clients to see your product), accounting and finance (for taxes and bookkeeping), sales (to actually get clients to use your business or product), etc. But the good news is, you don’t have to do everything yourself as there are many companies out there to help!
Delegating work means you’re giving someone else the responsibility and authority to do something that is normally part of your job. Far from relinquishing control of your business, empowering the experts to make decisions can help lead your business more in the direction of your goals.
ATBS specializes in the trucking industry, and can be an extension of your core team by handling your taxes, accounting and business services needs. As a business owner, it is necessary to not let yourself get bogged down with the daily management of paperwork. Following these steps can help you create a firm plan for your business, and lead you to a long-term successful future!