Who needs a business plan?
In the world of online business, many entrepreneurs are VERY hard workers and wonder why their efforts aren’t creating more success. They feel like they’re trying their hardest, but really not being rewarded. Why is this!?
We’ve all heard the infamous Benjamin Franklin quote,“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” And this is truer in business than just about anywhere else!
You need to have a plan of how you will achieve success, or else your chances of doing so are pretty slim.
What is a business plan?
Here’s what a business plan is NOT (or at least, what it doesn’t have to be): a 30-page document so dry you’ll fall asleep reading the third paragraph. I’ve written some of those. YES, they can be helpful — especially the writing process, because it really helps you to think through every aspect of your business.
However, in its essence, a business plan is simply this: a plan of how you will run your business and how you will make money. It could be scribbled on a napkin or you could tell it to your best friend over the phone. The format of your plan doesn’t matter, but the EXISTENCE of it does.
How to write a business plan
To create success for your internet business, you need three elements:
Having a plan for how you’ll create each of these elements will make it possible for you to find leads and turn them into paying customers. Because, ultimately, paying customers is what will determine if your business is successful.
Ultimately, the presence of paying customers is what will determine if your business is a success.
I created a free, PDF worksheet just to help you write your business plan in the easiest, most enjoyable way you could imagine. Click here to download it now and start planning! (It will literally only take you 15 minutes to complete.)
The first element of a successful business strategy is a plan of how you will attract traffic. Traffic to your website (or Facebook page, or Etsy shop, etc.) is where your leads will come from.
There are many different ways to drive traffic, such as:
- Networking on social media
- Creating content that drives organic search engine traffic
- Optimizing your website for search engines (SEO)
- Guest posting
- Pinning your content on Pinterest
- Creating content on Youtube, Instagram, a Podcast, or other platform and directing your audience to your site
- Local networking
This list could go on for a while! The main thing to remember is: you don’t need to do all these different things! It is actually much better to just choose a few of them that you enjoy doing and make sense for your business/industry. By focusing on just a few, you’ll be able to really create impact in those areas.
This is where the business plan comes in. Without a plan, you might try one strategy to drive traffic one week, and the next week you start trying something else. However, WITH a plan you intentionally and thoughtfully choose the BEST ways to drive traffic, and then you commit to consistently practicing those activities.
So, for example, your traffic strategy for your business plan might be:
Publish two blog posts each week, share them on facebook, instagram, and pin them on pinterest. Network on social media on topics that relate to the blog posts I write. Host one instagram giveaway each month.
That’s all your “traffic” section of your business plan needs to say!
Granted, you can flesh this out as much more as you would like to. You might include more details about exactly what articles you would write, which facebook groups you will network in, what time you’ll share your blog posts on social, or when you’ll share archived posts.
But don’t make this more complicated than it needs to be. Start super simple and use that first. You can add to it more later if you want to.
Once you get potential customers to your site, the next step is to build a RELATIONSHIP with them. Why? Because unless you build a relationship they will soon leave, forget about you, and never return — and THAT certainly isn’t going to make you any money.
To turn your visitors into customers you must first show them your value and attract them into wanting more, and then offer an easy way for them to stay connected with you.
You can show them your value in three ways: clearly explain what you have to offer, provide free content to give them a sample (and warm them up to you), and share about yourself to be relatable.
Humans are attracted to other humans who understand them and can help them.
Once your visitors are interested in forming a relationship with you, it’s important that you make it easy for them to do so. The most effective way for to have them connect with you is for them to join an email list, but you also could have them like your facebook page, or follow you on another social media platform.
Relationships are what truly convert your casual visitors into paying customers.
Did you download the biz plan worksheet yet? If not, click here to download it now and fill in your strategy for building relationships with your visitors!
So you’ve gotten them to your website and you’ve made them hungry… now you better have something to feed them!
So many online business owners struggle with the getting traffic and creating relationships — so much so that they never even get to the monetization part of the plan!
Your monetization plan is simply an answer to the question: What will your business do to make money?
There are so many possibilities! Here are some examples:
- Video training series
- Online courses
- Services (writing, web design, social media support, etc. etc.)
- Affiliate sales
- Advertising fees
- Physical products
- Digital templates
This list could be expanded indefinitely! Choose the ways to make money that make the most sense for your unique business.
If you haven’t started making money at all yet (or only very little), it’s best to just choose ONE specific plan for monetization and focus on that. As your business grows, you can add team members that will make it possible for you to monetize in many other ways (if you want to) while still staying sane.
How to Write a Business Plan (The Easy + Effective Way!)
“The Easiest Biz Plan Ever” is a free, four-page worksheet that I created to guide you through planning each of the three components of a successful online business. If you haven’t yet, download it now and discover what a huge difference a simple plan can make. You’ll finally have FOCUS in your business and will start seeing real results!