I’ve finally finished writing a business plan after 6 years of part-time freelancing. I felt like it was time to get more serious and put a better plan into action going into 2017. When I first started LR Design & Marketing in 2010, I never thought I would need a business plan. I thought they were more for start-up companies that were looking for funding or huge companies that needed fancy reporting to present to their board of directors. Turns out, if I want to be successful freelancing in the long-term, I need to put my ideas, goals, and strategies down on paper and start sticking to it.
When I first decided to write a business plan, I started where anyone would… Google! “What is a business plan?” “What should be included?” After doing some research, I found out that a business plan is whatever you want it to be. Sure, there are a few standards such as a mission statement, financial objectives, and marketing strategies, but you can include whatever is relevant to your business and how you plan to make it successful. Here’s what I included in my plan:
Executive Summary– Highlights of the past few years, my objectives, a mission statement, and the keys (as I see it) to success.
Description of Business– Company ownership, location, hours, services, management, and financial overview.
Marketing- Market analysis, segmentation, competition, and pricing
Strategies & Implementation– A timeline of milestones and goals
I took about 4 weeks to thoroughly think about where I want my business to be in one year, 5 years, and to completely write my business plan. This process made me take a step back and evaluate how successful (and not) the past 6 have been. Here’s what I’ve learned from completing my first business plan:
- Writing 14 pages of detailed information is hard work, and time consuming
- I’ve finally defined my target audience
- It feels good to have goals in place and monthly milestones to meet
- It’s important to have a pricing structure- who knew?
- Setting high expectations is scary and very exciting
The ultimate reason I wrote a business plan for 2017 is because I want to grow my freelancing career. Establishing strategies and allocating resources according to a strategic priority will help me get the business from where it is now, to where I want it to be in the future. It’s an exciting time for LR Design & Marketing, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds!
I encourage you to take some time and think about your business goals and put them down onto paper. Never stop trying to turn your dreams into reality! Ready to start your own business? Let’s chat about your brand and website needs today.