Don’t use your personal FB for a business
Always use a Facebook Business Page for your business. This will allow you to add editors to the page (other members of staff) to help with posts and engagement.
Use branded images for the page identity
Use your logo on a plain or textured background for your profile picture. For the cover photo, use an engaging, high quality image with high impact. A simple slogan looks good, but just check it is not cropped off when viewing on a mobile.
Add an engagement button to your page
Did you know you can add a button to your Facebook page, such as, ‘Sign up’, ‘Send us a message’, ‘Call us’ or ‘Book now’. You can even add any link to your website. For example, you could add a ‘Shop now’ button and send customers to your website shop page.
Complete your business information
Add ‘About’ section information, verify the page, add a @username, create a story, add your website, add your email address, add your telephone number and any other information you think will be useful on the ‘About’ section. If you change your page template, you will have different options.
Always add visual interest to your post
Videos are gold dust, try and add a video at least once a month to your Facebook page, ideally one that has been professionally created. All other posts should contain a professional image or a link that automatically assigns a professional image. Do not use poor quality images.
Schedule posts in advance
Did you know you can write a post and schedule it to be posted at a later date or time? Instead of clicking the ‘Publish’ button, just click the option arrow next to the ‘Publish’ button and select a date and time. A little research will tell you when it the bext time to get the most traffic.
Boost your posts
Choose the right posts to boost that will bring a targeted boost of followers and likes to your page. It is important to use professional images for your boosted posts that are simple and have a clear message or goal.
Respond to your engagement and messages
It is vital that you interact positively with people that replay to your posts or message you. You don’t need to respond to every single comment on the posts, but you should respond to every message. You can setup notifications, so you only get alerts for the important actions.
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The first point to keep in mind about business plans is... have a business plan! This may seem obvious but is overlooked. Many people start businesses without a plan; sometimes it can come from sheer bravado, thinking "business development plan", or alternatively you might hear "It's all inside my head, that's my business plan". The reality is no matter how much you work with things in your head, no matter how confident you may be and how much you think you already have a great vision for your business, there are so many great reasons why you should get it down on paper.
Most of all if you are seeking funding for your business development plan, it will be absolutely crucial to go along and show someone an actual plan, because there will be very few people who will loan you money on the basis of what's just in your head. So it's pivotal to have a plan and be committed to preparing that document. If you are someone who shies away from planning, or you don't like writing or preparing documents, nevertheless you are going to have to force yourself on this occasion. I say that because it is such a key document for the future success of your business, such a tool throughout its development to return and refer to.
Have An Overall Vision
When writing your business plan it is really important to have an overriding vision of what your business is going to do, what it is going to be, and what you want to achieve. Very often it is tempting to get straight into the technical details, the monetary concerns, financial matters, where you will be sourcing supplies, etc. Now all these things will be vital in your business plan, but it has to be held together by a coherent, broader vision.
Remember the proverbial expression 'not seeing the wood for the trees'? You need to see the 'wood' first, then delve in and start examining the individual 'trees', meaning the individual items which you will be breaking down later. So a great point is to make sure that you have that overarching vision - and if you cannot find one, then maybe it is an indication that you are obsessing on a few technical aspects that do not necessarily make up a whole business as you had imagined it. A business that makes sense and is going to be sustainable in the future is one that has that clear vision within which all the smaller parts contribute to make it successful business development plan.
Contextualise Your Budget
Of course your budget will be extremely important. But sometimes people sort of pluck figures out of thin air, not giving it the context it needs in the business plan to make real concrete sense of how that budget is going to work.
So it is crucial that every time you mention financials in your business plan, to really give them the correct context. When I have worked with clients in developing business plans, there has been a budget or amount set aside for example to be spent on marketing, which has been decided a bit arbitrarily business development plan. I mean with no real research, no understanding of what that amount needs to be spent on, and what that budget will truly achieve. It seems to have been put there to fill the need to attribute a certain sum to marketing.
Make sure you are researching each point of your budget, make sure that you are giving it context and it makes proper sense within your overall plan.
Don't Make Assumptions About Customers
To be an entrepreneur does require plenty of self-confidence, sometimes almost a bloody-minded determination to make your business work. But this confidence spilling over into thinking that you know what 'the market' wants can be dangerous, without checking that it's true. You need to do your research that the market does ultimately want what you will be offering, whatever products or services you will be selling.
That is a great thing to make sure you have in your business plan, that your business will be built around those real customer wants. Do not make callous assumptions, or statements like "I know what people want", "business development plan", and so on. Have you done your research? Do you really know that the people you will be targeting want your product / service, and crucially do they want it AT THE PRICE that you will be offering it at? Whilst confidence in your plan is fantastic, you must make sure that it does not lead you down a blind alley along a path that is not desired by your target market.
Don't assume what customers want, do your research and make sure that is clear from the start in your business plan.
Research Your Competitors (But Don't Copy!)
Every business plan should focus a lot on the business's potential competitors, because research and analysis of the competition effectively gives you plenty of useful information. It may guide you as to where you should be advertising and marketing, or certain strategies to use or ones to avoid because you see they have been used unsuccessfully by others.
I often see people split into two camps. On one hand those who almost ignore competitors in their business plan, because they do not want to think about the issue yet and feel so confident they have a great idea for the market regardless. But I recommend not being overconfident when it comes to competitors. They are still there for a reason, they are still around and in business for a reason, so view them with that in mind.
I teach that you should seek to learn from competitors; obviously never copy another business's idea or what they are doing, but you can absolutely learn from their mistakes or see what they are doing and discover ways to improve it. All of that analysis belongs in your business plan: make sure you have your competitors under the microscope and make sure that is a solid chunk of your plan. That is some of the best research and information you will gather about what will make your business successful in future.
Be Prepared For Risks
It is a fact of life that any new business or enterprise has a degree of risk attached to it. Therefore it is important for your business plan to analyse and calculate that risk, showing how you will engage with it. There is no business plan out there that is risk-free, but very often where the risk is higher then the rewards will be as well.
What should come into your business plan is how you assess it, how you foresee anything occurring that could have an adverse impact and how you would deal with it in the right ways. If you are looking to obtain funding from a bank or people you know, it is essential to show what the risk factors are in the proposed business and how you plan to defend against them.
It could be, for example, the risk of a change in the economic environment - what are your contingency plans for that in terms of dealing with such a situation? There may be many other risks as well specific to your particular sphere of operation, but that ability to plan ahead for all scenarios makes for a robust business plan. When I have received business plans, the very best responses come from people who have looked at the risks and have an answer for every question. What you never want is to throw a scenario at your plan and have to answer "I don't know what I would do in that situation". You want to plan for every possible contingency, and certainly all the major risks to the ongoing success of your business.
Most successful businesses have created a Business Plan at some point, usually before their start-up.
A business plan is needed to address all of the central components to starting a business. It is essential to make sure that you, as a new entrepreneur have carefully thought through many if not all, of the important components of your business. Ideally, you need to do this BEFORE starting your business.
What is a business plan?
They are generally prepared for two reasons:
1. To obtain financing for the Business Plan
2. To help determine if essential components of starting a business have been considered.
Often times with new entrepreneur's (and sometimes even with the more experienced!) they overlook certain aspects of starting a business. So the business plan helps to ensure that most, if not all reasonable questions have been answered and strategies thought about.
Although business plans are often considered optional - they serve a vital importance to entrepreneurs.
Many aspiring entrepreneurs and even experienced entrepreneurs fail to recognize their importance. It is often considered an "optional" component of their business and should only be prepared when absolutely necessary.
It is needed to address all of the central components to starting your business. It is essential to make sure that you, as an entrepreneur of quality, have carefully considered what you are offering, how you are offering it and whom you are offering it to.
Although it may be tempting to say "I have everything in my head about my business" - could lead to a lack of clarity.
The idea of keeping everything in your mind makes it possible for you to:
- forget certain things
- remember things incorrectly or too modified to later be useful
- misconstrue thought combinations that you had at one point but later revised
- revisit ideas that you already have thought of and since dismissed...
Preparing a business plan will allow you to document what you know and have the permanent impact of writing it down.
But this is complicated - Right?
In the context of the larger corporate world a Business Plan is not only essential but required. Many formats of business plans are modelled after the layouts and inclusions used for larger public companies. The time frame and level of detail is much greater for large corporate entities as they are required for various interested parties (stakeholders). However, it is not necessary for smaller businesses, especially start-ups to prepare overly lengthy and complex documents.
Your business plan need not be a time consuming, uncontrollable and over-the-top difficult process!
How Can I, As an Entrepreneur Achieve This?
Through the simple process of preparing a Preliminary Business Plan you will:
- Engage in a key strategy that will help you to organize your thoughts
- Help you to focus on your business intentions.
- Apply a straightforward, step-by-step process to prepare one.
- Obtain clarity about your business.
Why is it called a Preliminary Business Plan?
Traditional business plans, like those used for large public corporations can be very complex and have the level of detail that is not required for most smaller, private businesses.
A Preliminary Business Plan is shorter, designed more for the start-up of the business and it is easier to understand and prepare.
Here are just some of the questions that it should answer:
- Describe in detail exactly what your business is to be.
- Describe whom your products and/or services are for.
- How do you plan to deliver your products/services to your customers/clients.
- What pricing do you plan to use.
- If you have a product, list the major suppliers
- Indicate whom your major customers/clients are likely to be.
- What are the risk factors that you see for your Business Plan.
- What current businesses pose as competition to your business?
- How many employees do you plan to have in the company and at what point will they become active?
- Have you completed one?
It will address all of the central components to starting your business. It is essential to make sure that you, as a new entrepreneur have thought carefully through and considered all that you need to BEFORE starting your business.
A Preliminary Business Plan is a step-by-step method that allows you to organize your thoughts and WRITE DOWN your intentions through documenting them in a meaningful way. It also provides you with a document to provide to interested parties (for example, banks, investors, etc.) if the need arises.
You need to prepare one, if you are:
- An aspiring entrepreneur who is serious about properly planning a business and would like to discover if you need one for their new Business Plan.
- An experienced entrepreneur who never has prepared one, but would like to learn how.
- An aspiring entrepreneur who is skeptical, but would like to explore the process and know more.
- Any entrepreneur who has heard about them, but are confused and would like some clear DIRECTION of what to do.