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Creating a Successful Business Plan

Running a successful business can be much simpler when you’re working from a solid business plan. A business strategy and narrowly defined goals will help identify where you want to go and how to get there. A business plan can be very complex, but it can also be more flexible and short term - which can be useful for setting up a family business.

There are many different resources out there to help you create a successful business plan, but see if our initial steps below can help start the ball rolling towards great customer satisfaction, great management, and a great profit!

Step 1 - Define your target market and the core of your business

Exactly who is your product or service aimed at? What are the needs of the customers you are specifically finding solutions for? Are you looking to open a hotel, B&B or restaurant? Perhaps a combination of one or more?

Defining who your business appeals to and what type of establishment you want to run will help you work out if you’re trying to take on too much too soon. If you’re tempted to start everything at once, remember that big businesses generally start small. As a business owner, you will see new opportunities and investments arise in the future, so keep your options open and try not to bite off more than you can chew!

Step 2 - Learn to prioritise

Try to start small and avoid the temptation of trying to do everything at once; for instance, if you are planning to start a restaurant, focus on your menu strengths, and allow experimentation to develop later. This way, you will learn as you go, and as you inevitably make mistakes they will not affect the business on a grand scale.

Starting small allows you to work on not only your own skills of restaurant or hotel management, but on the skills of other people. Say for example, you believe you’ve hired the best chef in the world who is amazing in the kitchen, but is always late. Or you have a great food supplier, but the bread they supply is just not up to your standard. Starting small means you get to figure out the best road ahead to a long and wonderful journey to business success.

Business brainstorm

Step 3 - Start thinking of your business strategy

Once you have figured out what your business is going to focus on, try to create a business strategy. This can be done very differently, depending on what you are trying to achieve. Your strategy could include weighing up the competition, long term reputation goals, or impeccable customer satisfaction. Try to answer questions relating to advertising, competitiveness and reputation and ratings, such as is there a need to focus advertising locally, nationally or globally and where would be best to advertise online.

Step 4 - Your business name

Naming your business is very important. It will be the one thing which you will never change and people will keep talking about in the years to come. If you already have an idea of what you want your business name to be, search online for other local or national establishments which might have the same name. If there aren’t any, fantastic! But if there are, then consider choosing another name.

If your place name is unique, it may give you a good edge. Generally, a company name should be able to reflect what your business is about, its purpose, and what kind of service quality you will provide your customers. The easier it is to remember, the easier it is for people to recommend your good product or service to others!

Step 5 - Reputation management

Now that you have an understanding of exactly what your business is about, start thinking about your reputation and how you will build it. Are you going for that five star online rating? Do you want to be known as the warmest and friendliest restaurant around? Maybe your idea is to be the most modern and fashionable boutique in town?

Whatever your goal is, your reputation matters. From your grand opening onwards, the earliest online reviews will have a big impact on the future of your business, so make sure that early on you are being careful with your reputation. This can start with making sure you have a great product or service. If you are in hotel management, make sure you are hiring staff which reflect what you want to convey to customers. Remember that great customer service will lead to great reviews!

Step 6 - Set goals and plan accordingly

Set out your business goals. Six months from now, where do you want your business to be? How about in six years? Of course, you generally want to expect more customers, but perhaps the number of customers you are targeting will no longer fit comfortably inside your restaurant – so is there room for expansion?

If you’re aiming for your business to expand into a chain of restaurants or hotels, then what are the things you need to make that happen? By setting goals and targets, not only will you inspire yourself, but it will also help you track your progress and allow you to adjust accordingly. Having an inspiring vision will also help inspire not only yourself but your business partners and staff as well!

Set goals and plan accordingly

Now that you have read our steps on starting a business plan, you should be able to get a better idea of what you want to do, and how you want to do it. There are many great resources both online and offline that you can refer to but always remember that you need to invest in yourself to increase your chances of success.  

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