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The Business Plan is Your Road Map to Success

A small business owner can fly by the seat of her pants for a while but there will come a time when she has to get INTENTIONAL with planning to have longevity in business. And that's where a business plan becomes vital.

The business plan truly is the roadmap to success.

Just because you may not be going to a bank for funding is no reason to skip this process. When you get clear about where you're headed, the resources and people you need to get there can show up.

WARNING: Skipping the business plan process WILL delay your success - or - make it much more painful than it has to be.

For an easy to follow small business plan outline, I recommend this: https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/plan-your-business/write-your-business-plan 

In this article I am going to focus on a couple of things a typical business plan may not address that can change the trajectory of your business.

Part of the process of developing a business is getting clear about the ideal client for the business. If you have not clearly identified your ideal client, you will struggle with your plan and reaching your goals.

If you don’t know who your ideal client is, now is as good of time as any to work this out. The way to identify him/her is to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the needs your clients will bring to you?
  • What is the average age of your ideal client?
  • What is her relationship status? This matters because this may affect spending.
  • What is her personality type? You don't have to work with clients you don't like. Remember, this is YOUR business. You make the rules.
  • What profession is she in (what is she doing to earn a living)?
  • Where is she shopping for her clothes, makeup, jewelry?
  • What additional service is she treating herself to? (hair, massage, manicure/pedicure)
  • Where is she going for these services?
  • Where is she spending time online?
  • What kind of car is she driving?
  • What kind of restaurants does she frequent?
  • Where does she like to travel?
  • Where is she spending her free time in the real world?
  • What kind of house does she live in?
  • What are her hobbies?
  • Who kind of friends does she have and where do they hang out?

Knowing the characteristics of your ideal client helps you to know how to market and what services you are going to provide.

If you want to build a high-end business where clients don’t flinch at spending money on your services or products, you’ll market to them in very specific places and ways. This type of client, for example, isn’t buying her clothes at Wal-Mart and doesn’t buy her skincare on Amazon. She’ll be employed in a well paying job, or she’s retired with a healthy retirement budget.

Now don’t misinterpret that. If you don’t want a high end business there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It just means you will have to adjust your earnings expectations or serve more clients. It also doesn’t mean if someone shops at Wal-Mart, she won’t splurge on your services. Right! She may shop at Wal-Mart so she CAN splurge on your services.

How Much Do You Want to Earn?

If you want to get a quick snapshot of how much money you want to make in your business, the next steps will give you a bare bones look at what you need to consider. However, I strongly recommend you sit down with an accountant and/or a business manager you trust to plan this out properly. 

The financial goal question builds upon other questions like

What does your budget look like each month? How much do you need to pay the light bill, the mortgage, groceries, sitter, car payment, utilities, and so on. Actually make a list of what it REALLY costs you to live. Don’t leave out any expense when you make this list.

You might have a partner who helps earn so you’ll take that into consideration as well.

Next, make another list by writing down how much money you also need to buy products, supplies, equipment, marketing, website costs, etc., for your business. Now, take the final number on this list and add 25% (this % will be determined by your tax bracket so please consult an accountant) because you also need to make enough money to pay your taxes.

Once you have the final numbers of all of the above, you can then determine how many customers you will need to serve each month to make enough money to earn a living. This will also impact how much you charge for your services, etc., determine if you need a PT job, or a small business loan, to get you through until your business has grown enough to sustain all your needs. 

Speaking of how much to charge. The number one mistake a small business owner makes is UNDER CHARGING. They mistakenly assume customers won’t pay X dollars because of where they live. I beg to differ. How much a customer is willing to pay is determined by how well you posture your services AND the value they perceive. It also matters if you are marketing to your ideal client (or not).

Your Value Doesn’t Decrease Because Someone Can’t See Your Worth!

Remember, your ideal client isn’t someone who cannot afford your services so stop trying to sell to those who cannot. The minute someone speaks negatively about your prices it is a red flag they are not your ideal client. Don’t lower your value by lowering your prices. Instead graciously move on to clients fitting your ideal client description. 

Plan for Growth

Next let’s talk about business operations. In the beginning of every small business, the owner wears a lot of hats. You’re not only the esthetician, you’re the product and inventory tracker and shipper, the bookkeeper, the janitor, the marketing manager, and maybe even the website manager. But there will come a time when you have to start building a team so you can focus on what you do best. After all, you didn’t become an esthetician to be a bookkeeper or a marketing pro or website manager, etc., right?

What your team looks like will evolve as your business grows. You may start with a virtual assistant who helps a few hours a month. You invest in paying her so your business can grow. You delegate to her administrative work so you can spend more time serving clients and planning. Over time, when the budget is there, you will add others who help you manage all the pieces and parts that make your business operate efficiently.

No one builds a successful business alone. It takes a team to get your business to higher levels of success.

A Business Plan for Success!

The objective of this conversation is to encourage you to get a business plan down on paper (or screen). This plan isn’t set in stone. You’ll adjust it as you grow and learn. Writing a business plan IS how you create the roadmap to your success.

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