Planning a business for the online business owner is not much different from planning a bricks and mortar business. The main differences are the choice of infrastructure. Online business owners are typically solopreneur who run their business from their home office employing contractors to fill in skill gaps. Every business owner who wants to plan their business first must gather information via research in order to create their mission and develop business goals.
Once the mission is understood, and the goals are established, the next aspect of business planning to tackle is to create business strategies, and tactics that help you implement your business plan. Then for the rest of the business cycle it’s important to monitor performance metrics in order to have a way to evaluate whether or not your business is succeeding. One thing interesting to note is that within an online business this cycle can repeat often, especially if you create information products or other products to sell over and over again.
Think about it: Research, Product Creation, Selling Strategies and Tactics, Monitor Performance, then Evaluate Results.
This is the planning cycle of any product, when you do it for an entire business you create a plan to succeed rather than just throwing it all up into the air and hoping it works. You have a set plan that if you’ve done your research well, and you follow through with the plan, it will succeed. It truly is almost a sure thing when you plan well.
Many online business owners don’t always think things through to make a real plan to succeed. There is saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This really says it all. By sitting down and actually planning your online business you set yourself out from the rest of the crowd, giving yourself a huge advantage and leg up on other online business owners. You immediately give yourself more opportunity to succeed because you’re taking your business seriously.
During your business planning process you’ll eventually create a written vision, mission statement, objectives and goals for your business. From those you’ll create the overall strategy and tactics. You know, when you get a job, someone tells you what to do each day. You’re likely unaware of the overall strategy but you’re implementing and performing tasks (tactics) each day. As a business owner, it will help you to know what you’re supposed to do each and every day as you work because no one is there to tell you what to do, but the business plan can be that “to do” list that you need to ensure your success.
Your business plan will keep you from being in the dark about how each task should be done too. For instance, how will you collect payment? How will you process refunds, and what exactly is your refund policy? Even though you’re a small business, you still need business policies and a plan to implement that policy. Business planning ensures that you have thought out all of these aspects and don’t make a crucial error in the heat of the moment.