- The first step in writing your business plan is articulating a problem that you solve. Is this a problem that people are willing to pay you to fix? You'll need to define who has the problem, is it companies, is it individuals, spell out what your typical customer looks like. Then think through how big is this problem, how does it show up for your customers? Is it a question of things are expensive and they have a cost problem, do they have a time problem, is it a quality issue with the products that they're turning out and you can help them improve that quality? When you write this problem statement you should be able to take it to your target customers and they should read it and say, "I have that problem, please come fix it," and that's where the demand for your product or service is going to come from.
Allow me to offer a couple of examples, one bad problem articulation and one good one. I'm familiar with an individual who created an app for the iPhone and the problem he said he was solving was, "I'm going to make sure "that you make it to your next appointment on time, "because the problem is you don't always know "when you should leave for that meeting," and he created this app that was very complex, it factored in traffic and distance, and it would remind you, "Hey, it's time to leave for your next meeting." Now I was the target customer for that.
That was not a big problem for me and I wouldn't pay to solve it because I'll just leave earlier for my next meeting to make sure I make it on time. For my business, I run a leadership training firm and one of the courses we teach is a communications course. The problem that we look to solve with that course is PowerPoint presentations in organizations are long, they're confusing, they don't get the point across and ultimately the recommendation doesn't get approved. When I put that problem in front of my target clients many of them say, "Yes, we have that issue, our slides "are convoluted and nobody ever says yes," and fortunately for me I have a solution to that problem.
So as you're articulating your business's problem and how you solve it, make sure it's a clear and compelling statement for your customer.
- Define the problem your business solves.
- Determine a product and revenue model.
- Build a go-to market strategy.
- Describe the components of a product development roadmap.
- Explain how to brand and market a product.
- List criteria for choosing suppliers.
- Identify common pitfalls of business plans.