Developing a business plan is an important step as it helps in considering important factors and future course of action for the business. A business plan is a written statement that has all the information that a business is expected to follow. A successful business plan is available developed on real life facts and assumptions. Therefore it is required to make in-depth research into various factors that may affects its profitability and credibility during the business application (Trevifio & Brown, 2004).
Hardest challenge faced in developing a business plan:
The hardest challenge that I faced when developing a business plan was specifying positioning. The positioning of the product needs to be done such that the customers notice the products and could easily place their orders using online medium. This way selecting the best method for positioning was a real hard challenge to develop. Positioning was done by selecting the most popular online websites that supports businesses including eBay and amazon. Thus the products were kept on sale through online medium. Also the positioning of the old books was made specifically for the low end product segment, wherein a discount of nearly 45% was offered to the customers. Along with that the free shipment of the product and flat courier service was offered to tempt the customers (Mintzberg, 1994). This way the positioning was featured by following issues.
Attracting customers to new business:
The attraction of the customers towards new business is among the toughest job in the present day world. People are brand crazy and have their personal likes and thoughts on specific products. These customers can be attracted to new business only when they are offered something extra than others.
The competition in the market is so hard that the customers are have great offers to surf before making purchase. The pricing, advertisement and backing of company brand name all has created so much completion for the new entrant that it is really hard to find a space in the market for new business set up.
The technology used for placing orders and offering assistance to the customers is quickly changing. Due to this reason Amazon and ebay have become the best way to promote business The technology used by them is considered among the best and latest method of supporting business activities and meeting up to customer expectations.
A lot of uncertainty exists in the market. The trend of the customers changes every now and then. Therefore it is really hard to decide on the future of selling old books. Therefore its really hard to decide on investing in new business that is based on selling of old books.
A lot of investment is required while positioning a product online for sale. This is so because its really hard to predict the coming future demand from the customers. Therefore financing for inventory that places right products in right amount has to be decided in the business plan (Kickul & Neuman, 2000).
Reason behind facing such problems and issues in developing business plan:
The reason behind the difficulties faced in developing a business plan includes the followings.
The business plan is actually based on assumptions. Now any of these assumptions can proved unrealistic in the real world. The customer trend, choice and market acceptance to new entrants all may face either no acceptance or more than just acceptance. Therefore the assumptions may prove to be unrealistic while developing a business plan.
A business plan requires a lot of research. Lack or inadequate research may lead to issues and problems in application and non-realistic decisions can be achieved. Hence the business plan developed requires more in-depth knowledge and research which has actually made the business plan more challenging to developed.
Balancing quality with growth:
It is rather a difficult task to balance quality with growth. Thus in a business we can only assume to maintain quality with growth but in reality its really hard to manage for finance, cut down profits and balance quality (Fisk, 2010).
The best way to overcome these challenges is by following a certain criteria for developing a business plan stated as below.
Stage I: Identifying the various options available to the business.
At this first stage the various options available to the business are identified. These includes the opportunities available in online selling, creating brand image, placing products and services in the market, fair pricing, offering huge discounts and offers etc. This way identification of the best option out of the various other options is done in this stage.
Stage II: Measuring the feasibility of each option to the business:
Measuring of each options separately and calculating its feasibility is another step. This way the options available to the business are measured in terms of benefit, profit and outcome that could be expected.
Stage III: Realizing the targets of the business.
The targets of the business need to be realized before making any selection out of the possible options available. This way the business terms, products, services, market capture etc. all needs to be realized.
Stage IV: Selecting the best option for the business:
The selection of the best options that suits the requirements should be done for the business. The business plan initiation should be made with due consideration of the opportunities available. All the factors and features should be considered while selecting and preparing for the business plan.
Stage V: Developing the business plan:
The process of developing a business plan based on the selected options should be initiated at this step. The business plan should be developed in details considering various factors that may affect the business. Various real life assumptions should also be made while developing the business plan.
Stage VI: Making a pilot application of the business plan:
The pilot application of the business plan will help in getting more near to reality. This will help in realizing that if the business plan is actually inconformity with the real world.
Stage VII: Considering feedback and suggestions.
The discussions, identifying customers’ expectations, considering feedbacks, thoughts and suggestions etc. all can help in deciding on the methods that could be used on the application of the business plan.
Stage VIII: Reaching out to the best conclusion.
The best conclusion can be reached out while carefully and fairly deciding on the feedbacks and suggestions that has been received through discussions.
Stage IX: Making appropriate changes in the business plan:
The suitable and most appropriate changes in the business plan needs to be done at this stage so that the business plan comes more near to reality. This way the assumptions that may prove incorrect should be removed and suggestions in pilot survey should be applied.
Stage X: Finalizing the business plan:
The finalizing of the business plan should be done at this stage after making all required changes in the business plan. The finalization of the business plan can be done by writing in details the information that will be followed. Also due consideration to all aspects needs to be given in the business plan (Crane & Matten, 2003).
Important Lesson Learnt As An Entrepreneur:
The most important lesson that I learnt after developing a business plan as an entrepreneur is that it is very easy and simple to talk about business ideas and yet very hard develop. This is because of the following pre-requisites that needs to be considered while developing a successful business idea.
Writing down everything:
A business plan should be well written. It should cover everything that could bring out successful application for the business. Writing a business plan also helps in discussing the motives with experts so that the changes can be brought in through suggestions and feedback. Also it helps in describing the actual objective of the business and deciding proper plan of action that it has to follow.
Considering various factors seriously:
Various factors should be considered seriously in the business plan. This includes the factors that may affect the business like competitor response, customer trend, product pricing policy etc.
Making realistic assumptions:
Making realistic assumptions helps the business plan to stay in alignment with the real world. Thus whatever we assume may not prove correct but through the realistic assumptions we can formulate a business plan that actually considers real life issues and problems.
Taking important decisions in advance.
A business plan helps in deciding on the important decisions. This way it gives enough time to think, consider and reconsider on various issues and problem so that on time decisions can be taken which could actually help achieve the desired goal and targets for the business.
Making early plans for dealing with competitions.
Business plan if developed carefully could help in making early plans for dealing with the competition. This way the company could easily expect on the market response and decide on the actions that can be taken to fight back competitor’s policy.
Keeping target of achieving customer satisfaction:
Business plan helps in deciding on the customers response from the business. This way the target of achieving customers satisfaction during the actual application of business plan can be decided. Therefore the business policy, motives and plan can be developed such that the customer expectations can be met.
Focusing on improving business:
The focus on improving the business while meeting its objectives can be targeted through the business plan. Therefore the various stages of business can be identified and the most suitable action plan that will help achieve estimated goals and targets can be achieved.
Estimating goals and targets for the business:
Estimating of goals and targets for the business can be done by developing a business plan that considers all factors. The business plan therefore could help in deciding the target growth and development that a business should achieve within a limited time frame.
Considering for unforeseen contingencies:
The business plan should make arrangements for the unforeseen contingencies that may rise due to any reason. The unforeseen contingencies can include requirement for finance, changing customer trend and behavior, increasing competition in the market, competitive pricing by the competitor etc. Thus to fight back the real life situations the action plans should be developed well in advance so that the business could deal easily with this issues and problems that may rise in future. Through business plan enough consideration and time can be given on deciding the action plan that could be followed in a particular situation (Chopra & Meindl, 2001).
In the end, the business plan should reflect the future course of action that a company may follow so that the desired outcome is finally achieved. The business plan should be developed on real notions and assumptions so that the application becomes easier. A successful business plan is that which considers all the factors that has been learnt while preparing business plan. The best thing that I learnt from the business plan formulation process is that everything needs to be planned and considered so that the desired outcome is achieved. The options for unforeseen contingencies and applications that may affect the business should also be kept open. The various factors that could affect the business should be identified. Finally making real life assumptions can help in deciding the best course of action that the business could follow while the application of the business plans (Atkinson & Miller, 1998).
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