Whatever the health and condition of your Freelance business venture, you will at some point benefit from planning. Business planning of any type provides a roadmap that will help you to successfully achieve your business goals. Business planning can be instituted when sales are tanking and you need to find a way to improve billable hours. Or you may have decided to aim for larger assignments or roll out new services and need to figure out how to make it happen.
I’ve taught business plan writing for 7 or more years and I’ve also developed a one-day business plan writing workshop. As I see it, the process of writing a business plan gives the writer (or the team) many opportunities to think things through and get the magical thinking out of one’s head. The business plan shows us first, if the dream is potentially viable and second, how to make the dream a reality.
The plan you write will depend on what you set out to achieve. If you’re launching a start-up that will involve significant outside investment, then you’ll need a very detailed plan that focuses on financial projections; marketing plans that delve into customer acquisition, the competitive landscape, the product or service launch, messaging, sales distribution; and operational aspects such as manufacturing, staffing and quality control. Freelance consultants will mostly focus on marketing, in particular defining the target clients, client acquisition; providing the right services; appropriate pricing; and the budget to pay for their marketing strategies.
Whether your plan will be used to launch a big venture and attract outside money, or is a boutique style service provider, include the following elements in your plan. Even if you’ll be writing what amounts to an extended marketing plan used for a one-person shop, it will be a good exercise to include these elements, because you’ll be encouraged to think seriously and strategically about your mini-enterprise.
Present the business mission statement. Include as well the date when the business was formed; key management personnel; your unique credentials or experience that make you especially suited to start and successfully run the venture; the business legal structure (LLC, Sole Proprietor, or Corporation); the products and services; one or two key competitive advantages (maybe you have a patent?); sales projections; and the amount of capital needed (if you’re looking for investors).
It’s traditional to present a brief description of your industry and its outlook, nationally and regionally. give the details of your products and services and competitive advantages. Identify whether your venture is B2B, B2C, or B2G. If you hold a patent, detail the competitive advantages that it will convey. Have there been any technological advances that will help or hinder your business? Divulge here.
The category is a big tent that encompasses sales, product or service distribution, competitors, advertising, social media, PR, networking, branding, customer acquisition and pricing. The plan written for a mall organization will essentially consist of an extended marketing plan, because for Freelance consultants, success hinges on identifying and reaching clients who will pay as well as pricing the services advantageously.
Whether you’ll self-finance because you’re wealthy enough, or the venture is small and not especially demanding of capital investment, you nevertheless need to know with a reasonable degree of certainty how much you’ll need to spend to carry out the plan ( that could be a new product, or the purchase of something big, or a marketing plan, for example). If your strategy is to attract investors, they’ll need to be convinced by your projected sales revenue figures, because they’ll want to know when they’ll be paid back or know when to expect profits if they are made co-owners of the business. A break-even analysis, projected income statement, projected cash-flow statement and projected balance sheet are required by those who will need significant money.
How will day-to-day business processes function? Tell it here, along with providing the organizational chart, the business location, the method of producing that which you sell (if you are, say, a Freelance book editor or graphics specialist, you produce the service yourself), your sub-contractors (if you are a special events organizer, who is your usual caterer, florist, limo service, etc.?) and quality control methods. This element is about logistics.
For more information on writing a business plan, visit the Small Business Association website https://www.sba.gov/tools/sba-learning-center/training/how-write-business-plan
Thanks for reading,