Clearly Define Your Web Business Plans
For most off-line businesses, arguably one of the best ways to get a profitable business up and running fast, is to buy an existing business that is proven to be doing well. This way, you're essentially buying the efforts, persistence, hard work, and good judgments of those who have gone before you. That's also why the price for such businesses can sometimes make first-timers almost choke when the important topic of buy-in money gets mentioned.
However, we're assuming that you're going into business and starting from scratch: that takes special courage and you'll grow and benefit much on your journey.
Perhaps more importantly, you've chosen a web business format that need not require a second house mortgage, but from which, in time, if all goes well, your web business can be worth far more than the value of an average house.
At that point, much like a wise farmer, you're harvesting the fruits of your labors. To get to that future date where you may decide to sell or pass your web business on to other family members, you'll be starting a journey.
What's So Important About Planning?
Consider the following two key guidelines:
- Every journey needs a plan. Without a plan, we're almost certainly planning to fail.
- Likewise, if we don't take a little time to plan the days that make up our lives, then someone else will do that for us, either directly or indirectly.
However, while some initial planning is essential, more important is the action we take to apply those plans.
That's why we don't want to get too hung up on making fixed plans, or get sucked into the equally common pitfall: perform to much planning. For all the planning in the world is useless without converting those same plans into focused action steps.
Key golden tip: make your plans, but consider starting when you're about 90% ready. Why? You're never going be 100% ready, so why not challenge yourself to quit putting off and just get to work as soon as you can?
Why Both Action And Inaction Get Results
Focused action is the true starting point for every single act of progress. Yet inaction produces results as well, just usually, not the ones we want. So whatever we do, or don't do, we're going to get a result. Therefore, why not aim for the results we want by taking the action steps that we start, control and maintain?
Create an outline business plan but again, don't get attached to this too rigidly. Start with what you would like to see and be prepared to vary your plan as your web business evolves.
In fact, and in practice, you'll most likely want to create several types of plan. None need be long or detailed.
However, the more you write down about your business and what you seek to achieve from it, the more those ideas get fleshed out in your brain, the more likely you are to gain a better perspective on everything about your new web business.
Key point: the true value of a written business plan is not the document itself, but the mental processes you go through, and what you learn as a result, to arrive at a working practical plan
What Plans Do I Need?
Consider the following ideas. Your brief plans could at least include:
(1) General Business Plan
This is the most important document for the reasons suggested in the key point above.
(2) Cash-Flow Projection Plan
A start-up cash flow plan can identify how you can survive the first 6 months, assuming you won't have any income from your new web business? Sure, you may secure sufficient income sooner, but let's err on the side of caution and plan for that.
Most people cannot survive 5 or 6 months with negative cash flow, yet sometimes, that is precisely what is required. So most importantly, when first starting out: get some cash-flow projections established.
If you're going to be working at this full-time, make sure you can cover your day-to-day personal living expenses for at least the first 6 months. Or, if you have a partner who is working full time and can pay the bills, wonderful: that's ideal.
Consider ways to save some additional money if required. Explore how to generate sufficient additional or alternative income to see you through your early days.
(3) Marketing Plan
Explores how to bring your products and services to the niche market you identify and seek to serve.
(4) Advertising Budget Plan
Every business needs to consider how it is going to advertise and how to bring your website in front of those visitors who are most likely to be interested in what you have to offer. Your advertising budget plan may form part of your marketing plan.
(5) Press Release Plan
You can create Internet press releases to help build breadcrumb links back to your web address / URL, and you can create "traditional" press releases, except using un-traditional methods for maximum results. More later on this topic.
(6) Free Publicity Plan
Considers methods and strategies designed to provide free publicity for your website. This topic is explored in a later part of this guide.
(7) Website Backup Plan
What happens if your website "goes down" overnight? How would you react? What options are open to you? Consider these issues before the event, even if they never happen.
Creating Your Plans
Each of these plans can occupy as little as a single sheet of paper.
Key point: the length of your plan or how well it is written, is not the most important issue. Rather, that you think about how to plan the various aspects of your business, set targets and look for ways to meet those goals. You may not reach your targets first time, but I suggest that you'll get closer to your goal, simply through the practices of planning, aiming for goals, and taking action.
What if ...
Finally, think assurance (or insurance). Ask yourself a range of "What if ...?" questions.
- What would I do if I created a profitable website and my website disappeared from the web overnight?
- What if my website goes down temporarily. What do I do next?
- What happens if my website provider's business fails?
- What do I do if my website gets scrambled?
- And so on.
One solution: consider the following guidelines:
- Ask your questions above and record your answers.
- Then get a loose-leaf, spring-clip folder and enter into this document all of your plans, solutions, etc. Think of this reference as a kind of guide manual for your business.
- In your printed (not electronic) document, keep all the essential information you'll need for your web business, what-ifs, solutions to past problems, ideas, plans, and so on.
- Keep your "master guide manual" document up to date and store in a secure location.