Checklist Questions to Ask Yourself Before Writing a Business Plan

It may sound a little odd, but you really should plan your business plan! It’s vital to spend time before getting down to the nitty gritty in order to clarify what exactly your business objectives are and how confident you feel in order to achieve them. I’ve compiled these checklist questions to ask yourself before writing a business plan to help clarify the key elements you need to know.

When you’re planning to be a self-employed business owner, especially for the first time, it can be a rewarding experience, but it’s not without its risks either. These questions are designed to help you organise your ideas coherently so that you’re prepared to take the first steps to starting on your entrepreneurial journey.

Reflecting on your personality:

Differentiating between running a business as a side-hustle is a whole different ball game to running an actual business. Therefore, you have to ask yourself if you have the dedication and commitment to see it through. Don’t be under any illusions that you will be spending long hours being your own boss and juggling all the aspects of what running a business entails.

  • Why do you want to start a business?
  • Do you have the right personality and motivation to work your own business?
  • Can you set up a business while still working?
  • Are you willing to work extremely long hours, with very little personal time, for at least the next 3 years?
  • What will you do if your business isn’t a success?

Mapping out your business:

There are a range of questions you need to answer about how you will go about mapping out the core of your business. The trick here is to focus on your niche market, and why your business will stand out above the rest of your competitors to offer something different. Learn from others so you can tweak your own business structure that incorporates your own unique skills. If you don’t have these skills, then it’s likely, you’ll be employing other people.

  • Who is the target audience for my business?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What resources and skills do you currently have to bring to the venture?
  • What business structure will you use?
  • Do you need any licenses and permits?

Defining your products/services:

Your products/services, and how you market them, are really the crux of your new business. Therefore, knowing everything about them to the finer details will help to determine if there is a unique market for them to you to increase traffic and sales. Working out your production and pricing costs down to the smallest details is essential to see if your business idea is viable. These questions for writing a business plan will also help to determine if it will continue to be profitable in the long term.

  • What are your products/services and is there a need for them?
  • Do you know everything about what you’re selling?
  • How will you market your product/services?
  • Do you have the premises, materials, stock and equipment you need?
  • How much will it cost to manufacture your products/services?

Determining your financials:

Before you can even begin to make money, you need to know how much capital you already have and how much you need to launch your business. It’s vital you know your financials at all times because if you don’t, it could end up costing you much more in the long run! This also includes your accounts, cashflow forecasts, financial projections, budget and the individual criteria for any funding applications. Knowing this information will be crucial to making sound business decisions.

  • What is it going to cost to open up your business?
  • Where are you getting your funding from?
  • What kind of taxes will you have to pay?
  • How much to you need to run your business on a monthly basis?
  • What will be the business’s annual revenue in a year?

When can I start?

There’s nothing quite like making your first sale! However, making the transition to being self employed can be a daunting experience. Therefore, ensure you have positive network support in place via other small business owners, suppliers and other professionals.

These questions are aimed to get you started for your business checklist and writing a business plan. So, get your pen and paper ready to work through them all to you can prepare a list and plan a realistic launch date for your legal business.

Finally, good luck on your journey!

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About Anita Forrest

Anita Forrest is a Chartered Accountant, spreadsheet geek and money nerd helping financial DIY-ers organise their money so they can hit their goals quicker.