Dear Aspect, How should I make a well-equipped business plan?
A business plan can be both useful to both you and a potential stakeholder. As with your business, before you commit to creating a business plan, be clear on the purpose and who it is for.
Anybody can complete a business plan but not everybody will include the core information needed to make it convincing. A business plan can take many different forms, and there are many templates available on the Internet (the Enterprise Team can email you a template – just ask), but fundamentally you need to ask yourself:
- What is the purpose of my business? Focus on ‘why’. A short, concise overview is a useful introduction as this serves to establish a clear understanding from the start. Can you tell a story? What problem are you solving? What change do you want to make?
- Who is this for? You should profile your target market in as much detail as possible. Include demographics and psychographics, and understand how their values align with those of your own. Consider the smallest viable audience you can live with; you may only need a few people to trust you initially – give them an amazing experience, build a loyal following and encourage them to tell others. Growth can happen exponentially. I challenge you to focus as niche as possible as this can remove you from saturated markets, and it can be easier to find and communicate with a smaller group of people.
- Are my foundations built on solid research? You can’t build a business plan on weak research. The more quality research you do, the closer you will be to being confident that your idea is viable in the real world. Thinking your idea is good is one thing; evidencing why you think it is good is something else entirely. Research suppliers and associated costs, and record all of your findings until you can research no more. Supplier research will directly affect your bottom line.
- Are my figures accurate? Failure to get your costs, turnover and profit right can kill your business quickly or slowly. Check your figures, check them again and keep going until you know them.
Hey Aspect, what attributes should I have to be a good leader?
A good leader is decisive and inspires, empowers and encourages those around them, aligning themselves with the vision and associated values they serve and leading by example. A good leader relentlessly strives to do the right thing, both by their cause and those they lead. They are the architects and practitioners of balance and progress.
Aspect, I’m a Sheffield Hallam student looking for a placement, what is available to me through the Enterprise team?
SHU has a range exciting 48 week sandwich year placements, supported by the Enterprise Team:
- Work for Yourself: try and start your own business, either individually or as part of a small team.
- Innovate. Create. Develop: work as part of a team to create a social project based on a specific theme.
- Freelancer: develop your own style as a freelancer and take on your own freelance work, alongside paid or voluntary work.
- Hallam Pop-Up Shop: work as part of a team to manage the Hallam Pop-Up Shop, including the development of an online portal and your own events.
- Magazine: work as part of a team to develop this very magazine and take it to the next level!
Applications for all sandwich year placements close on 21st March. Apply here.