You have an idea for a business plan. Maybe you’ve even had the same idea for ten or more years. And you truly believe that your idea could eventually become a successful small business.
I remember hearing about a married couple with a constant stream of great business ideas. First, they wanted to own a pizza pub near a college campus. Then, they dreamed of a chicken farm where they could sell the high-quality, organic eggs. Again, they thought about building a small home on the back end of their property and renting the home to a family in need. Finally, they imagined opening up an ice-cream parlor on that same piece of open land.
However, never did this couple start a small business.
With the proper business plan, any and all of their ideas could have come to fruition. In fact, this couple might have been able to retire early and invest in kingdom causes that truly matter to them!
So, if you have a business idea, don’t let it sit in your iPad notes folder. Work through this list of questions and determine if your idea really is a good one. Then, start pursuing it!
18 Questions for Developing a Business Plan
- What problem does your business idea solve?
- If there a true need for this business? Or will you need to spend time differentiating yourself?
- Why is the problem important?
- What is your solution to this problem? (Be specific!)
- Describe your product or service in two or three sentences. Put it in terms anybody could understand.
- What is your value proposition?
- Why is your value proposition important to the customer?
- Is your value proposition a nice-to-have or a need-to-have?
- Who are your competitors? Name at least 3 to 5!
- What do your competitors sell, and how does it compete against you?
- How will you differentiate your product?
- Describe how your product or service differs from the competition. (Price alone is not enough!)
- How large is this market?
- Who is your target customer?
- What is your go-to market strategy and pricing model?
- Describe your pricing model.
- How do you intend to market your product or service?
- What will your organization look like? Consider your staffing needs at the end of a full year of operation.
After spending time working through this list of questions (be as detailed as you can possibly be!), there are two other steps I’d recommend taking before you invest in starting your small business.
Two Extra Steps Before Starting
First, write out a 3-year financial projection. Consider revenue and revenue sources, expenses, and gross profit. Be honest with yourself: after looking at the three-year projection, does the business idea still excite and motivate you?
Then, pray about your idea before ever taking one step forward. If God is not the King of your decision – and if He doesn’t remain King over your business for its entire existence – then it’s not an idea worth pursuing. Remember, you cannot serve both God and money. So, pray about God’s plan for your idea. Then, when you feel peaceful about pursuing it, start to take those steps.
Don’t let your ideas dwindle and die.
Like I say in my book, “Take action. Some of the best ideas in the world are still in somebody’s notebook or iPad somewhere.”
Have a small business idea? As tame or wild as it may be, I want to hear it! Share with me in the comments.
Gooday Billy. I’m a doctor from Nigeria. I however have this passion for entrepreneurship. I am considering setting up a hospital and pharmacy in Nigeria and also having a furniture mart and possibly later on have a finance house so I can help aspiring entrepreneurs achieve their goals. The only issue now is financing. I also want to try and get a postgraduate medical degree so that will serve as my value proposition
Wow, you’ve got a lot going on! Be sure to focus on one thing at a time.
I am considering a business that trains youth to repair bikes so they can be empowered to to earn as they learn. At the same time, they would be mentored by those who train them.
You truly are living out making sense of making money for making a difference!
Looking to fund a man in Port-au-prince, Haiti ??, to start making no bake cookies, he has a mixer but no where to Bake his cakes, ect..I’m sending him your 16 questions , to help direct him and see if this idea might work
That is great, way to share the knowledge and make a global impact!
What is a value proposition?
Value proposition is what you have to offer your customer. It is the unique value you are providing them
Great list. I am considering several possibilities. I am trying to work my experience into the ideas. I love gardening and have been looking into hydroponics. You can start small and increase as you gain knowledge and develop your client list and expertise. My fear of failure just surfaced I think. Also, I was a chef prior to becoming a veterinarian, so I was considering a dog daycare with a barkery in it. Although this is a hot trend and I could expand it into veterinary services, the area I live in is already saturated with vet clinics and boarding facilities. The barkery however, would make it unique.
Your last paragraph was what got my attention most; pray about it. I really thought I had stewardship down. Little did I know. I wasn’t trusting God, I was relying on my education, and work till you make it happen attitude. God is bringing me to a new level. I am watching Andrew on Stewardship and seeing things in a whole new light. I have always loved to write and every time I ask the Lord what to do He says write. At first I thought, seriously God I can’t make money doing that even though I love writing. But because God is God I started writing a book and it is really flowing, especially when I seek Hoy Spirit. Blessing, Cathy
Hi Billy. What a blessing you are! My name is Deon and I’m a second year student of CBC’s here in South Africa. God has led my wife and myself to not only being pastors but also business people, or spiritual market place people. God has led us to opening a real estate company called Mars Hill Properties. We’ve been open for 18 months now and its been so good, praise God but mediocre to say the least after listening to Paul Miligan and yourself. I know that God has more… I’ve studied the Word for 5 years now looking to start a church but of late I believe that God wants what I already have in my hands to prosper. Billy I need your help, I’ve been so “spiritual” that I I’ve missed the business side of not only Mars Hill Properties, but also of the church that God has placed in my heart. I am teachable and appreciate the impartation of what you know. Stay blessed Mr Epperhart.
Thank you for your comment, Deon. I truly believe you are an admirable person, and I am glad to see that you are doing so good. God already believes in you, so you just need to keep believing in yourself. God bless you, Deon!