"What business should I put up?" That's usually the question.
Richard Branson, serial entrepreneur and founder of Virgin Group (400 companies worldwide) says "Business opportunities are like buses, there's always another one coming."
That's true. But for starters, you don't need to be like Mr. Branson. Yes, there are many opportunities around you, but not all will be good or suitable for you. To be effective, you'll need to filter or figure out which one to pursue.
7 STEPS TO A SIMPLE BUSINESS PLAN
1. Find a need or a problem around you. (customers) Look around you. There are problems waiting to be solved.
And someone out there is responsible for that problem. He is looking for answers. (There are many others like him)
That could be you providing a service, a product or a solution to that group of people.
2. Provide a Solution. (your service or product)
What exactly can you do for them that could make their lives or work easier?
Old products or services were designed to solve old problems. The "old way" will go outdated. Sooner or later, it won't work for anyone anymore.
Come up with a new way, a new approach, or a new business model. To be relevant, design your products or services to solve the problems of today and tomorrow. Don't merely ask your customers what they want, but anticipate and figure out what will work better for them.
As Steve Jobs would say, "A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them."
3. What makes your Solution different? (marketing & branding)
In three sentences, what makes your service or product uniquely valuable? Why will they pick you and not the provider next door? How will you differentiate your offer?
Hint: Going cheaper than the competitor isn't always better. There's a possibility for you to end up just competing with price – In the end, nobody wins.
Providing "better customer service" is already every company's promise. Customers are already expecting you to give that to them whether you promise or not.
What can you possibly do to stand out?
4. Do the Math. (finance)
I know. You don't like math! However, you still need to know your numbers.
Can you deliver your promise at the price they are wiling to pay for? Will you still make money?
How much money do you need to run your business for the first six months?
How much "salary" do you need to pay yourself to make this venture work?
Is there a way that you can utilize new technologies to make your start-up cost-efficient?
There are more money-related questions to answer...
5. Is the business in line with what you do well? (competence)
Competence is the ability to do something successfully and efficiently. Will the quality of your work speak for itself?
6. Pray. (faith)
This isn't counter-productive. It's the most productive thing to do! Pray and ask God "Is this your will for me? Should I go into this business?"
If the answer is no, then don't. It is only when you find peace that you should proceed.
7. Do your homework. (diligence)
Be the first to wake up and the last to go to sleep. Research!
Did you know that Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook without a real business plan? The only time they figured out how to make money (monetization) was after getting millions of users. (as of 2012, Mark's personal wealth was estimated to be more that $19.1 billion)
Dream Big. Start small. Above all, start today. Then update your business plan along the way.