Writing an Internet Business Plan Gives You Filter For Making Decisions
An Internet business plan for your Internet venture helps in several ways: first, it keeps you focused on activities that move you forward; it uncovers any faulty assumptions you may have; and it can help you avert losing real money. It’s always better to do it on paper first. Also, your plan becomes a part of your benchmarking effort. It allows you to compare what you estimated on paper with what actually occurs at the end of the year.
Another reason for writing an Internet business plan is that it’s all too easy for a new entrepreneur to fall into the trap of working in the business, not on it. (Michael Gerber, The E-Myth Revisited) Without a plan you can lose focus and fail to see the big picture. With a plan, you’ll be more able to make decisions for both the long-term and short-term, and this will keep you moving forward.
As an Internet entrepreneur, your business plan can be short . . . as short as one page! This keeps you laser focused, and cuts out spending time on writing extraneous material.
Writing a vision statement should be one of the first exercises you do to create your document. It becomes your personal vision of what your business will be doing in 1-3 years. Since change is happening so quickly, it doesn’t make sense any more to project farther than this into the future.
This statement begins with what you will market: Affiliates? E-books? Hard goods? Your services? Your local store? And to whom will you market these? Crafting this vision requires doing some homework before you begin to write, but also be thorough . . . read about the advantages, disadvantages, and requirements of each of these contenders before you make any decisions. Look for the best fit for your personality, your situation, and your personal goals when you write your Internet business plan. This will be your yardstick.
The next thing on the agenda is to write a mission statement—one that is closely aligned with your vision. Your mission describes, in one to six key words why your company exits from your customer’s viewpoint. For example, customers go to FedEx for “Overnight delivery.” This is what they are known for. You can identify what yours will be when you go through the process of writing this plan. This mission statement is valuable because it becomes your filter . . . helping you decide if you should take on a task or a project.
There is another benefit to spending time on crafting your vision and mission statements for your business. You can always read them for inspiration during times of struggle.
At this point your Internet business plan becomes a strategic business plan . . . one that includes measurable objectives designed to overcome your business challenges. For example, in an Internet business one critical need is traffic. By identifying this as a major objective, you’ll be able to set traffic goals and choose the best tactics to help you achieve these goals. Your strategies help you select key activities and manage your time. By limiting yourself to key activities and projects during the year, you won’t be as likely to get overwhelmed and to be run by your daily to-do list.
You will stay focused only on the essentials. This is the big payoff writing an Internet business plan for your venture!
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