Do you need a business plan for your design practice? In short, yes! It doesn’t matter if you’re thinking about starting a design business. Or if you’ve had a successful interior design firm for years. A business plan will help you achieve what you want to achieve with your design company. But what is a good business plan?
To Start. What’s a Business Plan?
It’s a roadmap that sets out your business goals. And how you’ll achieve them. As such, it could be many things and take many forms. Often our first step is to grab a template from the internet. Then spend days filling it in. As a result, we may end up with a very well worded, extensively researched, and beautiful presented business plan. That has taken an age to put together. But is entirely useless!
We can avoid this mistake. Instead, think about:
- Why do you want a business plan?
- Who’ll see your business plan
- How your business plan will be presented
- When. The time period your business plan covers
A successful business plan, one that’s right for you, should pass the 3Rs test. It’s relevant, it’s readable and, more importantly, it’s realistic
Why Do You Want a Business Plan?
The very first question to ask is ‘Why?’ Do you want a business plan to:
- Raise funds, such as a business loan or investment
- Use as a template or blueprint against which you’ll run or grow your practice
- Identify the goals and objectives you have for your company
- Encourage commitment from your employees, long-term strategic suppliers, and partner companies
- Gain clarity as to where your business is going. And what obstacles it may encounter
The ‘Why?’ question starts to determine what your business plan looks like. If you want a business plan to raise funds, there’s likely to be a particular format it should take. However, if you need it for another purpose, then we’ve a lot more artistic license
Who’ll See Your Business Plan?
This answer maybe dependent upon the previous answer. It’ll be lenders and potential investors who’ll see it if you’re intending to raise funds. However beyond this very defined purpose, the audience for a business plan could be wide and varied. For instance:
- Just you (and your business partners)
- Your leadership team / specific employees
- All employees
- Suppliers and partner companies
Something else to think about is how frequently your business plan will be presented. If raising funds, it’s likely to be a single occasion. At least, a limited number of times. Or are you using it to run and grow your business? Then you’ll benefit from regularly reviewing your business plan. Most likely monthly or quarterly. On the other hand, it’s advisable to make it always available if you’re sharing it with your staff
How Will Your Business Plan be Presented?
Suitability is the key aspect. Will your business plan be subject to in depth analysis? As is case if it’s to raise funds. Then it’s best to present your business plan in written form. For example, a pdf converted Microsoft Word or Google Docs file. A slide pack (such as Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides) works well if you’re presenting it in person. Although, more likely, presenting it virtually these days!
Conversely, a project plan style could work well if using your business plan to run or grow your design practice. This means you can assign roles, tasks, and activities. And map out dependencies and timelines. Alternatively, if shared with your employees, a readily available summary with progress indicators can be really beneficial
What about sharing your business plan with clients, suppliers, or partner companies? You may want to provide business plan summary information on your website, social media profiles, and in client pitch packs. This could be as an elevator pitch. That’s to say, a 1-minute summary of what your design firm provides and to whom
When? The Time Period Your Business Plan Covers
A business plan needs a ‘When?’ Or a series of ‘When?s’. Without a ‘When’ we only have a dream, not a business plan. Typically, a business plan will cover a period of 2-5 years. But it could be for a shorter period if it is for a specific part of your business. For example, a new product launch. In either case, it’s advisable your business plan contains a series of target dates
The Right Business Plan. At the Right Time
Ensure your design business plan is right for you and your company. Thus, work through the why, who, how and when questions. Furthermore, a good business plan should pass the 3Rs test. It’s relevant and reflects what you want to achieve with your business. It’s also important that it’s readable to allow your audience to easily understand and digest it. Most importantly, it’s realistic. Put simply, you can achieve what your business plans says you will
Do You Want to Hear More?
YourCoachApproach is a business coach for the interior design industry. Do you want to take your interior design practice in a new direction? Does your career in corporate design leave you feeling unfulfilled? Or does the idea of working for someone else just not appeal? Take the first step. Have a look at our Business Plan Package. And find out what business coaching can do for you
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