Starting an MSP company is an overwhelming undertaking. Developing your services, attracting your target audience, finding high-quality leads and customers, promoting your brand, estimating costs and analyzing your risks all need to be addressed at the very beginning of venturing into a small business. You might wonder how in the world you’re going to deal with all these start-up issues. The answer is a solid business plan.
What is a Business Plan?
Before attempting to create a business plan for your MSP company, make sure you know what it is. It’s a formal statement that outlines your business goals, and how to reach them. It helps you understand what your business is about, and how you can make it a success. You can develop a simple business plan of only a few pages, or you can create a lengthy plan that fills a notebook. No matter which plan you choose, the basic tenets are the same, to plan for a successful business.
What Can a Business Plan Do for You?
If you’re still not convinced that you need a business plan, take a look at the benefits it can have for your company:
- Guide for the future direction of your business
- Helps you operate your business more efficiently
- Encourages entrepreneurial learning
- Helps you understand more about the dynamics of your business
- Defines your short-term and long-term goals
What to Include in a Business Plan
No matter what your business, all business plans are similar. They’re created to help you define how your business will make a profit, and how the business will give you a return on your time and financial investment.
If you already have an established MSP business, updating your business plan can help you expand your business. An updated plan keeps you competitive and on track for adapting to new situations.
Whether you’re developing a plan for a new business or an existing one, every business plan should include the following items:
- Detailed market research
- Analytical industry data
- Financial analysis
- Projected cash flow
- Competitor assessments
- Organizational plan
- Establish order and structure
- Description of products and services
- Marketing strategy
- Internal strengths and weaknesses
- Income statement
- Risk factors
How to Include Your Team in the Business Plan
When creating your business plan, integrate your team into the plan. Your team is a large part of whether your company succeeds. Once you set your business goals, work with your team to achieve not only your goals, but your team members’ goals.
Since teams have so much diversity, establishing the responsibilities, time allotment for tasks, and understanding the diverse opinions and interests of team members goes a long way toward a successful, functional business.
Following a business plan reduces team conflicts as you all work together for common goals. If your plan has a clear business scope, all your team members will work toward the goals and milestones set in the plan, establishing a more effective team.
What Are Your Goals Outside the Company?
When you organize your business plan, think about your external goals, such as the need for consultants, investors, distributors, marketers or software developers. Incorporating external goals into your plan is critical for ensuring your business success.
Other external factors to consider that will prepare you for obstacles outside your control:
- Government policy
Use your business plan as a tool to accomplish the goals you’ve set for your MSP company. Consider it your roadmap to success. Just like any roadmap you use to reach a destination, you often have to change course along the way. Your business plan is dynamic and requires constant revisions, preparing you to meet challenges, new opportunities and changes in the industry.