Business Plan Decoded

You’re a very handy man. Very. You can fix anything, you can fix things that don’t even exist, THAT’S how good you are. So naturally, you’re going to start a handyman business on Earnest.com. But before you can leverage your skills into cash, you need a basic plan. Hey, plans are handy too!

A business plan is basically a plan…for your business. Easy enough. Some people will say your plan needs to look a certain way, contain a million specific little sections, cover every possible base, but I say bunk! Your business plan needs to address a few key aspects of your business, sure, but there’s no wrong way to write a business plan. It’s there to help you clarify your goals for the business and help you think through a basic roadmap for achieving them. That’s it.

Doing a little background research and putting your plans to paper can go a long way for making a great idea into an even greater reality.  A few things you might want to include:

Executive Summary

-What is your company’s mission? This doesn’t have to be written in “hang it on the wall in gold lettering” quality. Trust me, you’ll have plenty of time for revision before it lands on your letterhead.

-This is a good place to state the problem you’re out to solve. For example, “not many people have the skills to tackle a variety of home-maintenance and they don’t have the money to spend on highly-specialized help for everyday problems”…or something like that…

Business/Product Description

-What is your product? How does your product reflect your mission and solve the problem you just stated?

-What handyman skills do you provide? What do you bring to the table that other handymen don’t?

Target Market

-Who is going to buy your services? Everyone could use a handyman, but some are more likely to buy a handyman’s services than others. Are they usually over 20? Female? How much money do they make a year? Do they use the internet a lot? (that’s where they’ll find you, remember!)

-You can even find out how big the market is for home-repair in your community. Your local library has loads of easy-to-use databases that help you identify your market (ask your librarian), right down to the exact service you provide! You can even find out how many handyman services are already at work in your area so you know how stiff the competition will be. I parsed the databases for my business and honestly, I had a disturbing amount of fun doing it.

Plan To Gain Market Share

-You did your library research and found out that people in your community spent 10 million dollars on home improvement services last year! Hooray! Here’s where you plan out how you plan to grab up your share of that pretty 10 million dollar pie.

-How will you appeal to your target market? Why will clients choose you over other handymen? (refer to your mission) After spending some time checking out the competition, what do they do wrong and how do you plan to get right?

Benchmarks

-How will you measure success? Say you plan to get started on Earnest.com next week. When do you expect to get your first customer and what steps will you take to not only get that customer, but get her to come back?

-How about down the road? Example: “In 6 months, I plan to do 20 jobs per week with 60% of customers coming back. Or, I plan to make contact with 5 new clients per week and see a .2% income growth week to week.” What steps do you plan to take to ensure that your workload grows and your clients keep coming back? How about a year from now?

Whatever your benchmarks are, make sure they’re achievable, and measurable.  Remember, it’s always better to under promise and over deliver, even to yourself.

Startup capital 

-How much money will you need to get started? Getting on Earnest.com is free, but do you already have the tools you need? Do you need business cards? Do you need a little extra cash for some new boots? Car-wash money?

-In order to start successfully you need to start lean-meaning keep your overhead low. Don’t cut corners, just make sure that you’re spending money you NEED to spend, not money you WANT to spend. List necessary expenses here, making sure to keep that number as small as possible to yield greater returns.

Now take this list and add and subtract sections based on what works for you. There’s no wrong way to write a business plan except for not writing one at all.


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