Already Written Your Business Plan? Here’s What to Do Next

February 13, 2024

Completing a business plan is a significant milestone for any aspiring entrepreneur, marking the shift from vision to strategic roadmap.

As a small business owner, the immediate post-business-plan phase involves crucial steps that breathe life into your venture. From assembling a capable team to addressing legal requirements and securing funding, these actions are instrumental in turning your business blueprint into a realized, thriving enterprise.

Fill out the necessary business documents

Filing the right legal documents is pivotal since you’ll want to start with your affairs in order out of the gate (and changing them after the fact can be a long and challenging process).

Begin with your company’s Articles of Incorporation. These establish your business name, purpose, structure and contact information. Your state government will likely want you to provide a copy of this as well. Plus, crafting strong agreements or contracts among partners helps to define roles and expectations, preventing potential conflicts down the line.

From there, you’ll need to file for an Employer Identification Number, or EIN, with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Your EIN acts as a kind of Social Security Number for your business and you’ll need one if you want to open a bank account or pay taxes through your business.

Next, select the appropriate legal entity for your new company. This forms the groundwork for your company’s formal recognition by the state. Some common business entities include:

  • Sole proprietorship: Ideal for single-owner businesses seeking simplicity.
  • Limited liability company (LLC): Offers flexibility and liability protection for small to medium-sized businesses.
  • Corporation: Suited for larger businesses with multiple stakeholders, providing strong liability protection.
  • Partnership: Ideal for businesses with multiple owners who share decision-making responsibilities.

Build your team

When hiring employees for a new business, it's essential to look beyond technical skills. Seek out individuals who not only meet job requirements but also share a genuine passion for your business mission. Craft clear job roles and responsibilities, which can be used to guide you through the hiring process. Plus, compelling job descriptions can help you attract candidates who are a cultural fit for the kind of business you’re looking to build.

During interviews, assess both technical competencies and soft skills. You’re looking for candidates who are qualified for the job both on and off paper, keeping in mind that they will play a big role in boosting morale and getting along with others on your newly built team. To help evaluate their practical abilities, you may also want to consider giving interviewees trial tasks or projects to complete. 

It can be beneficial to keep in mind the benefits of diversity and inclusivity, too, as these create a workplace where different perspectives contribute to innovation and research has shown diverse teams are more creative.

Get funding

Securing adequate funding is a critical step in fueling the growth of your business. This phase involves a comprehensive exploration of various funding options tailored to support your business's unique trajectory:

  • Business loans: Conduct rigorous research into available loan options, terms and interest rates to establish a stable financial foundation.
  • Investment opportunities: Explore angel investors and venture capitalists, pitching your business concept to potential investors to highlight its value proposition and growth potential.
  • Crowdfunding campaigns: Consider using platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo to engage a broader community in supporting your business vision.

You’ll stand the best chance of getting funding if you conduct a thorough, diligent assessment of your needs. A good understanding of your finances is core to a compelling business case: you’ll want to outline the intended use of funds, anticipated returns and the overall viability of your business. This can enhance your credibility with prospective investors and increase the likelihood of securing the financial support necessary for your business aspirations.

Develop a marketing strategy

Marketing plays a pivotal role in connecting your business with its target audience. To effectively engage customers, start by defining your target market and crafting a unique value proposition that sets your enterprise apart.

Develop a comprehensive marketing plan that spans both online and offline channels, tapping into social media and digital strategies to maximize reach and impact. Your marketing plan should describe how you’ll: 

  • Define your target market and unique value proposition, pinpointing your specific audience and what sets your business apart.
  • Build a social media presence and digital channels to enhance brand visibility and collect a following.
  • Regularly monitor and adjust strategies based on analytics to optimize campaign performance.
  • Focus on building a strong and consistent brand identity to foster trust and loyalty.
  • Build a website that’s visually appealing, has critical business information (e.g., address and phone number) that’s easy to find and good search keywords that describe the company and its services.

Regularly evaluate the performance of your campaigns and adapt them to align with customer preferences and market trends. Marketing is not a one-and-done task; it requires steady upkeep and constant iteration to reach your audience and message them effectively.

Establish your financials

You’ll need to closely monitor your money, especially as you’re starting out. Begin by implementing effective accounting and financial tracking systems that give you a comprehensive view of your business's economic health. Budgeting and financial projections will help you gain control over your resources, help you when you’re applying for a loan and set you up for future strategic planning. You’ll also want to consider setting up easy ways to send invoices, pay employees and manage your expenses.

Selecting the right business banking partner is a key decision, so it's essential to choose a financial institution that aligns with your business needs. In the beginning, your needs may be straightforward, but as you grow, so will they. That means it’s vital to pick a business bank that can grow with your business, too.

As with all important business matters, it’s crucial to seek professional advice. A wise accountant can be a great addition to your inner circle, as they can help you figure out the best strategies for your company. A banking professional is also critical, as you’ll want to develop a financial relationship early, should you need to seek out financing later on.

After finalizing your business plan, taking strategic steps is vital for transforming your vision into reality. From filing legal documents to building a capable team, securing funding, developing a marketing strategy and establishing solid financials, these actions are pivotal. Your journey to grow your business is unique and Northwest Bank is here to guide you every step of the way.