Monday, August 15, 2011

Creating a New Coaching Business Startup

Building a Coaching/Training Business

Great! You want to make a living out of coaching and training? Many people have been there, and haven‘t really succeeded. They have made the attempt, and are back in the casual or part-time workforce, in order to support their coaching dream, or have completely abandoned it.
Depending on a few crucial points, turning a coaching hobby into a business can be daunting or enjoyable; in reality it‘s frequently a combination of the two. A number of these points can be applied to owning and running any kind of business, but a couple are specific to the training or coaching business:

Confidence in your teaching skills.

Can you justify your fees to clients if you haven‘t really developed your teaching skills? Have you overcome the disempowering inner hints telling you that you are not worth it? Do you feel you have good integrity charging the fees you have decided upon? Do you charge these fees because that is what other coaches and trainers charge? There are plenty of Joe Blows who think they can instruct other people. They think it is just giving advice and supervising and calling the shots to get it done, or simply offering some platitudes as opposed to real coaching. You will find that after a few months into your coaching and skills training that you become aware of the complex and challenging set of skills needed for this career. You become keenly aware of its difficulties. Self-doubt and discouragement begin an erosion of your confidence. Overcoming and regaining confidence in your coaching/training skills requires practice, and as much education as your time and purse will permit. You need to practice, and hire coaches/trainers whose skills far exceeds your own. Practice and read up on different coaching processes. This way you will enlarge your skills and listen to your coaching calls. Self critique and improve upon you talents.

Be willing to market your services and close the sales. This is a big stepping stone. All you want to do is coach. As a business owner with little income, you aren‘t in the position to hire marketing and sales professionals to take on this role. It is important you view coaching/training as an intimate service offering; people want to feel they can rely upon and trust you. They will need to experience your service offering before committing to buy. This experience will create a needed confidence in your ability to successfully help clients. Remember to blow your own horn and speak with certainty describing the benefits clients will experience by working with you. Many people aren‘t born with sales abilities. Personal development courses are around to help you become comfortable and proficient in selling your services and products.

Finances and time are essential to successfully building a business. It might take 2-5 years to enjoy profitability in a coaching/training business. Ideally you need to plan to have sufficient time and money until reaching sustainable profitability without feeling desperate. Clients and prospects smell desperation a mile away. Trust me; this is not a good look. The frustrations and wrestles with finances can be consuming and will impede your coaching/training abilities. You might find yourself needing to justify your worth to avoid the client sacking you. This is not fertile space needed for good coaching/training. Keeping your day job is a good sign that you are willing to act to maintain progress. Couples are a boon, where one works

Believe in yourself. Believe you are capable of achieving the business success you desire. Self belief is bolstered by a series of small successes. Reading, attending business and training seminars, watching videos and having access to a great coach all help to build an environment conducive to building and maintaining self belief. Build wisdom and competencies. You will see yourself accomplishing the needed steps to success. Coaching/training will find you examining your own beliefs and skills. You‘re ahead of the game compared to lots of new business owners.

Are you motivated by real desire to succeed in coaching/training? Desire deals with what you want and the intensity of that want. Pursuing the coaching/training role requires flexibility. Ask yourself is this what you want, and are you willing to make sacrifices or apply yourself to achieve it. You can marry coaching/training with consultancy work. Guts are needed to be responsible for your business with its ups and downs. You must have a good feel for what it takes to meet the needs of business ownership. You will find yourself doing more jobs in the business than simply coaching, training and consulting. You will be doing many jobs for at least a couple of years or more until your business becomes sustainably profitable. Don‘t succumb to disappointment – treat it as a challenge worth pursuing!

Persistence pays off! Persistence is needed when pursuing any dream. Persistence might be compared with the size of a tank, and desire – the fuel. A Mack truck desire isn‘t going to hold up if you only have a lawn mower fuel tank. There is a lot to learn about starting and building a business. Natural horsemanship used in the horse racing industry is a new service in thoroughbred training. It will take time for it to be fully embraced by the race horse industry. Inroads are already being made using well known natural horsemanship identities such as Monty Roberts, Frank Bell and John Lyons. Persistence will see you hanging in there, being flexible, and exhibiting a lot of gumption. You need a master coach to keep you growing in your coaching/training skills sets, and a great business coach to keep you business growing at a sustainable rate.

Other considerations may contribute to your business success as a coach/trainer. Lacking them does not mean failure. A business plan clarifies what you want your business to look like. It includes the kind of services you offer, to how many, and to what type of clients. The plan includes your expenses, and predicted income. What clientele do you serve? How? How will you contact them? It will feature the benefits of working with you. Marketing tasks will appear in your marketing plan. The plan is a roadmap, and designed to be flexible. You can fly by the seat of your pants. Having a map / plan will keep you on course, contain contingencies if flexibility is needed, and you can expect an easier journey. It is a true saying ‘the business that doesn‘t plan plans to fail.‘

Construct a substantial contact database. Fill it with people who know and trust you, and who would be willing to pay you in this new business. It pays to check to see if they have the financial means to afford your services. You can also start from scratch and steadily build this list of good contacts.

Substantial marketing and sales experience is a plus. It helps you to grow your business promoting and selling your services, and keeping an eye on the competition, and regulatory environment in which your business exists.
Career experience with horses, or the niche market your business is specializing or serving, is a real business plus. Lots of brilliant thriving businesses have started as hobbies. Your commitment to the transformation of a hobby into a new business venture will drive its success.

Managing a New Business Startup


Measuring Business Outcomes to Improve

The business results should be detailed in the planning stages. Many small business owners fail to understand the importance of measuring outcomes. They are frequently too busy getting other jobs done and forget to take time to measure results. Measuring results shows how well their business is going. Every new start-up business performance needs to be managed and controlled. Failure to monitor outcomes, can result in an inability to achieve goals. Not measuring results, means you may not comprehend the problems.

Results you need to measure and monitor include:

leads and referrals
staff productivity
complaints and returns
debtor and creditor days.

Start Somewhere
Gathering information and analysing results, paves the way to improving the process of measuring them. Another bonus of measuring results is being able to spot the issues and having sufficient time to address them. This will enable the business owner to see how well the business is performing against the plan. If the business performance falls below expectations, one can step in and make changes.

Basic Business Mathematics

Basic Finance Concepts – free course  

Book keeping and Accounting

Grants to New Business Startups

Grants to new businesses in Australia aren‘t all that well publicised.

A brief look using the Grantfinders reveals

Could natural horsemanship supply benefits the horse racing industry...

Look at the R&D Plan

The objectives

Reduce the incidence and impact of diseases and parasites in horses.
Reduce injury and breakdown of horses in work and training.
Improve productivity in breeding.
Improve the safety of industry participants and the welfare of horses, and enhance the environmental sustainability of the industry.
Promote the quality, quantity and effective communication of R&D for the horse industry.

This plan covers 2006 - 2011. Get involved. Find out future initiatives and see if it is possible for you to participate.

Common Mistakes of Business Startups

Starting out in business is difficult. You have great ideas and are brimming with confidence - but sales are growing slowly. At least a third of all new business start-ups fail within their first year and half will fail within five years. This is no reason for becoming negative and giving up your dream. In this section I would like to help you keep your business intact by revealing common mistakes startup businesses make and offering advice that you will find interesting and useful.


Lots of money is not going to get you what you need. It is a fact that lean startup businesses do better than their wealthy counterparts. Why? Lean finances stimulate creativity which will motivate you to arrive at unique ways of getting what you want. Businesses that are financially comfortable, relax. The growth fails to reach targets, and the business suffers.

Taking out loans to fix the lean capital problem will see your profit margin eroded by loan repayments. This can cripple a business‘ working capital and its ability to service its clients. Seeking an investor to inject funds into a business startup will bring with it the loss of control. The investor is not going to supply funds without demanding a say in the way the business is managed and the direction it should take. The dissatisfied investor might legally take the business from you, and you will be left with disillusionment and a nasty taste in your mouth. Pitching to investors takes you away from your core business. Startup businesses are usually knocked back by investors. This loss of time will reduce your business progress. Consider how much better off you would be financially by working on the business instead.

Increased profitability brings with it a desire to spend. Don‘t spend your seed. You need to save from your profits and build a ‘cushion‘ to protect you from an economic downturn. Business continues in cycles of peaks and troughs. Savings will minimise the impact of a trough on your business operations. The farmer who spends all their seed will have nothing to plant and no future harvest.


Your business will grow to be successful and you will find you will need to engage employees to help cope with the rising demands. Before you race to do this - step into the role you hope an employee will fill. Do it for a couple of weeks. Find the obstacles an employee will encounter, experience them for yourself, and find solutions for them.

Whilst it is a smart move to hire talented employees, it isn‘t financially feasible for most business start-ups. Talented employees will demand high salaries, they are not often in for the long haul, definitely not fast workers, and tend to become entrenched in their ways of doing things. In fact you may be flushing money straight down the drain. If you want talented personnel, go and hire new graduates because they will work harder for a fraction of the price, and are more flexible. This flexibility suits a new business as it needs to adapt rapidly to the changes in its markets in order to survive.

Thinking Big versus Thinking Small

If you have aspirations of becoming a huge company overnight then forget it. Google started in a backyard shed. Large companies – Microsoft, and Apple - frequently had small beginnings. They didn‘t have big thoughts when they started.

You are a small startup business and have agility on your side. Larger bureaucratised companys, with their many layers of management, impede the speed of decision-making resulting in delayed responses to market changes. They can‘t react fast enough in a rapidly changing marketplace. Thinking big in this arena will see you spending more money than you‘ve got and you will become too slow.

Agility is an advantage and you have it. You will be able to move faster than the larger players regardless of your smaller resources. A small team, little cash – you will do what you need to do to survive. You can start with next to nothing for capital and grow by focussing on the benefits and advantages you have to offer as a small business. You have greater expertise and speed of execution. Thinking small? Actually you are a ‘boutique’. Tiny business? No, think of yourselves as being personalised.


Never underestimate the importance of sales. New business start-ups need to place most of their attention on sales and revenue. When your sales grow, you will eventually find your expenses being easier to manage. Irrespective of size, your great sales ability will keep business rolling in through your door. It is good to practice on family and friends to fine tune your selling skills. Your vision and the wants of your customers may be at odds. Survey your clients and prospects to work out what they want, and why they want it. Knowing why a client wants a particular service will go a long way to create a pleasing service. If you can create a product or service where customers would be disappointed if it didn‘t exist, then, you will become more profitable.


Thinking you know more than your competition is foolish. Don‘t ever underestimate your competition; they might look stupid, but they are still able to build a larger business than your own. Networking with others, asking them for their opinions and help will bring savings in time and money, and ideally improved insight into your competition.


Develop a vision of what you want your business to become in the future. A well focused vision will improve your chances of achieving your goal. If you can translate that vision into things which need to be done, then, you will have a roadmap helping you reach your goal.
          The business realm is quite complex. Mistakes will cost. Racing to expand and achieve your envisaged goals can end in disaster. Learn to crawl before you start walking. Your business is your baby. You are a new entrant, experienced or naieve, there is much to learn before you start running and playing in the big fellas game. If you chose to expand quickly by creating multiple revenue streams you will struggle to find enough time in one day to run these additional businesses. Success is more likely to occur if you focus your time and energy into the one business. Learn to lead in your own space.
Becoming dominant in your own space will increase the value of your business and be easier for you when starting to expand. It will be easier for clients to accept the new businesses because they are familiar with your brand and service/product offerings.

Emotional Decision-making

Avoid it at all costs. When you were a child you thought like a child. You felt emotions with those thoughts and made decisions based upon how you felt and not logically. You cannot make sound business decisions if your emotions control your thinking and actions. Step back out of the situation. Calm down. Then you can re-evaluate the situation and make a logical decision.


The business startup sees the founders filling required rolls and controlling everything. Eventually you will have grown sufficiently to need to get your accountant to do your bookkeeping, engage a recruiter to hire employees, and someone to manage. Regardless of these new arrangements, you must know what is happening so you can avoid mistakes that will be made by even the smartest of your employees.
Beginning a business is difficult. Many founders don‘t realise how easy it is to ruin a business. If you do make mistakes, then welcome to the real world. You can learn from them – and that is what will make you a successful business founder. You have the smarts to learn and keep moving ahead.

Startup Marketing

Marketing needs you to plan. Winging it will only get you so far. You will hobble your success more than you can imagine if you don't commit time to create a marketing plan and make yourself adhere to it. Of course, you need flexibility to vary plans as situations change, and you will still need to know how to get where you are aiming to go.

Marketing builds on itself. It's the life blood of your business and brand. Immediate success is uncommon when you start to market. Committing to a long-term marketing plan, you will not only see your success emerge, you will see the success become stronger over time. It's an amazing thing to have to re-evaluate your goals because you are exceeding them ahead of your planned schedule.

Your existing knowledge will only take you so far. If you are in business for the long haul, you have to build into your marketing plan the time and resources to increase your knowledge. Things change in every industry. By staying stagnant, you risk being left behind. Dinosaurs are easy to find and, sadly, will eventually become extinct. Continue to change with the needs of clients, by feeding yourself a steady educational diet – be on the cutting edge of the equine consulting industry.

Are you intimidated by the thought of marketing your business? Does a do-it-yourself marketing effort appear daunting? In your day to day business, focus on what your clients need and how you can meet those needs. Build your marketing strategies and materials with the client at the forefront of your mind. Good marketing messages focus on what clients need.

Customer Service

Effective customer service is a good asset, and great in providing for repeat customers.
Create customers who are as excited about your products and service as you are. These customers will possibly become your best sales people. You won‘t need to pay commission.
It is important not to forget the valuable strategy of profit maximisation through repeat sales.

Poor customer service is seen in businesses that argue over a few dollars mistake with a customer who contributes $250 per annum in sales revenue. If you are aware a customer is manipulating you, endeavour to appease their complaint to avoid the risk of ten others bad mouthing you. Having done your best, you can refuse to do business again with chronically-whinging customers.

Good marketing will see an increase in communications traffic which might catch you by surprise. You, as a small business owner, may not have employees. You will be the person customers come to. Under the pressure of a schedule, will you have time to listen to their need or complaint, and, supply a reasonable response? Will you be able to follow up quickly?

Have little plans in place help you

Quality Plan – details the definition of your service and products, factoring in customer need, expenses, competition – these are the aspects that define quality for your clients. Here you will need to define the breadth of assortment your service and product offering. Are you able to customise your offerings to meet the need of clients. When selling products is it easy for customers to buy from you? Are these products durable and easy to use?

Communications Plan – How will clients be able to let you know they want extra? What plans have you got to ensure they get it swiftly? How do customers place orders or make bookings? Is voicemail enough? Do you need a fax machine? Have you reached the growth stage where a live answering service and pager will be valuable?

Supplier Plan – Design this relying upon the information in the Quality Plan and Communications Plan. You will need to locate suppliers of products and services who you know will be able to deliver the level of quality you are assuring. Be fully informed of their services so that you can tell a customer on the phone whether or not you can deliver what they want.

Personnel Plan – How well can you cope with sales/client prospecting, sales/client support and customer service by yourself? Does your business require written contracts? Proposals? Bids/tendering? Are you able to prepare these swiftly and professionally? How much travel will you be doing? Who, if anyone will be filling in whilst you are out and about? Will a laptop and broadband be useful here?

Service/Product Development Plan - Are you able to design a system for developing new products/services in a systematic manner. Will you need external advisors to help this along? Think of how you will evaluate likely expenses and sales revenue?

Commit to writing you customer service philosophy, the helpful little plans, and your operational details. Remember, in the future you will have employees and casuals. They need to see it, in order to facilitate consistent level of customer service. Stay true to your customer service plans; it will become clearly obvious that employees will be required to satisfy your customers

The Dream

Your business is an endeavour to make a dream come true. Many clients want to know you care when you exchange services and products for their hard earned cash. ―Thank you brings smiles. Try calling new clients after their first lesson to see if it was to their satisfaction. Let them know you appreciate their business. Keep your promises.

Your clients are also sources of new product ideas. Needs change over time. If your clients are comfortable with you, then they will free to discuss these changing needs with you, including their new wants. Clients want to feel they are receiving value for their money, and the sense that they are appreciated for dealing with you.

What to consider when creating good Customer Service Strategy:

Is it easy for clients to contact you personally?
How many people do clients need to speak with to receive customer service?
Do you have clearly explained pricing policies?
Have you designed Credit, Returns, Custom Order policies to please clients or your bookkeeping system?
In all honesty, do your services and products match benefits offered in your advertising?
Is it easy for your customers to order? Pay?
Do you supply an easy way for clients to voice complaints?
Is everyone dealing with your clients trained in the features and benefits of your service/product offerings?
Does your business have Yellow Pages Listing?
Do your business details and BN appear on sales literature, letterheads and receipts?
Do you inform clients of delays in service or product delivery?
If you answered ‘no‘ to any of these questions, then how can you correct this?

The Brand

Do you think having a logo and a brief description of your services is all you need to establish your brand? Branding is the perception you create in the minds of others. It goes before you and tells people much of what you want to say, when introducing your business to a new client.
Your brand will define and describe your horse consultancy. Good branding will set you apart from your competitors. Your brand covers everything your consultancy does, from the first contact with a prospective client to how your services/products are defined and sold. You can make yourself so positively memorable that clients and prospects will look for your business or pick you over your competitors. Take a look at two car manufacturers, BMW and Holden. Both manufacturers sell cars for different reasons. BMW is perceived as selling luxurious sporty vehicles with the comfort of a limousine, the budget conscious would not approach BMW. Regardless, they both sell cars based upon reliability.

The primary reason you create and build a brand, is to set yourself apart from your competitors in the marketplace. Promotion of your business and development of services and products is much easier. They are much easier to define and design when focussed around your well defined brand.

How to Create Your Own Brand

Your brand must reveal

Who you are

What you do

How you do it

What benefits folk will receive using your business.

Your brand has to establish your equine consultancy and credibility in the perception of prospective clients. For this to occur you have to describe what you want your business, services, and products tell others.

Begin with the Mission Statement

Mission Statement – This is an overarching realistic and focused statement of what you want your business to be and do as it operates. It communicates values, vision, and purpose. In fact it is your business‘ reason for being. The mission statement is created with different uses and forms in mind. For example, some businesses use their mission statement as a publicity tool. Others have an inside-use only mission statement that acts as a guide for leadership decisions, and still others publish their mission statements in annual reports meant to be read by investors and potential clients.

Try this:

Our mission is to provide each client a safe, supportive learning environment coupled with challenging natural equine education that promotes responsibility and excellence in horse handling

When taking business decisions, check to see if they align with the Mission, reinforce your business‘ values, and also if their outcomes result in progression towards your Vision.You may wonder about a Vision Statement. It is the image of the future you wish to create in the minds of prospective clients. A Vision statement can be incorporated into the Mission Statement. They can be difficult to write. They need to be short, clear, and concise.memorable and engagin. Vision statement is desirable.

Have a look at McDonald‘s Vision Statement:

`"McDonald's vision is to be the world's best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile."

Notice how it cleverly sits inside its Mission Statement.

What about creating a short pitch‘? This is a few sentences that you would use to describe your business in the time it takes to travel in an elevator or a few minutes. You can use this to respond to new individuals who want to know what you do‘. You can also use it as an introduction whilst networking. Describing what your business, services, and products say is integral to successful branding. Imagine you are a client.

What things would you seek from this business‘s products and services?

Product/service features
Availability / Scarcity
How and when delivered.

You will be able to identify more which relate to your business. Using these terms you can define who, what, and where you are. You might design something like this:

‘We provide some of the best accredited natural horsemanship training in Queensland. Our services are of the highest quality as we continue to learn and improve upon our skills from the masters. At Soul Horse, we want to ensure that our training will be useful and deliver good value to you.’

This paragraph might serve as a Mission Statement of an equine consultancy. It defines what You are selling, to whom, and established credibility. Soul Horse is an easy-to-remember catchy brand name. You need to be recognised by your clients and prospects. This is where you logo and tag line play an essential part. Your logo reflects your brand. It should be simple and recognisable. Your logo needs to appear on all communications, website, products, marketing materials and advertising.
Your tag line describes what you do. It serves to differentiate you from inferior firms in your Industry.

Nike has this tag line – ―Just do it.
Soul Horse has –―A Magical bond between Horse and Human.

Finally, be consistent with all of your brand promotions. Don‘t make the mistake of changing it. People are better able to remember your brand the more they see it. Regular marketing will facilitate the building of your credibility, and your relevance to you targeted prospective clients and existing clients in your market. Your brand says who you are and permits you to pre-sell your services and products . As your business becomes more established, the brand will make it easy to get new services and products accepted.

The Promotion

Tips for improving your online presence:

Your website is your 24 hours a day, 7 days a week shop front.

Is it simple and easy to navigate?
Do your contact details appear on every webpage?
Make sure your offerings are clear.
Is it easy for your clients or just satisfying for the web designer?
Update it regularly.
Does it generate traffic?
Include useful content.
Publish articles on your website.
Publish articles in other peoples newsletters and include your web address.
Write about things which are commonly asked questions from your target market. Make it available on your website.
Capture contact information of leads and prospects.
Supply Tips.
Write blogs. Make useful comments on other peoples blogs which are relevant to your target market and include your website address.
Email Newsletter – you will have a direct line of communication with people who have chosen to receive them. Depending on the amount of information you have to share with readers, you may want to make it weekly, fortnightly, and at a minimum monthly. It can
consist of two thirds of rich information, and the remainder being promotional material.
Make good use of social and professional online networks. Eg LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Here you can showcase your expertise, supply announcements of your business, and share interesting sites.
Share videos and podcasts which are regular and relevant, directly communicating with your target market who will be expecting to hear from you.

Basics of Startup Business Plan

Having a good product, great marketing, and excellent financial management are key components of a successful business. Do we have these keys? A good way to find out is to conduct an investigation into your business‘s strengths and weaknesses. Carry out an examination of the environment, in which your business operates, looking for opportunities and threats. Business savvy people call this the SWOT analysis. – Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats. This is essential groundwork for the preparation of a good business plan. You can carry out a SWOT analysis of your business as it stands today. Discover needs and decide upon ways to address those needs. In three months time, you can repeat your SWOT analysis to see how you are progressing in general.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths – We have feature Y; nobody else has it.
Weaknesses – We don‘t supply 24/7 support and that is increasingly being requested. Our prices are higher that our competitors
Opportunities – In the economic downturn, we are leaner than some of our competitors, we could grow at a faster rate than most.
Threats – We are Brisbane-based; many of our clients are in semi-rural to rural areas.

When looking at existing problems/benefits, ask yourself if it is a problem that needs fixing or do we have a benefit that needs nurturing. Bear in mind that no business is perfect. As long as the business is functioning reasonably well with problems - fixing the worst bits is a good choice.

If you need to deal with a problem, then ask

What caused it?
How is it limiting the business?
If it is allowed to remain, what are the long-term consequences?
Is this a recurring problem?


Identify at least three achievable solutions...
Decide which of these solutions you prefer...
Assess what that will do for you...
Investigate how you can make that happen...
Ask how you can use the obstacle to increase your success...

Putting this into practice will give you a good problem-solving model upon which you can rely upon time and time again.

Changes occur in the business environment in which you operate. These can pose threats, or, be seen to be opportunities. New laws may be introduced requiring a change in the way the business operates. There will be costs attached to adapting to the new legislation. Natural horsemanship skills are being taught in university courses for veterinarians, agricultural studies, and equine studies. This is an opportunity to assist students with clinics. Contacting the school will help you to contact the relevant lecturers who might be happy to use clinics to enrich the subject offerings.

Having done a SWOT analysis you are now ready to begin work on your start up business plan. In the course of creating a plan, you need to be as realistic as possible. Use a logical flow of relevant items that which will agree with the various aspects of the business plan. For example, you might want to increase the amount of First Level Natural Horsemanship instructors to run clinics and cut the number of clinics to contain costs. You will be faced with an inconsistency. A reader of your plan may see the seeds of new competition emerging as the idle First Level Natural Horsemanship instructors decide to start new businesses apart from and in competition with you. You would be best to increase your revenue by utilising these instructors without cutting clinics.

Consider and describe who is purchasing your services/products? Isn‘t it amazing? People who see your product/service frequently purchase out of greed, fear and laziness. Does your sales process cover all of these motives?

Decide where you want to be in the future. Business plans will show how well the business owners know their business. The plan, itself, will reveal the degree of owners understanding to savvy readers. For this reason, it is a good idea for the business owners to be vitally involved in the writing of a business plan. The selection of a business consultant to write a more formal plan, in the future, should carry with it great wisdom if business owners make a substantial contribution to the formal plan. Smart investors steer clear of investing in businesses whose owners who show they don‘t understand the business; the reasoning being:

‘if you don‘t understand it – you can‘t manage it‘.

Outline of Basic Startup Business Plan

Executive Summary
Company Description
Nature of the business
The Industry
Marketplace Needs
Method(s) to Satisfy Those Needs
Unique Competencies
Market Analysis
Industry Description and Outlook
Target Market
Market Consultation
Competition (SWOT)
Marketing and Promotion
Overall Marketing Strategy
Ongoing Market Evaluation
Customer Profile
Today's Customer
Tomorrow's Customer
Sales Strategies
Sales Force
Sales Activities
Management and Ownership
Company Structure and Policy
Key Management and Operating Personnel
Legal Structure
Expert Advisors
Economics of the Business
Revenue Models
Balance Sheet
3 Year Cashflow Forecast
Worst Case Contingency Plan

You now have a very brief description of a business plan. They are normally much more involved than I have mentioned here and are the subject of a new book on Business Planning.
Modifications can be introduced to meet the needs of your audience. The business start up will initially rely upon the plan to direct its growth and success. Later you may need to apply for a loan – so the plan can be modified to meet the needs of a banker audience. If you decide you would like to bring in an investor, then the plan will be changed to present to the needs of investors.

You will also realise that much work occurs and time passes in the creation of a business plan. Depending on the business and its audience a good business plan may take several months to compile. It is good to regularly refer to your business plan, make adjustments, note your progress, and record changes etc. By doing this you will really understand your business, and have collected enough information to make a substantial contribution to a consultant when you need a formal business plan.