Why does a Virtual Assistant need a Business Plan?

A VA business, like most other business types, needs to have key business foundations in place. As part of those foundations, one of the most important tasks you need to complete, is to create your business plan. Many a new business owner has assumed that this type of document is only for those looking for external funding and, if you’re not, you can just give the entire business plan a miss. However, the business plan is an often misunderstood document. It’s an essential document for ALL business owners, it sets out your business strategy.

Why all business owners need a business plan

Initially, we tend to see a business plan as a document only larger companies have. After all, they’re the ones that are looking for funding and investors. They’re the ones that need to be answerable to shareholders and boards etc. A business plan typically brings together your ideas and research around your business niche. It also helps you clarify the purpose of your business, illustrating who you’re going target, what you’re going to sell, and how you’re going to reach your ideal audience. A well laid out business plan will also show your sales and financial targets, and helps illustrate how financially viable your business will be. A business plan helps you share your business vision with others – but crucially, it also serves as a reminder of that vision to the business owner, too.

A business plan gives you direction and focus

This is why it’s an important document, regardless of how big or small your business is. The main person your business plan will benefit, is you. It helps you to stay focused on what you’re planning to do, helps you realise how you’re going to do it – and it helps you ascertain what goals and tasks you need to implement, in order to achieve it.  Your business plan is a summary of your business vision. If that vision doesn’t include needing to wow investors and bank managers, you can make a plan a simple or comprehensive as you like! The key is to make sure it’s something you find easy to read, realistic in its outcomes and user friendly for you. The plan sets out your business strategy.

What goes in your VA business plan?

A simple business plan needs to include the following:
  • Aims, objectives and the vision for your VA business
  • Your relevant experience
  • The description and purpose of your business – including the legal structure of your business
  • Your marketing strategy and plan – who you’re looking to market too, as well as how you’re going to reach them
  • A breakdown of financial requirements, as well as available funds at the start of your business
Think of it as a blueprint to success – your what, when, why, where and how, of running and growing your business. Cornerstone University have some great sample questions you could ask yourself in their recent blog post: How to create a business plan: a step by step guide but I also love how they say you don’t need to know all of the answers when you create the plan you can come back and add more to it.

Your business plan needs to be a ‘live’ document

Initially, a business plan is a document you create when you are first starting out in business. This start up stage is when you need to have the clarity around what you’re setting up and where you’re headed. However, it’s also a document that needs to be refreshed on a regular basis, especially during the growth stage of your business. It isn’t a document that should be created once, before abandoning at the bottom of a drawer – it needs to be a living, evolving document. (For those that heard me on the panel at the UK VA Conference will know my first Business Plan was 25+ pages long and lived in the bottom drawer!) As your business grows, your direction and focus will change, as you gain more clarity over what you want and the purpose of your business. There may be things you don’t yet have an answer to, as well as products and/or services you don’t yet feel confident enough to include. At a bare minimum, your goals need updating regularly, especially if you’re working to 90 day goal periods. As a VA business owner, you’ll understand the importance of being organised and focused in your business – and a business plan is a natural extension of that. This often misunderstood document is your blueprint to success, ensuring you stay focused and on track, as well as serving to show you how well your business is growing – and it’s these qualities that make it an essential tool for any business owner. There are plenty of templates out there for long and complex business plans to one and two pages, find one that works for you and more importantly – use it! Your business plan should be linked to your vision, mission and goals – if these are areas you are struggling with in your VA business then you might want to read the following blogs:  How to review and refresh your business for 2019 and “What services to offer in your Virtual Assistant Business“. Tell me in the comments below – do you have a business plan? Ensuring you have the business fundamentals and business strategy in place is a big part of setting up your VA business – if you are serious about creating the best possible VA Business and would like some help and guidance to create your VA Business Plan – then the VA Mastery Course will hand hold you through the process.  The Course is delivered through a mix of webinars, worksheets, reading materials and sample documents, it is very practical, hands-on and comprehensive.