Understanding Virtual Assisting – Part 11 – Writing Your Business Plan

Updated on: by Leisa Good

If you have been following this series, then you’ll recall that to date we’ve discussed what a virtual assistant (VA) is and does. We have also discussed some of the steps to planning your virtual assistant practice, transitioning into it, and finding clients.

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If you haven’t been following this series or seem to have forgotten parts of it, you may go to the navigation bar, click on “Virtual Assisting” and follow the drop-down menu to the “Series”.

Now we will discuss how to write a business plan. Don’t let this scare you. It’s not as difficult as it seems and there are plenty of online resources to help you with this task.

One of the first places that I would recommend going would be to the SCORE.org web site and downloading a few of the Templates and Tools on their navigation bar. SCORE (Service Corps or Retired Executives) is a non-profit organization, which works directly with the US Small Business Association (SBA) to assist entrepreneurs and small businesses in growing and succeeding. Many of the volunteers at SCORE are former entrepreneurs, small business owners or CEOs of companies.

A business plan will help your VA practice define its goals and objectives and have a time line for achieving them. Also at this time, you may also want to consider writing a mission statement (business philosophy) for your business. A good resource to begin writing your mission statement would be to go to missionstatements.com web site. Click on a few examples, and you should get an idea of how to write the mission statement for your VA practice.

A well-written business plan will help you each month:
• Evaluate how well your business does in operations and finances
• Project monthly cash flow
• Access ROI (return on investment) of marketing results
• Examine “Profit and Loss Statements” to help with taxes

A business plan can be a six-month plan, a two-year plan or for any time frame. The important thing to remember is that you will be revisiting it and revising it as your VA business grows and changes. You will also need to indicate the last revision date somewhere in the footer or on the cover page of the document. A well-written business plan can take several weeks to write, so take your time writing it.

 

What do you need to include in your business plan? Here is a list with a brief description of each item:

• Cover sheet – include your company name, logo, and contact information.
Table of Contents – this will tell you which page to find your information
Company Overview – describe your business, its location, and services
Mission Statement – include your mission statement as previously discussed
Goals – include your company’s goals for the time frame
Objectives – take your goals and decide how to reach each one with a deadline
Financial Objectives – decide how much you need to make and spend each month
Marketing Plan – include your target market (niche) and how you will reach them
Pricing and Pricing Plans – outline what you will charge for your services
Skill Assessment – include skills you currently offer and skills you may offer or outsource
Advertising Plan – estimate what you will spend and where you will spend it
Sales Projections – estimate what your sales will be for the end of the time frame
Financial Plan – list sources of revenue that will carry your business through this period

The items that I have listed above are probably one of the simpler business plans. As you can see, a business plan is not something that you can sit down and write in an afternoon. Yet, it doesn’t have to be a long, complex document either. Again, I would recommend going to the SCORE web site to get started or having another VA help you get started.

 

For those of you who have already written your business plan, how are you doing with it? Are you reaching most of your goals or is your business plan in revision mode?

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Leisa Good

February 29, 2012 at 6:48 am

Like I always say, “Write it first. Then get it right.”

Jess

March 1, 2012 at 10:41 am

Nice article Leisa. Glad you have taken the time to give us such an awesome resource!

Leisa Good

March 1, 2012 at 7:53 pm

You are very welcome, Jess. I cannot say enough about the helpful resources at SCORE.

Annie

March 2, 2012 at 8:29 pm

If you are planning on using cheap outsourcers to do the real donky work of blogging do you think its worth having a plan like this to show them where you are going or would you think you are better just giving them instructions to follow to complete the tasks you need?

Leisa Good

March 2, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Annie, I think it is always good to have a business plan. Now don’t confuse a business plan with a contract to establish SOW (standards of work) with your outsourcers or contractors.

After they have signed the contract, you would definitely want them to have clear instructions or training from you.

You may even want to mention parts of your business plan (company overview, mission statment, and goals) in the contract. This would be one way to determine if they are a good fit for your business and it’s philosophy.