A business plan provides a clearly defined road map for successfully launching and/or growing your Web design business. It is essential in securing startup financing, but its role in helping you to develop and successfully execute your vision is vital.
A coherent business plan also alerts potential clients, contractors, suppliers, funding sources, etc. that you are serious about your business. Keep it simple; your business plan will grow along with your Web design business.
This is the introduction to your Web design business plan, and it’s your opportunity to give a persuasive sales presentation for your company. Briefly describe your mission, business objectives and give a very short overview of your plan to fulfill the mission and business objectives while weaving a riveting story. This is your opportunity to grab the reader’s attention.
The rest of the business plan proves your worth. Don’t be surprised if you rewrite this section at the end, because you will gain a better understanding of how to “sell” your Web design business as you work through the other sections.
How you conduct your business is often a function of the services you offer. Use this section to describe your business structure (sole proprietorship, partnership or corporate entity). How will you staff your business—with contractors, employees, or a combination of the two? Describe which administrative and client functions will be handled in-house and which will be outsourced.
List your startup menu of services—will you offer comprehensive services in-house, including Web hosting? Or, will you consult with the client and farm out the work, overseeing the various stages of implementation? Will you maintain the site for the client after it’s launched, develop and back end and/or offer technical support to your clients?
Use this section of the business plan to describe the type of clients your Web design business will target. Will you target a specific sector or industry, or will it target clients in a specific geographic location? Will your business target small businesses, startups, individuals or enterprise markets? Will you target e-commerce customers?
In this section, discuss the competitive landscape after conducting a SWOT analysis—where you objectively examine the strengths and weaknesses of your Web design business as well as opportunities and threats to your business.
At the conclusion of this analysis, you will have a clear idea of your competitive advantage, and it will help you to develop this section. You’ll highlight your strengths and downplay your weaknesses, define your competition and compare your business to theirs while maintaining objectivity.
This section of the business plan will deal with sales projections and how you plan to meet those forecasts. Typically, the plan will project out three years. You’ll list projected outflow—overhead fixed and non-fixed expenses such as salaries, commissions on sales, etc., as well as inflow—how much business you plan to attract and your profit goal for each of those years, based on the pricing of your services.
Give some estimation of how many clients you will need to reach your goal and a projected breakdown of revenues from each of your services. Remember to take into consideration any price increases over the next three years. Charts and graphs are a nice touch, but they’re not mandatory.
Use the marketing section of your business plan to describe how you will package your services. Describe your pricing, including special promotions, credit terms, and special discounts for repeat customers.
Explain how your pricing is competitive while allowing your business to maintain a sustainable profit margin. Describe in as much detail as possible your branding, advertising and sales strategy and end the section by explaining why your marketing strategy is a winning strategy.
After you complete a rough draft, you might want to contact your local Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). They are a volunteer arm of the SBA, and they will gladly help you tweak your Web design business plan—gratis.