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Startups on tight budgets are making their wish lists for next year, and they’re looking for ways to do more with less! Now (before the holidays) is the time to start thinking about strategies, technology solutions, and changes that will make a difference in 2016. There are more than 27 million small businesses in the United States alone, so how are you going to make sure yours stands out? A fantastic business plan, a technological edge, and a little bit of customization build the foundation to a successful start-up platform.

A Fantastic Business Plan Is the Foundation to Success

Start with a strong business plan. Sure, a business plan needs to have all the financial factors on there: income statements, balance sheets, cash flow, etc. But those are just estimates. One of the most important parts of your plan is to know your industry, consumers, and vision. Having a good grasp of your target audience will give you a thorough understanding of your business. The better understanding you have, the more you’ll be able to convey your plan to investors and get the startup capital you need.

Beyond acquiring initial startup costs, your business plan will continue to serve you throughout the years. Business plans serve as guidelines when making changes or revisiting marketing strategies, so be sure to put a lot of thought into your vision.

Generally, investors pay special attention to three main areas when reviewing a business plan. Coincidentally, these are the three areas that should matter most to you, as well.

Market analysis. The size and saturation of your market is critical to the success of your business and the interest from investors. Your business plan should outline who your customers are, how your product or service intends to “fix” their problems, and how much competition you’ll have doing so. Additionally, investors want to know how you’ll stand out from your competitors. Do you plan to disrupt the market and take over as the leading company? Or are you doing something new in the marketplace which will set you apart? Obviously, this section is just as important to you as it is to investors.

Product differentiation. Your products need to appeal to the general consumers. The world is oversaturated with more products than you can imagine, so how is yours different? If it’s something in demand, you better be prepared to explain why customers would choose it from you rather than other brands. If it’s something new and never-before-seen, you’ll need to explain why customers will want to try it in the first place. Software like Formswift can help you create product paperwork, including PDFs, legal documentation, and other forms.

Your people. The success of your business starts with a stellar team and a strong plan for how you’ll manage them. Investors will want to know who is involved with your company and how they’ll fit in. How do you plan to manage your employees? This is where a plan for your workforce comes in. You should be able to address potential problems that may arise and how you plan to solve them. An effective communications policy is a good start to a successful management plan.

Of course, there are other components to a strong business plan, but these are some of the most important factors for both you and your potential investors. They set the base for your brand, and you’ll manage your business for years to come.

Online Platforms Let You Manage Your Business Front to Back

Technology has given us some very useful tools for startups and established businesses alike. CRM software, CMS software, and inventory management tools are just some of the wonderful tools available to business owners. These handy platforms let you manage your customer base, content marketing strategies, inventory, and many more aspects of the front and back of your business. There’s a plethora of online management systems to meet budgets of all sizes. Whether you want something simple and affordable or need something more out of your management platform, there’s something for everyone.

Consider researching some of these platforms and including them in your business plan. They’re easy to use and make running a business much less confusing than it used to be before the digital age. TryBooth is a virtual phone system and a fantastic product to integrate into your communications plan. It allows you to set up employee extensions and rules and record customized greetings. You can forward calls to your cell phone or another employee when you’re not in the office. TryBooth, in conjunction with other business management tools, is a remarkable foundation for the success of your business and business plan.

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Josh Christy

Founder of Booth, passionate about helping to grow businesses that matter.