If you are about to start a new blog business or you want to expand your current blog business, a good place to begin is with a blog business plan template. The plan is going to be your roadmap to where you envision your small business going and how you plan to get there.
Many make the mistake of thinking that a blog business isn’t like a traditional business so you don’t need a business plan. FALSE! Your blog business also needs a business plan, but it is going to look different in many ways.
In this post you will find a summary template full of questions for your small business. Whether you are starting a craft blog, or a writing business you can use the planning process outlined here today with your planner.
Do You Have Blog Business Plan Template Already Created?
The internet is unique because it is always changing rapidly! Your competition online could also be very determined so you need to include this in your business plan and how you plan to be better.
Like any business you plan to start, you shouldn’t be going forward unless you have done your research and you know what you are up against. Cover what you should expect, identify challenges you expect to face and how you plan to deal with those challenges. You need to know who your target audience are by doing a little market research.
You also need to identify your potential competition and perform competitive analysis. How can you be better than them? What is the best way to attract investors?
Download The Free 20 Page Blog Business Plan Template:
Please note that this is not a traditional plan as laid out in this post. I’ve reinvented and simplified the business plan to make it less overwhelming. If you are determined to see success sooner rather than later, I recommend purchasing the 60 page version.
If you will be seeking additional funding, you will need to draw up a complete boring plan as outlined in this post.
How you plan to create brand recognition and even more so, what does it look like in your new blog business venture…
All of this needs to be addressed in your blog business plan so that you can use this roadmap as you move forward with your small business and others can visualize what it is you are about to create.
Don’t forget to point out the potential for growth online when you fully understand this unique market, and detail how you are going to be an internet success.
The 9 Sections Your Blog Business Plan Should Cover
If you are planning to create a blog business, you need to begin to build your blog business plan, which is made up of 9 sections that should be included.
Related Resource: The Ultimate Craft Bloggers Handbook For New Bloggers
1. Executive Summary:
This is a required section and its goal is to clearly communicate your business in an easy to understand language. Keep in mind the reader may not be aware of the potential of internet business so make sure you provide enough detail in a way that is understandable!
2. Business Description:
Talk about your company’s products/services along with the history of the industry. Explain the internet environment and how what you have fits into it. Make sure you use words the reader will understand rather than industry terminology or lingo. All of this is essential if you plan to take out a loan, but if you are supporting yourself, it’s also smart to include for yourself.
3. Marketing Plan:
This is required and will discuss your targeted market, describe your advertising potential, identify your customer and identify the competition, explain your pricing structure, etc.
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4. Research & Development:
This is required and get’s into the technical components of your project. What R&D is required to complete it and the forecast for the project cost to get it off the ground.
5. Operations & Manufacturing:
In this section you should talk about the major aspects of the business you are planning to start including your daily operations, what equipment you will need if any, whether you’ll have your own web server or can start with a basic plan on A2Hosting.
Don’t forget to include how many employees you may end up with, and how specialized they have to be. I would recommend considering a web developer and VA for the future when you can afford it.
This is not required but it is recommended. This should address who is running the company, what their expertise is, how many people on the management team and what they do.
This is required. Here you need to define the major and minor risks your business faces. In addition to regular risks such as a downturn in the industry, cost overruns, new competitors that weren’t expected, there are other types of risks online such as hackers, computer viruses, new policies, etc.
This is required. Investors are going to be paying close attention to what’s in this area. This is a summary of the money you hope to have invested and the forecast of your profitability. Remember to highlight operating a business online has the lowest operating costs!
This is required. Here you’ll lay out all of the steps to go from an idea to a reality.
Mission Strategies in Your Blog Business Plan:
Your business plan is made up of a number of different areas including defining your executive summary, mission statement, strategies and vision.
What is your mission statement or your vision statement for your Business Plan?
Have you provided your statement clearly and concisely so that whoever is reading your business plan can completely understand what your desired outcome is for your blog business?
The first sentence in your vision statement needs to be powerful but short and to the point. It should capture the essence of your small business. The vision statement for your blog can be a single paragraph or many paragraphs. That’s up to you.
Remember KISS! Keep It Simple Stupid!
What are the objectives and goals of your new blog business? Include Them In The Business Plan
This statement should define your tangible deliverables and what you expect them to achieve. It should be clearly written so that it can be evaluated at a later time to determine whether you achieved your goals and to what extent they were achieved.
Your objectives and goals need to be specific, measurable, realistic, attainable and time-sensitive. Or even better, when setting goals make them SMARTER! Start by stating what the primary objective of your small business is. Follow it with specific objectives that are detailed.
Time To Reflect About Your Own Blog Business
Identify the strengths, opportunities, threats, and weaknesses of your new business. As an entrepreneur, it can be tough to do this. We want to believe that we can do anything we set our mind to do but the truth is we will often experience road bumps.
So you need to be honest and identify these risks in your small business plan. By doing so you are more likely to be prepared to handle these issues and therefore more likely to be successful.
Finally, you need to identify your strategies in your blog business plan
What is your game plan and how do you plan to get there. You’ll use this section to be your blueprint or roadmap to build your business. You’ll want to
- Develop a website with the key search terms in the URL (SEO)
- And develop content for the website
- Build links through a reciprocal linking strategy or link building campaigns.
- Constantly add new content
Build your mission strategies based on where you want to take your business in the future!
How to Start Writing Your Business Plan for Your Blog:
The very first thing you are going to do when you decided to start a new business should be your business plan. That applies to both traditional and blog business ventures. Your business plan is designed to outline your business strategies, how you plan to make your business a success, your marketing goals, your financial needs, and your overall blueprint to success.
Writing Your Business Summary:
You can begin writing a business summary. If your business is strictly online then you need to break down all the components of operating a blog business You need to include things like what you will offer, how will you get customers, who will run your business, where will your business be located?
Next, you want to create your marketing plan that will delve into the research behind your market.
That includes pricing, markup, advertising, building your brand, etc. Make sure the information is current and relevant.
You will also want to include all the details related to your management team and their various duties. Often with blog businesses, this is a minimal number of people. You’ll also include your business schedule both current and long term.
This would be things like when is your site going live or will you be getting a loan? Basically, you want to outline the key growth points to give the reader a picture of where you visualize your business going.
Of course, you’ll need to cover your financial plan.
Your startup capital, and whether you need to borrow some or all of it, your operating costs, your projected sales and profits in six-month increments for at least a couple of years, but five is best.
Finally, you need to write your executive summary that pulls the main points into a summary that helps the reader decide if they want to learn more by reading the full report.
How To Write Your Marketing Plan As Part Of Your Blog Business Plan
Marketing is an important part of your blog business success! Therefore it is vital that you make sure your business plan thoroughly details what your marketing plan looks like. Investors will look at this and the information will be helpful for them in making their decision. As a business owner, you will also use this information to help keep you on track and to later evaluate whether you were successful at achieving your marketing goals.
Your business operations will be centered around your digital marketing plans and the image you are striving to create.
Related Resource: The Ultimate Social Media Planner For Total Dominance In 2020
Marketing your blog will strive to create ‘branding’ for your company and it will focus on making you visible. Doing so online this requires a different skillset than what would be used in a traditional business.
Let’s look at what your marketing plan needs to address.
You need to analyze your market before you ever open your doors since you need to know who you will be selling your products to. In addition, in almost every case, there are the same or similar products on the market and you need to analyze how you are going to grab your ‘market share.’
You will need to determine who your competition is online. So, you will need to identify your five most direct competitors. Take note of how they advertise, what type of SEO work they have done on their sites, how they place in the search engines, what the strengths and weaknesses are. Detail how their product is different from yours, and how their branding is different.
You will need to determine what your online customer profile looks like. Often you will have the same product but it targets a completely different market. For example, ‘Product A’ online might target an Asian market, it might target a small unique niche on a family site or it might target through email marketing. You need to identify who you are targeting as your market.
You will need to make projections that are realistic about your projected market share, and your projected sales. It’s important to not guess and to actually do your projections because investors and lenders are smart and they will simply turn away from your business plan and your proposal, and that would be a shame if you have a great idea that you want to launch and turn into your blog business.
Identify Your Revenue Sources in Your Business Plan
You are working on getting your small business off the ground and part of that is putting together your business plan. While every business plan shares some common ground, a small business is unique and therefore may look somewhat different from a business plan for a traditional business.
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Your business plan will spend some time discussing what your revenue sources will be and this also presents a unique opportunity, because a small business has other opportunities to generate revenue and if these are applicable to your business. Thus it’s important that you make sure to cover them in your business plan.
Let’s look at some of the additional sources of revenue that you can add to your online revenues
Pay Per Click Advertising From Google AdSense
Contextual click advertising is a common source of income from Google AdSense. Many startup businesses take advantage of this additional income, and if you are going to be using AdSense as part of your income base for your small business, you are going to want to include this source in your business plan. You’ll also want to have some actual calculations to base your projections on. Make sure to thoroughly explain this source of income because few have an understanding of these types of income work.
For example, you might show the breakdown that if your page views per day are 4,000 and the effective CPM is $28.75 you would create an annual revenue of $42,000. It’s important for you to find the relevant average CPM for your industry/product.
Amazon.com Affiliate Program
In addition to your products and services, you might decide to sell products as an affiliate, which means you will sell relevant products from the Amazon site on your website and be paid a commission for doing so.
It’s a good way to supplement your income, but if you are going to use this method, you will also need to define and explain this revenue in your business plan.
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There are many affiliate programs that offer a generous commission as high as 10% and with 30-day cookies. Commissions do vary. You will need to decide what affiliates you will participate with, then do a forecast of how many units you believe you can sell and include that number in your projected revenue.
Related: Complete List Of Affiliate Programs For Beginners To Promote
Your business plan needs to include all revenue sources that you anticipate so that your investors can have a ‘real’ picture of what your income stream looks like.
Don’t Forget Your Exit Strategy for Your Online Business Plan
You are creating a business plan for your small business ‘ good for you! But don’t forget to make sure to include your exit strategy. This is actually as important to your business plan as the plan for your regular reviews of your business strategy. How you exit from your business is as important as how you start your business and knowing how you or when you plan to exit is as important as knowing how or when you plan to start your business.
Your goal is to maximize what your business is worth prior to converting it to cash and to reduce the amount of time needed to accomplish this goal. This is going to look very different for each business and every individual. There is no one right answer to achieve this type of success with your business.
You need to be able to define your business before you can define your exit strategy.
What is your long term goal? Are you hoping to get your site up and running and then sell it to someone, maybe even an investor? Do you have a 3-year, 5-year, 10-year project plan that you want to complete before you move on to the next venture? On the other hand, do you want to continue to run this venture as a profitable venue for years to come?
How you answer the questions here will definitely help you to define what your exit strategy will look like. It’s important to give your exit strategy the time it deserves so that you can create a clear and concise exit strategy with goals and steps along the way to make reaching your exit strategy more likely to occur. Of course, don’t be afraid along the way to make changes to your business plan and tweak it as necessary.
So, remember when you are creating your business plan and working hard on your startup strategy, keep your exit strategy in play too!