When you start any new business you should always write a business plan. A business plan will help you determine what type of technology you need, what niche you want to target, what products and services you’ll offer your membership and exactly how you plan to deliver it and market it. Without a business plan, you’re just shooting in the dark and you’re probably going to miss.
Your business plan can be just one page and should include:
1. Describe the audience you want to reach – Write a sentence or two that describes your audience. Perhaps create a persona of the person you want to reach so that you know who to direct all your marketing material toward.
2. Describe the problems your membership solves – What problems will you solve for your target audience? Be very clear; in one or two sentences write out what problems you solve for the persona you created above.
3. List your top two or three competitors – It’s important that you look into who you’re competing with. Find them, and list them. Explain why they’re competitors and why you’re different/better.
4. List the products, services and price points you will offer – This is really your product funnel. If you can draw a picture of your product funnel and how you’ll pull people into your funnel, describe how you will eventually get them to join your membership, what you plan to charge, and what will keep them there, you’ve got it made.
5. Describe how you will market your membership site – Use the information above to describe exactly how you will market your membership site. List your marketing budget in dollars.
6. Describe who will create products and provide services – If it’s all you, say so, and describe your qualifications. If you will outsource, describe who and in both cases write down the cost of creating products and performing services.
7. List your expenses – Outside of product creation you’ll need to list all your expenses. Don’t forget rent, technology, online and offline expenses that you will have every month in your business.
8. Get real with the numbers – Describe exactly what constitutes success with your membership site. How many members do you need to break even; how many members do you need to make a profit?
9. Put your plan in writing – Finalize your plan and put it in writing. This will give you an easy document to look at as you’re moving forward with your membership site development, marketing, and servicing.
Even a one-page business plan can help you make a success of your membership site. Don’t just jump into any new business idea without studying all the factors that go into a business plan. It doesn’t mean you have to write it in a 20-page report. You can write it down on only one page and be successful.