All businesses need to start with a plan. While business plans differ in length and detail, the kind of industry dictates the style and dimension of the business plan. A staffing agency, for example, includes more recruiting strategies in a complete business plan than a single owner-operator business such as a financial planner. Individual variances can easily be inserted if you start out with a sample financial planner business plan.
The mission statement of the financial planning business should be concise and focused, while demonstrating the vision of the financial expert. Include in the opening documentation a written summary of the services you will provide, the types of clients you will serve and a brief description of the products you will carry. Use action words in the objective such as "create," "provide," "build," "serve" and "grow."
List all the services you will provide and the companies you will represent. In the business plan, include all products you will handle such as stock trades, mutual funds, annuities, life insurance and real estate investments. Write down the extent of the services you will provide and your credentials to do so. For example, if you have a Series 7 license, will you be trading stocks? Do you have a license to sell insurance products? If you will be working strictly as a consultant, which broker and dealer will you be using?
Following extensive research into the needs of the community, the availability of products and the extent of the competition, narrow down your target market. Niche financial planners who specialize in small-business owners, baby boomers or singles can narrow the marketing strategies and portfolio offerings easier than a generalist who services anybody. Clarify your ideal clients in this section of the business plan.
In this area, you should define your strategies for attracting new business. List the advertising you plan to employ and its concurrent costs. Mailing lists, website designers, press-release writers and marketing consultants should be listed here. Clearly map out your plan and what results you hope to achieve. Consider planning seminars to gain clients, network with consumer groups or write expert articles for financial publications.
Write your own financial plan. Include all upfront expenses that you know you'll incur based on the previous sections of your business plan. Don't forget to include a salary for yourself as well as office start-up costs, advertising and marketing budgets, license fees, industry association dues and every expense related to your business. Estimate your projected income based on the number of clients you will attract. From this you can get a clear view of your first-year budget. Compare actual figures to these projections at the end of your first year.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."