Research commissioned by Google show the negative perceptions young people hold around entrepreneurship. For many young people, entrepreneurship is not presented as an option while at school, and Miriam Dervan aspires to challenge this with her new book.
In the fast-moving, digitally driven business world of today, you won’t necessarily have time to mull over each decision that comes your way. 
 
Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and choose a path, then see what new adventures you discover.
 
The good news is that nothing is truly final in business. What seems like a monumental decision now will likely pale in comparison to choices you’ll be presented with in a few months’ time. 
 
However, if you’re feeling daunted by the responsibility of making a choice and sticking to it, a solid business plan is an invaluable map to help you navigate the often-turbulent waters of business success. 
 
Here’s how to create the guide you need - and follow it!
 
Know your business
If you haven’t yet set out what your business will offer the world, then this is the time to do so. Ask yourself what your business will provide customers, how it will do so, and most importantly, what makes it unique. 
 
Defining what sets you apart from competitors is a useful factor for quick decisions, as you can align your choices and really make the most of that advantage.
 
An awareness of your company’s culture and values will also serve as a useful guide in times of doubt. 
 
Check that each of your decisions is in line with your company values – this will also help you to maintain an authentic brand presence, which will ultimately build trust with your customers.
 
Know your audience
For your business plan to remain relevant to your customers, you need to know exactly who they are. 
 
Build a profile of an ideal customer by asking yourself about their age, location, interests and lifestyle. 
 
This will help you target your product or service to them specifically. When faced with a difficult decision, you can take a moment to ask yourself, “what would this customer want?”
 
Set achievable goals
While the sky’s the limit for a new business, unattainable short-term goals can lead to loss of motivation when unmet. 
 
Support your targets with relevant market research, aiming to realistically improve on current statistics quarter by quarter.
 
Ensure that your goals are measurable. Instead of vague claims such as “we will increase profits”, try “we will increase sales revenue by 3% by the end of the quarter”. 
 
Clear, time-bound goals make for a positive framework to build future aspirations upon.
 
Plan for action
It’s no good setting out your goals if you don’t know how you’ll reach them. Conclude each stage of your business plan with a clear direction for your day-to-day behaviour in relation to your objectives. 
 
Consider the obstacles that may come between you and your targets, and outline simple measures against them.
 
Stay flexible
Of course, having a brilliant business plan doesn’t set your fate in stone. The business world is ever-changing, and your goals will need to adapt to fit it. 
 
Save your business plan in an easily editable format, so you can develop it to accommodate all of your future successes!
 
 
Miriam Dervan is the author of 'To Be An Entrepreneur: Just Get On With It’ (£12.99, Panoma Press)