Small Business Startup
Business Plan for Simple Services

(Last updated: April 22, 2010)

This page helps you start a business using a ready-made business plan for simple services. This plan is a scaled-down version of the Small Business Startup plan.

By using these recommendations, you save the time and effort needed to devise your own business plan. This gives you a head start in developing your business venture.

Here are the stages:

Stage 1: Selecting a suitable idea
Stage 2: Preparing the groundwork
Stage 3: Setting up and starting your business

If you don't agree with one or more of the following steps, you can review the Simplified Startup Steps page and design your own startup steps.


Before using this information to start a business be sure to read the following notice: Disclaimer

Stage 1: Selecting a suitable idea

Purpose of this stage is to select a business idea that meets your requirements, and the needs and desires of prospective customers. When you start a business, it should reward your efforts. This stage helps to make this happen.

Defining your requirements

I recommend a low-cost, low-risk business idea that offers you a chance to make an immediate profit. This should be an idea that helps people by providing them with a needed service or valuable information.

This idea should let you start a business immediately, without having to learn a specialized skill before hand. Thus, the idea should only require one of the following:

  • Everyday skills or skills that can be easily learned on the job
  • Skills and/or knowledge that you already possess

This idea should not require high startup costs or the purchase of any expensive equipment. It should only require the following:

  • Startup costs of under $1,000, including any equipment you have to purchase
  • You should already own any expensive equipment needed

However, some ideas may require that you have the use of a pickup truck, van, or automobile.

You should be able to use the idea for either a temporary, part-time, or full-time business venture.

(Note: All business ideas on this website meet the above requirements.)

Finding a potential idea

You can review the information under the "1. Choosing a Money Idea" menu topic. The Money Making Ideas selection allows you to rapidly review the business ideas discussed on this website. You may also choose to review the other selections under this menu topic.

Reviewing the market

You need to verify the demand for the selected business idea in your market area. For example, you need to see if the local classified advertisements or telephone yellow pages describe this type of service. Alternatively, you could ask around and see if people would pay for this service.

Let's say you expect to sell your service to a national market. Can you find advertisements in a national newspaper or magazine, or on the Internet, for a similar idea?

Top of Page

Stage 2: Preparing the groundwork

Purpose of this stage is to complete an adequate amount of planning and advance preparations. Part of this planning should limit the cash expenditures needed to start a business.

Refining the product

You will offer just the basic services described for your selected business idea. (You might want to expand your services later.)

Developing the sales program

For a service offered in your local area, you will use small classified advertisements in the local newspaper and/or flyers delivered to likely neighborhoods or business organizations to solicit customers. If you live in or near a city supported by craigslist, you can use their free advertising.

If you can write an interesting press release, you may be able to get free publicity.

For information or a service offered to a national market, you will use small classified advertisements in a national newspaper or magazine. Later you may use a website to sell your product.

If you provide services, you need to charge an hourly fee that both attracts customers and provides a suitable reward for your time and effort and the use of your equipment. This fee should also cover any other job expenses and overhead. For details, see the Setting the Sales Price page in another section.

However, the amount you can charge customers will be affected by the conditions in your marketplace.

One way to overcome the adverse effects of hard times is to work out some kind of barter arrangements. Often people have unwanted items that you can use or sell to others.

Designing business operations

These business ideas assume you will start a business as a single-person owner or a joint venture. This means that you, your family, or members of the joint venture will be performing most or all of the money making activities. However, you may need to hire subcontractors (not employees) to assist you on certain jobs.

It is common in this type of operation for a spouse to assist with office duties. This would include answering the telephone, doing the bookkeeping, paying the bills, and so on.

Listing the startup requirements

Before you start a business, you need to identify and list the startup requirements for your proposed business operations. In my opinion, the following are the most important requirements:

You need to discuss this matter with your family. They will be affected by the success or failure of this business venture.

You need to decide what type of business entity to use for conducting business. (Note: This choice will affect the governmental and insurance requirements for your business venture.)

It is especially important to identify all governmental and insurance requirements. For example, are any state or federal deposits and/or registrations required? Do you need a local business license? Are there any local rules and regulations you need to obey?

See the Listing the Startup Requirements page for more details.

Planning costs and expenses

It is desirable to have immediate profits when you start a business. This will encourage your efforts and allow you to eventually attain your goals for the business.

To have immediate profits, you need to keep your startup costs as low as possible. This can be accomplished in two ways:

Method 1 -- Resign yourself to a frugal business operation at first. Forget about having a nice home office right away. That will come later, after you are making consistent profits.

For example, you might use an existing kitchen table and chair for your home office. The accounting system might be hand written journals and ledger.

Method 2 -- Pay the startup costs in stages, only as needed for current business operations. As your sales increase, you gradually will be able to pay for all the startup costs shown for your selected business idea.

For example, you probably don't need a business telephone until you start having frequent conversations with customers, or inquiries about your services.

The Bootstrap Methods page in another section also can help you keep these costs and expenses under control.

Top of Page

Stage 3: Setting up and starting your business

Purpose of this stage is to get serious about your desire to start a business. The previous two stages were all about preparing paper work that incurred only some small expenses. Now that you have proved your business concept and your ability to get things done, the stakes will be higher.

Being able to produce the product

You must be able to provide your service to the satisfaction of your customers.

Gathering the needed resources

During this step, you insure that you have all the equipment, facilities, supplies, and tools needed to start a business of your choice. If you lack the funds needed to acquire some items, you can do one or more of the following:

  • Limit the type of services offered to customers at first
  • Use Bootstrap Methods to acquire the items
  • Use one or more ways to Earn Extra Cash
  • Save cash by being able to Reduce Living Expenses
  • Save cash by paying for startup expenses only as needed for current business operations
  • Choose a business idea that only requires your existing resources
  • Postpone your business startup until you acquire all the needed items

Besides having cash and other resources, you need a personal commitment to do whatever it takes to get the business started.

Setting up a home office

I recommend a frugal style of business operations at first. Thus, you could use the kitchen table and chairs, and the office equipment specified above. You could use file folders or large manila envelopes for storing business documents.

As your business picks up, you probably will need a business telephone. You don't want to miss important business calls because your personal telephone is in use.

You eventually will need all the office equipment specified under the startup costs for your selected business idea.

Setting up an accounting system

Continuing with the recommended frugal style of business operations, you could use hand written journals and ledger to keep track of business transactions. These would be mostly cash receipts and disbursements. The reference book on bookkeeping should help you set up and use your hand written accounting system.

Eventually you should open a business checking account and run all your business receipts and disbursements through this account.

You could use a daily cash report showing beginning cash, cash receipts, cash disbursements, and ending cash to monitor and control your business operations. (Cash means both cash on hand and cash in a bank.)

Completing the startup requirements

This is the last step needed just before you start a business. See the prior Listing the startup requirements subtopic for the items to be satisfied.

As a minimum, you should have discussed the business idea with your family, set up your business entity, and satisfied all governmental and insurance requirements.

Starting business operations

See the "Putting idea to work" topic for your selected business idea.

Before starting actual business operations, you may want an overview of what is involved. If so, see the Glossary definition of business operations.

Improving customer satisfaction

Resolve any customer complaints. (With rare exceptions, assume that the customer is always right.) Then make any needed changes in business operations to avoid these complaints in the future.

Increasing sales and cash flow

Before expanding your business, you should identify and eliminate any operational problems. These might be major problems or just petty annoyances. Make a list of whatever slows things down or makes it difficult for you conduct business. Then eliminate these problems.

For help in solving any problems, you may want to download and study my free or low-cost Magic Success Secrets ebook. Then you can use the Resolve Problems chapter in this ebook.

Now you're ready to expand your business. The best way to increase sales is to test various advertising methods and descriptions of your services to find which ones produce the best results. Then concentrate on those methods and descriptions until they are no longer effective.

You also should identify and focus on those methods that appear most effective in satisfying customers. Then you can ask satisfied customers for names of other people who might need your services.

Top of Page

Return from Business Plan for Simple Services to Small Business Startup

Return from Business Plan for Simple Services to Home page