The "Accidental Entrepreneur" Plan: Believe it or not, it happens quite often. An impulse, a hobby, or a passing notion turns into a business without warning. One day you're handing your extra back_yard tomatoes or homemade cake to the neighbors, and before you know it you're filling out the forms for a booth at the local farmer's market. Perhaps you create a unique bit of hand_crafted jewelry and wear it to school or work, and then find your phone flooded with messages like, "Where can I get one?" and "I'll pay you to make one for me." When you're writing a business plan in a situation like these, you need to address a few issues the intentional entrepreneur has already pondered. The first is do you really want this idea to become a full_blown business? Certainly it's flattering when you realize there's a market value for something you were doing anyway, but that doesn't always mean you should launch a business. A lot of accidental businesses form around fads or seasonal items, and may not be robust enough to function as year_round, money_making, enterprises. Next you will need to carefully examine what actually goes into your offering. How many hours does it take to create those one_of_a_kind bracelets? How much does it cost to bake a dozen of your special recipe cookies? How much research goes into "whipping up" a website? Making tangible goods requires space. Do you have room to grow enough squash to actually generate profits? Are these numbers you could sustain beyond the occasional personal or family use of your product or service? The business planning process can be very helpful to "accidental entrepreneurs" as it allows you to decide which ideas are best left as hobbies and which ones could provide some real cash flow.
A plan like this would show you how much sales your business would need to do, what your fixed and variable expenses would be, what your material cost, labor cost and profit would need to be to provide the income and profit margin you want. You can see pretty quickly if it's possible for you to get your business to that level. I don't know of any better way than to have your business give you the income and profit you want. What's neat is you can determine what you want your income to be and your profit to be over the next few years and develop a plan that can show you exactly what your business would need to do to give you that income and profit. And with just a little more data you can actually determine how many customers you would need for each year you plan for and how many leads you would need. From that you can actually determine what size market you would need and whether your market is big enough to supply those leads that could be converted into customers.