Every business needs a meticulous business plan, and an e-learning business is no exception. With the corporate eLearning market on a jet propelled growth rate of 13.14% over 2021-2025, it is expected to grow by $37.8 Billion. Competition in this industry is also growing exponentially. So, if you want to ensure that your business has a solid foundation, you need a water-tight business plan –one of the essential steps to building up a successful e-learning business. A business plan is when you put your dream business down on paper, showing the steps you plan to take during the course of your business’ growth.
What is a Business Plan?
A business plan is an essential written document that describes exactly how and why your eLearning company was or is being established. It also charts your e-learning company’s future by listing strategies for the business’ growth. So, whether you deal with LMSs or eLearning course development, or Authoring Tools, your business plan is one that’s tailor-made for your specific business, your core competencies and what direction you want your business to go. The business plan is the first thing an eLearning entrepreneur should work on. It is also the first thing you’ll want to rethink if you’re considering changing the way your business works, or the direction you want your business to go.
Why is a Business Plan Crucial?
Writing a business plan for your e-learning company is not complicated, however, you do need to know where and how to gather information that’s directly relevant to your specific business, you’ll need in depth knowledge of the eLearning industry. The trick is to know the pulse of the market and being an expert in how the eLearning industry works. Research shows that 90% of startups do not make it long term. In fact 21.5% were found to fail in their first year, 30% in their second, 50% in their fifth and 70% in their tenth year of operations.
This means that the business plan is almost like a growing child that needs new sets of clothes each year! In other words what worked for your business 5 years ago or 3 years ago may not work today. The way to stay relevant is to update your business plan with the current and expected state of the eLearning market.
Elements of a solid business plan
A robust e-learning business plan or model is a framework that will guide your business to produce monetary returns. A business plan helps you assess whether your business opportunity is worth investing in or not. Here are some essential elements of a solid business plan:
An Executive Summary
Apart from functioning as an abstract of the entire document, it also states in brief, the background, ownership, the mission statement, and an optimistic snapshot of your business’ products/services being offered.
Describe your business
This section expands on your mission, vision, your business goals and objectives. You’ll also want to list key milestones for your business to achieve in the near future and plan ahead. When milestones are described, your management team and potential investors will want to know what activities or tasks you plan to do. Naturally, the next question to be answered is how you plan to track and measure the success of these tasks. So your business description will essentially answer all these questions in depth.
Going through this rigorous exercise will help you identify unrealized errors which can be easily corrected.
As a startup or an established company, you need to establish or help evolve your brand identity and concentrate on building that identity. This brand identity is defined by your target market and how you plan to reach, communicate with, convert your prospects and deliver your products/services to them. Specific audience groups also determine what problems your products/services are going to solve and how.
For example: if you have an LMS as your product, then how do you differentiate yourself from other LMS providers, how will your LMS be better than an existing LMS for the L&D department? What information can you give the L&D head that will help him/her gain the management’s buy-in.
Analyzing the competitive landscape
When entering a new market, launching a new product/service for the first time or re-launching products in a new and improved version, you need to consider the existing products and services that are currently known for solving the same problems that your product claims to solve. You will want to analyze their strategies, getting to know their strengths and weaknesses as well as your own strengths and weaknesses so that you can leverage your position to take a larger market share.
Let’s say for example you have an LMS with an exceptionally good learning analytics tool. That’s your strength! Your competitors on the other hand may not have this advantage so this is your opportunity to gain more customers. Similarly, there are a plethora of factors you could analyze to find strengths and opportunities you can capitalize on.
Product and Operations Management
Every product has to be developed and once launched, it has its own lifecycle that it goes through. Operations involves performing tasks that are essential to the business’ existence, including logistics. How the product lifecycle and operations are managed, budgeted and sustains itself forms the basis for investors to understand how profitable or viable the business is.
Financials and Raising Capital:
Financial data such as cash flow projections and the business’ balance sheet should be presented to showcase the profitability of your business venture. Your future plans to raise capital for expansion plans such as: applying for grants, loans, crowdfunding, angel investing, venture capitalists, going public, etc. are listed at this point.
Can a Business Consultant Help?
As easy as the process of creating your business plan sounds, you’ll find that the effectiveness of the business plan lies in in depth market knowledge and vast knowledge of what marketing strategies are working in the current scenario and what does not work. There may even be times when you don’t see the entire picture – the market as a whole playing a part in your business’ outcomes.
This is exactly why you can enlist an expert in the eLearning industry! An expert who has years of experience providing business plan consulting services specifically for businesses operating in the eLearning industry.
A business plan consultant will be able to give you an objective and strategic outlook, helping you amalgamate all the facts about your eLearning business. This way, you can avoid snags like over- or under-estimating financials, present viable marketing and operations strategies and choose the right plans to raise capital.
Another advantage of engaging a business consultant like Cox, is that as an expert in the eLearning industry, we will be able to provide marketing consulting, helping you grow your business and connect with more prospective clients through digital marketing consulting services than ever before.
Call or drop us a note, and our experts will help you with your business consulting requirements today!