If you’ve opened a new business and are concerned your numbers aren’t as good as you’d hoped for, you’re not alone. Perhaps traffic has not been steady, or product expenses have outweighed the monetary returns. Perhaps your staff hasn’t performed as well as you’d counted on. The role of a small business owner is a tricky one, and you’re probably wearing mutliple hats as you try to figure out what to do next.

Part of the challenge is determining the difference between a great business set up, and a great idea. A great set up can deliver success; a great idea may need some practical help to convert it into a set up that can work. The following questions are designed to help you evaluate your business plan’s practical value: Do have I have at least a year’s experience in this business?

Can I find someone to teach me this area of business and help me identify what I’m missing?

Can I handle the amount of overhead required to run this business? Is the start up cost low enough that I can grow the business? If you have discovered the start up costs are higher than expected, do you have access to an investor?

Is there a proven market for this business? Am I sure these advertising and marketing techniques will work in this business vertical?

Have I presented a clear picture or brand of what ambiance, level of service, and type of menu my small business serves, or do potential customers have to guess?

Is the local competition stiff? Have I chosen an appealing and practical location for my business?

Am I competitive pricewise? Do I know for certain that I am providing a product or service that is comparable or superior to the competition?

Do I have enough capital to run this small business for at least one year before I need to start making profits?

Hopefully these questions will help you craft a practical business plan that will lead you to success.