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I hope this is the right piace to ask my question. I'm an electronic developer with knowledge in hardware, firmware and a bit of software.

Ten years ago I began my own freelance activity. I never thought about the business plan. Until now it's pretty straight:

I wait until a customer ask me for something to do, I offer him a quote, if he agrees I do the job.

This was ok at beginning. Now I want to improve it because it has several disadvantages:

  • it relies on customer needs: if one is not going to develop something new he wouldn't call me

  • it cannot grow: after I use all my available time, and learned enough to work at reasonable speed, I can't accept more work.

  • it's hard to get rid of the limit above hiring someone or even outsourcing some parts of the projects. Hiring someone requires almost to double the activity, while outsourcing a single part require a lot of effort to make clear specifications due to the high level of integration about different aspects of the projects.

By the way, some customers in the agreement explicitly wrote that I cannot give my job to a third person/company, for various reasons.

I kindly ask an help to brainstorming about how to change my business model in order to allow it to grow.

As final note currently my jobs have these characteristics:

  • custom needs: they fit a specific need. Most of the time they require a single shot. Problem solved, no more activities to do.

  • develop and prototype, but the production is handled by the customer. This is usually explicitly stated in the requests. And they don't accept a commissioni o the sold units because "they've already paid me for the job".

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We won't tell you what needs to be done for your particular needs, but we can help with a business plan. Essentially, you want a road map for how your business is going to succeed.

How will customers find you?

How will you do your marketing?

When do you expect to be profitable?

How much do you anticipate you will invest in your business?

There are hundreds more questions you can answer for your business plan. The important part though is to start writing one now, even if it's one sentence. Then, you can adjust as your go along. I've had business plans for clients that were one or two sentences, and they were successful. I've had ones that are an entire page, and they are successful.

Yes, there are businesses with plans that simply fail, but if you take a step back, it helps. Figure out what your business is going to do, and how it's going to make money doing it.

For me, I rely heavily on word-of-mouth for my Technical Services. My marketing is limited to online resources that meet certain needs for the customers I want to attract. As I am not busy for 8 hours a day doing that, I do not need to worry about pushing clients into the following week, which also gives me a bit of an edge of being always available. My business plan is simply "Provide technical support and services to local residents". Short and sweet, to the point.

  • Got it. But I'm not sure if I should write how my job is right now, or how I would like it should be. The current one is actually written in the "quoted" sentence in my post. But I don't like it, and I want to improve it. – Mark Aug 16 '17 at 6:35
  • @Mark Then expand on it! What areas do you not like? Change it up, try it out for a month and see if it works. If not, then change it again! The point of the plan is just that - it's a plan. It may not always work, but you can always change plans if needed, especially if better rules come up – Canadian Luke REINSTATE MONICA Aug 16 '17 at 16:25
  • Ok, but where and how I can find new ideas? Example: I don't want to be paid proportionally to the hours spent. That limits the gain. But i don't know HOW should I change the b.p. I'm not asking this to you, indeed - I'm asking how or where I might find different models that right now I cannot imagine at all... – Mark Aug 16 '17 at 20:40
  • Unfortunately, I don't know how to answer that part better... It's something that adapts and changes over time, and if you are looking to change something specifically, look at other successful businesses, and try to follow their business plan as best as possible. – Canadian Luke REINSTATE MONICA Aug 16 '17 at 22:12

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