There are a wide variety of ways to develop a business plan and the best thing you can do is find what will work best for you. A construction lawyer I know asked what approach I used. I have shared a good deal of this with you before, but I feel it is worth sharing again because my five critical steps are likely the same ones you must take.

  1. I decided my target market – who did I want to hire me. At first it was large contractors in Southwest Virginia. I did not want to target small subcontractors or home builders. At the end of my career my target market was the Top 100 transportation construction contractors in the United States.
  2. I thought about what I wanted the target market to hire me to do. At first I wanted those contractors to hire me to litigate their contract disputes. I did not want to handle construction accident cases or anything else covered by insurance. Later in my career I wanted transportation contractors to hire me to negotiate, arbitrate and litigate their contract disputes, help them avoid contract disputes, help them with design-build and innovative financed projects, help them with ethics programs, help them with disadvantaged business enterprise issues and a variety of other day-to-day issues.
  3. I focused on what I needed to learn. At first, I focused on gathering cases. I had notebooks filled with every highway, bridge, rail and airport construction contract case I could find. I also focused on construction management and built a library, I learned how scheduling was done on big projects. Later I learned how highways and bridges were designed, bid and constructed and what caused failures. Finally I learned about innovative financing and design-build issues.
  4. I took the steps necessary to become visible and credible to transportation contractor clients. I wrote a law review article and spoke at an ABA Annual Meeting. I began speaking at state and local contractor association meetings. That led to speaking at national construction association meetings. That led to me being asked to write a monthly column for Roads and Bridges magazine. By the end of my career, I was clearly known by every contractor in my target market.
  5. I focused on referral sources. The best referral sources for me were association executives. In addition, I focused on equipment dealers, bankers, accountants and surety brokers who focused on transportation construction. That group became my network.

I sincerely hope you can see how this approach to planning can work for you.