A business plan is an important strategic tool every entrepreneur should have in their arsenal. A good business plan not only helps you (the entrepreneur) focus on the specific steps necessary to make your business idea succeed, but a business plan also helps you achieve (and measure) both short-term and long-term objectives.
Take for example building a house as compared to starting a business.
If you wanted to build a house, you wouldn’t walk over to an empty lot and just start nailing boards together. Starting a business without a business plan is just as risky.
Yet, unlike a house, a business isn’t built to be static.
We often make the mistake of thinking of a business plan as a single static document that you write when you’re first starting the business and then set aside; something to check off the to-do list and be done with.
But in actuality, the business plan is so much more valuable than you might know! As the business changes over time and develops, you may want or need to have multiple business plans depending on the direction the business is taking.
During the growth or expansion phase of a business, a well-written and completed business plan is critical for forecasting revenues or raising additional capital.
And, if you decide to sell or close your business, a professional business plan can be a plus as it will transfer strategies and timelines to new ownership or provide direction for dissolution of the company.
Writing a business plan is time consuming, but it’s essential if you want to have a successful business that’s going to survive past the three-year mark.
The process of writing a business plan really can help you to objectively clarify where your business is going. Writing a business plan also will help ensure that you pay attention to the broad operational and financial objectives of your business. The process ultimately will assist you in making a smoother business startup transition with fewer unforeseen problems.
The exercises of budgeting and market planning will help you define your target market, your unique selling proposition, optimum pricing strategies, and outline how you intend to sell and deliver your products to customers. In addition, your budget for implementation will assist in determining your startup and operating capital requirements.
Whether you’re starting a small business or exploring ways to expand an existing one, your business plan is the number 1 most important tool to help guide you in your decisions. Let it be your roadmap to success.
For more information on writing a business plan, download this Business Plan Template from SCORE.