“Going into business without a Business Plan is like going on a Hike in a huge Forest without a Map or GPS. You’ll eventually get lost and starve”.
Business Plan Topics: Dead? Who, Market, Clarity, Confirm, Team, Goals, Mission, Focus, Accountable.
Business Plans are dead ??? or are they? For many new entrepreneurs, the Business Plan seems to be, an out-moded document that gets created mainly for the benefit of Bank Loan Officers & VC’s. Boot-Strappers rarely think they need one to get by.
#10. But the Fact is – that a business plan — even just a one-page Executive Summary with a few financial projections — can be an invaluable internal tool for planning your Startup, a Roadmap for even the smallest or earliest-stage idea. It can also foster alignment, set the tone for the business and even help you craft your brand messaging.
Bonus: #11. Who says? We asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invitation-only, non-profit organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs, the following question to figure out when (and why) a Business Plan is an advantage – when you’re starting a business:
“What is your #1 reason to write a Business Plan?”
Here’s what YEC community members had to say:
#1. Gain a “deep” Understanding of your Market
Although it took several weeks, I credit my Business Plan for helping me understand a brand-new industry in an extremely deep way, before actually entering it. It forced me to deeply examine how we would fit into the market and what our probability of success was. As a “risk-averse” entrepreneur, it was critical, but the opportunity was to great to pass up.
#2. Clarify your Idea.
Writing a Business Plan allows you to think more clearly about what you’re doing and where you are going. Key point to remember though is that the minute that you print it out, it’s out of date. So don’t depend on it as your permanent To-Do List. Think of it more as a strategy plan, that you modify as you need to. Review it – at least once a month in the beginning – to change your strategy as the situation necessitates & your latest To-Do List.
#3. Confirm your Idea with the Numbers
A lot of ideas sound great on paper and even in discussions. However, simple math can make or break an idea. Before we launch any new idea, we at least create a Financial Model to project the ROI [Return on Investment] from several realistic scenarios. You can save a lot of time & frustration thinking through the numbers, and making sure it’s possible to hit your revenue & profit goals.
#4. Iron Out possible Wrinkles
Writing a Business Plan allows you to really think things through. Your plan should question the validity of your ideas, the product/service target markets and so on. It should force you to do your own proper Due Diligence – paying proper attention to a situation by giving it, the degree of analysis to reduce or eliminate the Risk.
#5. Establish (Goals) Bench-Marks
Business Plans are a valuable, iterative, document that can serve as a successful Bench-marking tool. Where did your business exceed expectations? In what areas did your strategy fall short? While it’s fine to “pivot” your company based on what you’ve seen in the market, having goals & a Vision in writing, puts the responsibility on you to be honest about your company’s performance to share with Customers, your Team & Funders.
#6. Develop Team Alignment
Writing a business plan is an ideal way to make sure that everyone on your Founding team is aligned with the current & future plans for the business. In the early stages of a business, it’s imperative for founding team members to be on the same page as to how they’ll work together on moving the business forward to great success. Avoid any mis-communications by getting it all on paper early, then have meetings for them to review & discuss .
#7. Define your Mission & Vision
Business planning is incredibly helpful for describing what you do, understanding who your competitors are, and crafting a realistic three to five year plan. Each of these activities is crucial if you are looking to launch or expand a business. Learning to speak concisely & decisively about your company will always be crucial no matter what stage you’re in. It’s helpful for winning new Customers, hiring great Employees or getting Funding,
#8. To help you stay Focused
The biggest reason to write out a business plan, is that it can help you stay focused and remain on track – pursuing you goals. Businesses without a plan can easily get off-target, and revenues will suffer as a result. Creating a plan with expense projections, revenue forecasts, etc, can help a small business remain committed to its long-term goals.
#9. Hold yourself Accountable
A Business Plan is a great tool that allows Founders to communicate their Vision & future plans for their business. When using just about any Business Plan format, there are standard questions that force you to think & create a long term Vision & Strategy for your idea. Once these are down on paper, they can serve as a guide to allow you to track your progress and hold yourself accountable for the future. Review periodically (ie, monthly to start) to see if you’re on track or you need to change your Vision & Goals.
Comments: do you know of any other Benefits of having a Business Plan?
from Young Entrepreneur Council; updated 6/18 by Wiz4.biz
Let Peter/CXO of Wiz4.biz & 5 Star Startup Services help you write your Business Plan & Executive Summary.