Do You Really Need a Business Plan?
By: Melanie Shires, PCC
If you are a new or aspiring entrepreneur and asking yourself if you really need a business plan…the answer is an astounding YES! I know why you are inquiring. You want to just get your new business launched and all your fun marketing materials created. The last thing you want to do is spend the time, mental energy and groundwork researching, investigating and writing.
As a business coach that helps entrepreneurs with business development and growth strategies, I educate clients on the importance of doing the groundwork necessary to create a customized and comprehensive business plan – or blueprint as I like to call it – to ensure the business they want to build and launch is viable.
Many entrepreneurs think writing a business plan is something that is only necessary if they are trying to get a business loan or persuade investors that their business venture is worth investing in. The reality is that a business plan is necessary no matter how it is financed or what stage of business development you are in.
The main purpose of writing a business plan is to test the viability of your business idea and use it as a tool throughout the life of your business to guide you in your operational procedures, processes and business decisions. Preparing a business plan before you start your business forces you to do the research and get the information that you’ll need to turn your concept into a successful venture. If putting together your business plan reveals that your idea doesn’t have the market to support it or won’t work under the current business model or structure you can iterate, tweak, or abandon it altogether and try another idea. Doing this prior to spending time, energy and money launching is smart business sense and wise use of resources.
If you just launch and start doing business without a well, thought out business plan you are like a building contractor taking a bunch of building materials to an empty lot to build a house without a blueprint to follow. In the best-case scenario, you’ll be floundering around squandering time and resources. In the worst-case scenario, your new business will fail – because of things you didn’t but should have known.
My experience has shown that entrepreneurial start-ups and newer entrepreneurs (operating for five years or less) who invest the time, energy and money upfront to create a customized and comprehensive business plan have a much better chance of avoiding business failure and running a successful, sustainable business.
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