You wouldn’t start building a house without a blueprint. So what makes entrepreneurs believe that they can run a successful business without a business plan? Many people hop right into a business without developing a plan. Others may start out with a vague idea of their business plan and then fail to update it as their business changes and grows.
A house is only as strong as its foundation, and your business is only as successful as the quality of your business plan. If your plan is outdated or – even worse – nonexistent, it’s time to schedule time now in order to develop one.
What is a Business Plan?
A business plan can serve many different purposes. For those seeking start up money or investments in their growing business, a business plan shows the lender or investor how the business will be run, how much profit is expected, and the plans for future growth. This type of business plan is very detail oriented and focuses on market research, the projected growth of the company and current financial data. Since this business plan is being used to judge the viability of the business and its potential risks, it is normally 20 to 40 pages of text long.
On the other end of the spectrum, solo entrepreneurs who are just looking for some organization can get by with two to three pages outlining their major goals for their business and how they plan to accomplish those goals. The business plan is for their eyes only.
Your need for a business plan might fit one of these categories or it might fall somewhere in between. What is important is not the type of business plan that you have, but that you have something in place to help guide the growth of your business as you think through things like how to keep costs to a minimum as your ramp up your business, or how to systemize your business or maximum productivity.
Business Plan Writing Resources
If you’ve put off writing a business plan because you find the process intimidating, it’s time to get over your fear. There are many business plan writing resources that can help you cover all of the major bases and get your plan written.
SBA Business Plan “Write a Business Plan” Resource Center – The Small Business Administration is always a good place to start for reliable information on owning and operating a business. The resource center includes informative articles on the major components of a business plan, finding a niche and how to strategically plan your business. The SBA also offers free business plan workshops that you can register for on their website.
BPlans.com – This is the largest collection of sample business plans and business plan articles online. The site includes information on how to start your business, get funded, incorporate your business, and much, much more. By opting into their email list, you’ll receive 500+ sample business plans that you can use to structure your own plan.
Entrepreneur.com – This seminal business publication has an excellent section on their website for business planning. It includes articles, how-to guides, and sample business plans for you to draw inspiration from.
Do you have a business plan? How has it helped you grow your business? Share in the comments below.