For most of us who are solopreneurs or very small business owners, the idea of writing a business plan can seem useless and/or daunting. Maybe you have thought… Why should I write one, I already know I want to do it and so I am just going to do it? Or, I don’t need a business plan, I am not trying to get a loan. Or, maybe even, I didn’t write one when I started my business, why should I write one now? Well, let me just say, a business plan helps you define what you are creating, where you want to take it, how you are going to get there, and what it is going to take, and cost, in the process… all very important to know when starting and when running a business.
I am not saying you can’t be successful without a business plan or that your business plan must be 300 pages filled with every business detail… but trust me when I say that it can help in so many ways – and done at any stage in your business – and below are just a few.
1) By looking at the long-term and detailing out the why you are doing this business, the who do you want as your customers, and where do you want the business to go in the long term, you will make it much easier to write yearly goals and the yearly action items to support those goals. You will also make it much easier to evaluate your business as it grows and therefore to adjust as necessary.
2) Writing a business plan makes you “sweat” the details. By writing out who you think your ideal customers will be, how you plan to deliver your product or service, and how you plan to market it, you get a better handle on what you will need to start and what it will take to continue. For example, when you start listing the things you will need daily just to operate your business, you have a much better idea of how much startup money you should have, how many bookings or clients you will need, and what you will need to charge.
3) A well-thought-through business plan can give you a good idea of your odds for success. By detailing out what it will take, what it should cost, and how much you should make, a business plan can help you determine if your business could be successful – in whatever way you are defining success. And, as you create the plan, if you don’t see the potential for the success you are looking to achieve, you can alter the plan or realize it may not work before committing too much time and capital.
So, remember that assuming you are not trying to get a loan, your business plan does not need to be formal, it just needs to be well thought through and documented. And, your business plan is, and should be, flexible, since what you are aiming for when you start the business may change as your business succeeds and matures. If you don’t know where to begin on it,
If you don’t know where to begin on it, drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll send over my “Nice and Simple Business Plan” template structure. It’s easier than you think to do, and important to take the time to think these things through!