Ever heard of the saying fail to plan, plan to fail?
People think a written business plan is only necessary if you are seeking funding for your business but actually, a business plan is an important step to ensuring business success.
It creates a framework for you to start and grow your business.
Sure there are successful businesses owners whose plans are embedded in their brain and never create a written plan. But they succeed despite the lack of a formal plan, not because of it.
In its most general sense, business planning is about turning your business idea into reality.
With this in mind, a business plan is therefore a written document that articulates what your business is about and what steps you will take to make it successful.
The main purpose of writing a business plan when you are starting your business is to put your idea, thoughts and strategy on paper so that you can question and test the viability of the business. Writing the plan forces you to research and get the information that you need to turn your idea into a successful venture.
Further, the plan will help you;
- The plan provides an organised way to conduct your investigation
- It helps you think long term, not just starting a business but staying in business
- Gather information of the industry thereby assisting you in making more informed decisions
- It helps you know what will be required of you as an entrepreneur
- The plan raises questions that will help inspire solutions before a crisis occurs
- By identifying strengths and weaknesses, it reveals where you will need assistance
- The plan can be used as a guide to keep you focused
Admittedly, writing a business plan is not the easiest thing to do. As a new entrepreneur, limited resources often mean that you have to do the writing by yourself and in my experience as business planner, I have seen many business ideas end at the planning stage because the owners cannot overcome the planning stage.
Indeed business planning is a big challenge but do not despair, there is help out there. Over the internet, there are many sites that give valuable information including free templates that you can download for your use or you can buy software that can help you create a professional plan in easy to follow steps.
Additionally, there are business advisers through organisations such as business link or private companies that can assist you with you plan.
As a guideline, before you begin writing your business plan, consider the following questions:
- How will your potential customers purchase your product/service?
- What is the business looking to provide and what gap does it fill?
- Who will buy your product/service and why will they choose you?
- How will you finance your business?
So if you have a good idea, do not fail plan get external expertise if you need the assistance to make your business real.
Once you have written a business plan, use it to your benefit. It can be very easy to store it away and never review it again. Remember, it represents your compass, providing a valuable management tool for you to measure your business performance.
Lillian Magero is an experienced business change consultant with project management skills and a track record of delivering change projects across a range of sectors including public sector.
Using best practice from methodologies such as PRINCE2 and ITILv3, able to deliver projects to scope, time and cost. With a track record of success working on end to end projects and in different roles within a project, a proactive leader with excellent stakeholder management skills coupled with the drive and tenacity to achieve business objectives.