In the article, “Business Plans: The Good, Bad, and Useless” the writer, very candidly, discusses the pros and cons to creating a business plan when starting out on a new business venture. He makes some valid points, ones that I think are worth discussing/reflecting on.
I think creating a plan- of any nature is a good idea. But I am a planner at heart and love organization, so I may be a little bias. But even after putting that bias aside, I still feel as though having a plan before starting out on a new business venture is wise. You may not need a long, technical plan- but writing down your ideas and ways to achieve the business goals that you set for yourself is a great way to lay a strong foundation for your new business. Since I think it is a smart way to begin a new business, I thought I would provide a few tips for you to consider before you create your plan.
- Reflect. Before you begin writing, think about where you want to see your business, what your goals are, and how you will get to that place and achieve those goals. Spend time reflecting on what you want, what you don’t want, research competitors, strategize, etc. Thinking about as many of the “nooks and crannies” as you can for your business will allow for a more clear and concise plan, which will help tremendously when executing it.
- Be Flexible! As I have previously mentioned, creating a business plan is a smart way to start your new business. But keep in mind that things are going to come up that you didn’t expect to happen. It is important to have a strong understanding that just because you have a plan written down on paper doesn’t mean that everything will fall into place accordingly. Create the plan knowing and expecting that you will probably not follow it exactly.
- Be Ready To Re-Evaluate:
- Since your entire business plan is created prior to the business starting, various components will need to be tweaked as time goes on. Take a look at everything you planned, what has happened since beginning and make changes accordingly.
- One major component of a business plan is creating a budget. There will be unexpected costs that are destined to come up and parts of your budget will need to be changed. In order to create a strong financial foundation for a thriving business, taking the time to re-evaluate the budget is imperative.
- Be Realistic. If you don’t have a strong understanding of business, then don’t create a business plan that is overly complicated and hard to follow. In addition, factor in the size of your business. A small business doesn’t need a lengthy business plan. Keep your plan simple and direct. Remember that the point of your plan is to help you as you begin your business.
- Plan Ahead. When creating your business plan, look ahead and factor in the various components that you’ll encounter during your journey, focusing specifically on growth and an exit strategy. How do you want your business to grow? What will it look like in 5 years? How long do you intend on owning and operating? Will you do all the work for the duration of the business’ existence? Or do you want to delegate and hire a suitable staff to manage the business for you? Do you intend to keep the business for many years or only a few years? These are all important things to think about before beginning. It may seem silly to think about how and when you want to exit before you even begin, but the foundation you lay for your business and how you plan to manage it as it grows and changes directly impacts the end result and when you are able to cross the “finish line” for good.
I would love to hear what you think about business plans, the points made in the article, and/or the tips listed above. Did you create a business plan before you started your business? If so, was it helpful? Would you recommend all business owners start with a business plan? Or, do you think it is a waste of time? Do you have any additional tips or general thoughts you would like to share?
If you are beginning a business and are contemplating how to begin writing a business plan, contact us today so we can help you write a plan that you will understand and can follow with ease.