Members are undecided as to whether or not they actually need a business plan. They have mentioned reading articles or talking with experts who say a business plan is not necessary.
I strongly disagree. A business plan is imperative to the success of your business.
A “business plan” can take on different forms. When I started my first company, Bisson Barcelona, I wrote out a full business plan, which included sections on the industry, target market, competition, trends, marketing strategies and much more. This was a business plan that I took to the bank to secure funds needed to buy an office and equipment. I knew my business well, but needed an organized way to layout and present the information for investors as well as myself for planning future growth.
When I started my second company, The Mom Entrepreneur, I did not create the same kind of business plan. I was not seeking money from investors, and since I had already written a full business plan, I had a sense of the information I needed for planning the growth of the company.
I decided to use an idea notebook. This is a 6×9 inch notebook with pages that are filled with ideas, thoughts, plans, suggestions, etc. I refer to it often, make changes, delete ideas and add new ones.
No matter what type of business you own or how savvy of an entrepreneur you are, you must have a plan! Growing a business takes you to a destination. Would you get in a car and drive to a place you have never been before without a map or a GPS system or some other device to help you navigate?
Of course not. So why would you do it with your business?
“Even if you aren’t planning to borrow money or seek investors right away, there are good reasons to sit down and write a plan,” says Karen Klein, a business journalist who covers small-business issues for several national publications, including Businessweek. “Writing a business plan not only helps you determine whether your business idea is feasible, it also establishes a map for your company’s future. Without it, your business is likely to drift along without direction or parameters for measuring progress.”
Microsoft’s Small Business Center advises that if you’re starting a home-based business on a shoestring, some of these suggestions probably aren’t necessary, but you still should create a plan that outlines your goals, expected costs, marketing plan and exit strategy. If you haven’t written your plan yet, your business is still in the fantasy stages.
“A business plan is never quite finished because you’re always revising it, reviewing it, and building upon it. In fact, more important to your business’ future than having a written, 30-page, coil-bound plan to distribute is the business planning process that you undertake on a regular basis to hopefully keep your ship headed in the right direction without losing sight of your long-term destination,” explains Elizabeth Wasserman, a writer for Inc. Magazine.
Even a seasoned traveler needs to be reminded how to get to a destination. Perhaps landmarks have changed, or road construction has altered your direction.
If you are struggling in your business and feel like you have lost your sense of direction then take the time to research and write a business plan that outlines your goals and how you will achieve and measure them.
Here are some sites that can help get you started:
- SCORE Business Plan Templates- they have a variety of templates here to choose from depending on your type of business. Easy to understand and use.
- SBA Business Plan Template – this template is designed to help you build a business plan. Review and complete each section of the template. At the end of the program you will be able to generate and save a formatted business plan which can later be further modified or presented as a final product.
- Entrepreneur.com Business Plan – describes the different sections of a business plan and offers free sample business plans.
- Need help? Have questions? Join our discussion on The Mom Entrepreneur Support Group about how to write a business plan.
So mom entrepreneurs, what are your thoughts? Do you have a business plan? Do you recommend creating one for a business? I welcome your comments.