Business plans are dead — or are they? For many entrepreneurs, the business plan is an outmoded document that gets created mainly for the benefit of VCs and bank loan officers. Bootstrappers rarely think they need one to get by. But the fact is that a business plan — even just a one-pager with a few financial projections — can be a valuable internal tool. A roadmap for even the smallest or earliest-stage idea.
The Disadvantages of a Business Plan
10 Reasons Why You Should Write A Business Plan - Small Business Trends
But before you put pen to paper, there are a few vital exercises you need to go through to ensure your business idea is a viable one. The business you plan to start might be in an industry you have some experience in or it might be totally new to you, either way you need to do in-depth research into the industry and market to make sure you fully understand how it operates. Many people are infatuated with their new business idea before they have properly evaluated whether it is worth the time and money they need to invest in it. Based on the findings from your research and once you have stress-tested your idea, you may have identified weaknesses or opportunities. The findings will allow you to refine the business idea so that it fills any gaps in the industry, meets market demands, is different from competitor offerings, leverages relationships with partners and suppliers and is financially sustainable. While there is no universal business plan template, plans generally include the following sections:.
How to write a business plan: Free template, tips, and examples
If you are one of the new age of entrepreneurs who hates the thought of doing a business plan as a first step in starting your new venture, you will love this message. More and more professionals agree that a better strategy is to explore and fine tune your assumptions before declaring a specific plan with financial projections based only on your dream and passion. In the process, you may save yourself considerable re-work and money , or even decide that your dream needs more time to mature, before you commit your limited resources, or sign up with investors to a painful and unsatisfying plan. I just finished a new book on this approach, Beyond the Business Plan , by Simon Bridge and Cecilia Hegarty, which outlines tradeoffs and recommends ten principles for every new venture explorer.
Tasks, to-do lists, meetings, and more. Amidst that rush, the idea of writing a good business plan—much less following a business plan template—often feels time-consuming and intimidating. After all, when done right, business plans have enormous payoffs.