A quick search of the Internet will get you a mess of articles extolling the pros and cons of business planning. The advocates claim that anyone getting into business must have a business plan. On the other side of the argument are those who think business planning is a waste of time, including a few seasoned owners who matter-of-factly claim they’ve never had a business plan.
This can be confusing for those new to business. It’s hard to know what to believe, and naturally nobody wants to waste precious time if a business plan is not needed, nor should they—unless there are tangible benefits. Let’s kill a myth. Most of those who will tell you they have no business plan, when questioned further, will admit that they actually do have a plan; it’s just that they don’t think of it- or refer to it as a formal business plan. Make no mistake about it; where there’s a thriving, sustainable business, there is a plan.
Many who started without written business plans did so back when it was possible to travel the railways with manually powered scooters. Trains were much slower then, and a hardy lad could almost always yank the . . .Continue reading Smart Entrepreneurs Cruise with Business Plans
After coaching many people through the eye of the business planning needle, I’m intrigued and bewildered by the gap between “what business planning is” and “what people seem to think it is.” Time and again I see intelligent people going to great lengths to avoid business planning when it’s exactly what they need to navigate the complexities of start-up.
Whether they admit it or not, those who succeed in business do some sort of planning – or hire someone to do it for them. The pieces of a successful business don’t fall into place perfectly by themselves without some kind of high-level roadmap to get them flying in formation. The elements of success come together because someone—usually the business owner—plans, agonizes, organizes, pampers, and weaves the threads together to achieve the desired positive result.
So, what is this aggravation called business planning?
. . .Continue reading To Business Plan or Not: Is That Really the Question?
No matter how small your business idea, a business plan can help you build the confidence you need to get to opening day. Business planning is not just for large or high-growth ventures, and it really shouldn’t be put off until you need to borrow money.
As healthy as the planning is, many small and micro-business owners will put it off as long as they can. And it’s easy to understand why. Business planning involves the tedious process of organizing your thoughts and getting them onto paper, or more likely, into a word processor. It includes a whole whack of potentially unfamiliar activities, such as researching, writing and building a credible set of financial projections.
Indeed, why would anyone knowingly put themselves through such pain? Thankfully, the benefits far outweigh any negatives. Here 11 ways you will win by taking the time to develop a business plan:
You know where you’re going You will have a roadmap or blueprint for your business You will have a document to look back on in order to measure your progress A plan will help protect your investment and equity from loss You will find out if your idea will work You can discover . . .Continue reading Win With a Business Plan
Last week I was compelled to click on an article that dissed business plans… again.
Why, when the Internet is cluttered with articles that extol the benefits of writing a business plan, would I invest time reading anti-business plan rhetoric?
It is fear? Fear that some guru has figured out a way to bypass the business plan and transformed business start-up into a safe, clean, effortless experience. Not really. Nor have I discovered any such gem—in fact, it seems to get more and more complicated to own a business, not easier.
Perhaps it’s a fascination with the idea that people are generally more easily attracted to negative news than positive. So, it rather makes sense that a headline that slags business planning would attract more reads than a positive title might. Maybe.
Perhaps I resent just a bit that people are drawn to articles telling them to take the lazy approach. It’s plain sexy to imagine that you can create the next Facebook without lifting a finger or getting your hands dirty.
Invariably, once I read the article bearing the business plan dissing title, I find it’s either a blatant marketing campaign for a slightly different product or someone advising . . .Continue reading Burning Business Plans is Sexy LOL
Mention the need for a business plan to the uninitiated, and they will likely give you a lot of reasons why they don’t need one. But anyone who has successfully completed a business plan knows it is a healthy learning process that enables you to manage risk and confidently start or grow your business.
Keep the body of your business plan brief. Attach important detail and supporting information in the appendices. In the body of your plan, make reference to the appendices so your readers will know where to find details.
Write for your average reader. Don’t try to baffle your reader with big words. Explain any terms that might be confusing. Break the complex down until it becomes simple.
Clarify your assumptions for the reader. You will be doing some guessing. If you’re assuming an interest rate of 8 percent, say so. Use only the safest assumptions, and use them sparingly.
Support your narrative and financial assertions with relevant documentation. There are a number of possible appendices that might add to the credibility of your business plan. For example, if your resume will help your reading audience to understand why your experience qualifies you to own and operate the . . .Continue reading Everyone Needs a Good Business Plan
The purpose of business planning is to prove or disprove your business case.
Scary as that might sound, it’s as simple as making sure your business will draw enough customers to pay enough money for your products or services to enable your business and you to survive and perhaps even thrive.
What’s proof to some may not be proof to others. While absolute proof is hard to come by, there are many ways to strengthen or weaken your business case. The stronger your case, the more confident you will be in your business idea. Your confidence will come about as a result of a number of things you do. The important thing is to use building blocks that make sense to you, and to those you may be trying to romance with your business plan.
Newbies tend to experience uncertainty at the beginning of any business venture. A business plan provides an opportunity for you to gain confidence in your ideas. In other words, prove it to yourself and you will be in a better position to convince others.
Here is a glimpse of how it works. Imagine you have $100,000 and I am trying to entice you to invest . . .Continue reading Prove Your Business Case: Selling Laptops to Polar Bears