Why write a business plan? If you wanted to build a house, you wouldn't walk over to an empty lot and just start nailing boards together. Yet, unlike a house, a business isn't static. We often make the mistake of thinking of a business plan as a single document that you just put together when you're first starting out and then set aside. Something to check off the to-do list and be done with. But in actuality, the business plan for any business will change over time as the business develops, and any particular business may have multiple business plans as its objectives change.
What to Include in Your Business Plan
Simple Business Plan Template for Entrepreneurs
While some owners may be tempted to jump directly into startup mode, writing a business plan is a crucial first step for budding entrepreneurs to check the viability of a business before investing too much time or money. The purpose of a business plan is to help articulate a strategy for starting your business. It also provides insight on steps to be taken, resources required for achieving your business goals and a timeline of anticipated results. For existing small businesses, a business plan should be updated annually as a way to guide growth and navigate the expansion into new markets. Your plan should include explicit objectives for hiring new employees, market analysis, financial projections, and potential investors. But a business plan can bring clarity to the process of whether to buy or lease and help determine the optimal amount allocated to those assets. Marketing and market potential are important aspects of a plan for aspiring small businesses.
For most people, starting a road trip requires a map, an itinerary and a destination; the same principles apply when starting a small business. A business plan is the road map to success. A complete business plan will describe the business well enough that anyone reading the plan will understand what it is that will be accomplished, how it will be accomplished, and by whom. In addition, the act of writing the business plan will help the entrepreneur map out the expectations for the business in an organized fashion, developing a framework for how the business will operate.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in September and has been updated with new content that highlights the importance of proper business planning in 's economy. What is a business plan? For people who are just starting out and forming their own company, whether it's a small freelance business at home or a new venture with an office and a starting pool of employees, there's a lot of importance to a business plan. It is a road map, an outline, a document that explains what your business is, what the goals of the enterprise are, and how exactly it will set about achieving those goals.