Creating a proper business plan is essential for small business success. Not only will most investors require a well-structured business plan, but the process of developing a b-plan will prepare you to manage your business throughout its operational life.
Get the Ball Rolling
While constructing an effective business plan will require a substantial amount of thought and effort, a well-structured b-plan will save you headaches down the road. An effective b-plan breaks down the original idea into small, manageable chunks with related tasks. An added benefit from the development of a business plan is that you will get your creative juices flowing, providing for random spurts of creativity, strokes of genius, etc. Equally important, putting an idea on paper, including all of the steps required to get the business up and running, may demonstrate how unfeasible a particular idea is, allowing you to move on to better ideas.
Work out the Details
A business plan requires you to outline a mission statement, philosophy, and set of goals for your business. In times of uncertainty, falling back on this core understanding can provide thoughtful guidance. Set objectives for your company over a manageable time period (3-5 years), so that you can contextualize your actions moving forward.
A business plan is the place to realize the myriad factors that will affect your business. Consider pay structure, market saturation, legal form(s) of business entity, licenses and regulations, facilities, liabilities, distribution channels, growth potential, competition strategy, target markets, company image, marketing, pricing, supplier relationships, and exit strategy; leave nothing out! Moreover, understanding resource allocation – time, money, materials, personnel – enables you to create a workable structure for your business that will survive growing pains into the future.
Proof of Concept
The business plan serves as an excellent tool to convince investors, suppliers, and customers to believe in your business. Clearly detailing the amount of investment or credit required for operations will allow these members to understand how your business can fit into their plans.
Blueprint for Future Operations
A business plan should be updated accordingly as objectives and operations change. Keep a comprehensive business plan as both a legal and a managerial asset.
Check out the related documents for sample business plans and advice on developing your own. Also, the Small Business Administration offers advice on their website at www.sba.gov.