One of the most common questions I used to ask before I started a business was do I really need a business plan? You might be in a situation where you are asking yourself the same question.
The bottom line is; it really depends on what you want to do.
A business plan helps you document your business goals, your business objectives and clarifies who your customers are, what your edge is, what your market is like and so on.
But to be honest, you dont really need a business plan if you choose not to have one.
I remember at CMI, people used to ask me whats your business plan?, whats your business model? and do you have a business plan?
Err yeah, its just not finalized yet would be my usual answer. To tell you the truth, I was scared of telling people I had no business plan, or what I wanted to do.
I told my doubts to a lecturer and he responded you dont need a business plan Ive met people who say to me my business plan is to make money or my business model is to make money.
It is quite refreshing but I would strongly urge you not to throw away the idea of a business plan until you thoroughly know what you are doing, and how you plan to do it if you dont know where youre going, how do you know how to get there?
Most of the time, business plans are put into a drawer, never to see the light of day.
Ensuring that this plan is understood and is referenced to is really important. Updating the turnover target for your business, or picking a specific marketing campaign will all have an effect on your business.
Making a business plan works for you, rather than the other way around is hard work most people dont bother, and just run the business, do the business and work hard to deliver profits/sales.
The components of a business plan are much the same, and if youre looking for funding, or a loan or other financial help you will need to have certain sections. I wont attempt to write a template because there are so many on the Internet.
Amongst others you should put in:
- Executive Summary what is it that you do?
- Start up summary how much will you spend to start up the business, what assets and resources will you need how much funding will you be needing?
- Cash flow forecast how much will you be spending in the year, some investors want to see 3 or 4 year projections
- Sales forecast how much sales/turnover will you be generating?
- Marketing campaigns how will you market your products/services how much will you spend per month on these campaigns. Include the Internet in this section, and describe how it will be used.
Remember, a business plan is for you it is not for anybody else it is not written for the bank manager, so write your own way use templates, books and get help and advice from your local business support center and ensure your plan is sound.
Do you need a business plan? If you know exactly what you are doing and how you are going to deliver it, then perhaps not but if you are unclear, uncertain or unsure then a a business plan can be your foundations to a successful business.