Whenever I mention the words “business plan” to people, whether they are just starting up in business or already established and looking to grow or change their business, they look at me as if to say “do I have to?”
A lot of people seem to think that business plans are dreamt up by accountants to allow them to charge a fee to their clients for “added value” services. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you are starting up your business and you don’t have a plan, how do you know what that business will do, how it will work, whether it will make money and whether you will get out of it what you want?
If you want to grow your business or need funding to make changes, how do you know how much money you will need and whether you will be able to afford to pay it back if you don’t have a plan?
There has been much reported in the news about how difficult it is to get bank lending nowadays for small and medium sized businesses. If anything is going to help you get this it will be a comprehensive, well thought through business plan with back up for your assumptions and a credible plan for paying back the loan.
If you want to approach an investor, your business won’t even be considered for investment if you don’t have a business plan that you can back up with facts and figures that make you and your business a credible investment.
So in summary, a good business plan will help you to understand where your business is going and how to get there and it will help you to obtain any funding or investment that you need from external sources.
Most importantly, however, if you take the time to think through a plan and then write it down, you are more likely to actually do it than if you keep it in your head.
Are you ready to plan now?