If you are about to start your own business there is a very good chance that you haven’t bothered with one of the most important ‘first steps’ and that is writing your business plan.
It always amazes me just how many start-up businesses owners simply don’t bother with this fundamental requirement and ignore the preparation of a business plan completely. Many people think that a business plan is only required if you are planning on obtaining funding from someone, for example a bank but this isn’t the case. A business plan provides the business owner with a ‘road map’ of what the business should be doing and where it is heading. Without a properly prepared business plan it can be hard to keep the business on course and to even have any clue of where the course goes!
Fortunately, writing a business plan shouldn’t cause any business owner too much of a headache and should be something you can do yourself in a few hours. Remember, you can always add or amend a plan at a later date as your business develops. A business plan is simply a written document which outlines the shorter and longer term objectives and forecasts of a given business.
Most business plans will contain some or all of the following sections. Depending upon the type of business, some of the following points may not be relevant so pick and choose.
History of business
Financial details & Forecasts
The Future of the Business
Once written, the idea is to refer back to the plan regularly to ensure that your business is adhering to your forecasts and is moving forward as you originally intended. That’s not to say that if things change that you can’t update your plan but don’t file it away in a drawer and forget about it – this is absolutely pointless.
Of course, it isn’t just new businesses which should have a business plan but ALL businesses!