PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Time to Celebrate: Write a Business Plan

By at 20 December, 2018, 12:29 pm

Business Success Strategies

December is National Write a Business Plan Month

by Karen Kerrigan-

Is a business plan necessary? A few years ago that question was being hotly debated, and lingers to this day. Some suggest “the business plan” is an outdated relic and a waste of time.  Many small business owners have, of course, started enterprises without a formal plan. But for the serious entrepreneur who is planning to raise capital, bring on strategic partners and move to rapid growth, creating a roadmap is a vital document that will help keep the business on course and provide the cohesive vision that a team needs to work effectively.

December happens to be National Write a Business Plan Month. For business owners, it’s a great time to seriously review and update your plan for 2019 (and beyond). For budding entrepreneurs who hope to start a business in the coming year, why not start your plan right now? Studies have found that people are more likely to move forward with their startup idea if they’ve put the effort into writing a business plan.  For current business owners with new goals, once those goals are documented in writing, the actions and work of an entrepreneur tend to gravitate toward achieving them.

Business plans can be lengthy, short, detailed or lean. It all depends upon your situation. The general content includes an executive summary, a marketing analysis and strategy, information about key team members and organization, and financial projections (income, cash-flow and balance sheet projections).

The Small Business Administration (SBA) describes various formats and provides a tool for entrepreneurs to develop a simple business plan, which can be accessed here.

For additional guidance, I’ve dusted off some of my favorite articles on the value of a business plan, whether you need one, and the various pieces to think about:

Don’t Waste Time on a Business Plan if You Find Yourself in One of These 6 Common Situations, by Martin Zwilling for Inc.

The 10 Ingredients of a Great Business Plan, Martin Zwilling, Forbes.

An Introduction to Business Plans, Entrepreneur.

As Martin Zwilling notes in his article for Inc., “My sense is that not writing a business plan is more often an excuse rather than a time saver. Building a business is a long-term non-trivial task, like building a house….Would you commit results or start spending, without a detailed plan, to build a house for your family? In my view, you should treat your new business with the same respect.”

Indeed, there is really no downside to writing a business plan. And the good news is that there are ample resources and help online, from SCORE, and your local Small Business Development Center or Women’s Business Center.

Get writing, today!  The U.S. definitely needs more entrepreneurs!

Karen Kerrigan is president & CEO of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

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