need some help with a business plan

JessicaWoodsJessicaWoods subscriber Posts: 2
edited August 2016 in Business Planning
Hi! I'm planning to set up my own company. I'd like to start distributing milk to schools. I need a business plan, but I don't know how to go about it. What are the requirements? Are they the same for each kind of business?
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Comments

  • Ryan O'BlenessRyan O'Bleness Birmingham, Mich. administrator Posts: 1,137 Site Admin
    Hi, Jessica:

    Welcome to the community! We are all about entrepreneurship here at StartupNation, and we encourage you to pursue this. I would be lying if I told you I knew anything about writing a business plan. However, I recall reading an article on the topic last month on http://www.startupnation.com from the staff over at Instant Offices. The article contains several tips for universal best practices, from successful business strategists and C-level employees, when it comes to writing business plans. I would like to share this article with you, and it is linked below:

    https://startupnation.com/start-your-business/how-to-write-a-business-plan/?utm_source=community&utm_medium=12002&utm_campaign=existing-topic%20

    Hope this help.

    Best,
    Ryan O'Bleness
    Community Manager
    StartupNation, LLC
  • cubensyscubensys subscriber Posts: 1
    You don't need a business plan.
    I'm serious, you don't need it. You will only waste your time, at best.

    The vast majority of startup business plans are complete fiction because if a startup is doing something even remotely new, there is no available data from which to project the future.

    You should read The Lean Startup to master this concept.

    When you understand that a business plan is not the best framework upon which to think about a startup, you should read Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Design.

    If you believe you need a business plan to get investment, imagine how much more interested any investor will be when you come instead with an actual product/service with actual sales and actual growth.
  • Ryan O'BlenessRyan O'Bleness Birmingham, Mich. administrator Posts: 1,137 Site Admin
    cubensys wrote:
    You don't need a business plan.
    I'm serious, you don't need it. You will only waste your time, at best.

    The vast majority of startup business plans are complete fiction because if a startup is doing something even remotely new, there is no available data from which to project the future.

    You should read The Lean Startup to master this concept.

    When you understand that a business plan is not the best framework upon which to think about a startup, you should read Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Design.

    If you believe you need a business plan to get investment, imagine how much more interested any investor will be when you come instead with an actual product/service with actual sales and actual growth.

    I think I have to disagree with you, Cubensys. I think every business is different, and I'm not sure it's fair to generalize and say that business plans are not ever needed. While I definitely see your point, I think there are more benefits to having a business plan written as opposed to not having one at all, but I see both sides of it. For example, having a strict plan on paper keeps you focused and on track, and enables your investors to constantly be in the loop, but it may also limit your ability to get creative and improvise when something doesn't go as you expected it to.

    Other benefits of having a written business plan may include
    -clear business goals/objectives
    -easier prioritizing
    -sensible delegating of tasks/tracking accountability and results
    -it makes it easier to keep track of your cash flow/finances

    With that said, this whole concept of "lean" startups is intriguing and something I would like to learn more about.

    We actually have a book excerpt on the StartupNation website regarding lean startups. The book is titled "Scaling Lean," by author Ash Maurya, and this particular excerpt talks about how to embrace failure and succeed.

    https://startupnation.com/grow-your-business/scaling-lean-book-excerpt/
    Ryan O'Bleness
    Community Manager
    StartupNation, LLC
  • Charlie PCharlie P subscriber Posts: 84 Silver Level Member
    cubensys wrote:
    You don't need a business plan.
    I'm serious, you don't need it. You will only waste your time, at best.

    The vast majority of startup business plans are complete fiction because if a startup is doing something even remotely new, there is no available data from which to project the future.

    You should read The Lean Startup to master this concept.

    When you understand that a business plan is not the best framework upon which to think about a startup, you should read Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition Design.

    If you believe you need a business plan to get investment, imagine how much more interested any investor will be when you come instead with an actual product/service with actual sales and actual growth.

    Cubensys,

    I agree that if a person/company is just making up fictional information to fill in all the lines of a business plan that it is a waste of time and paper, but I truly hope that most would at the very least attempt to stick with real data. If it is a new field, then yes, the financials will be pure speculation and on those it should be noted that there is no comparison for historical data and that this is speculation based potential.

    The value of nailing down exactly what it is that you want your company to accomplish and the standards by which it will do business is huge in relation to the potential success as a business. Sure, if I'm marketing something that sells itself, then I could probably go without a business plan and I could probably assume that I'm going to make some money, but most products of that nature have stiff competition. Do you think that all of the competition has also foregone the process of creating a business plan? Do you think that they have foregone the process of digging in deep to make sure that they fully understand the market they are entering?

    The point is, the real value of building a business plan is the full grasp of what you are about to do. The things you will learn about your market and customers will be a huge boost to your chances of success. It's not about the paper in most cases, it's about the learning process.
  • Ryan O'BlenessRyan O'Bleness Birmingham, Mich. administrator Posts: 1,137 Site Admin
    Well said, Charlie. I have to agree with you. I think there is much more value to having a business plan than not having one at all. I do believe there is a direct correlation between having a thorough plan and finding success because you know what your goals are, you know when to deploy certain tactics and you know what you need to do to accomplish those benchmarks you set. Like I said, each business is different. Perhaps a certain business fares better with the lean startup mentality or without a business plan, but I personally think it is more beneficial to have a strong plan in place.
    Ryan O'Bleness
    Community Manager
    StartupNation, LLC
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