Business Plans - Dont waste your time!
ProfDavid subscriber Posts: 2
edited October 2007 in Business Planning
Whilst a business plan can be a great source of guidance and brings structure to many younger businesses, I have known hundreds of people who have spent so much time crafting a business plan and very little doing the business.If you do put a Business Plan together make sure it is alive and fit for purpose.Sadly I have met quite a few people who thin k writing a business plan is all they need to do.Personally I have never written one in my life - this is a bit of a personality thing, but also I find them quite distracting in start up phase.Should I spend three days writing a busines plan or three days selling - Selling!Best WishesDavid
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While I have met several people who think that writing the plan is all that is needed - I have met many more whose business did not succeed because they had no plan at all.
I believe the process (the thinking, research and decisions) is invaluable to most would be business owners.
You hit on a point when you said "it`s not finished". I do see people who spend a lot of time trying to "finish" (perfect) their plan, which can waste a lot of energy and time. However, the "ready, fire, aim" approach can be mistake filled and thus costly.
We encourage our clients to strike a balance. Do "enough" planning to understand how, where, when, what, etc is needed to move forward in a efficient sequence while regularly "revising" and adding to their plan.
Take a huge breath breathe. You hit the nail on the head, spot on!
For everyone wrestling with the "business plan" avoidance syndrome.
It takes a few hours to write and a lifetime to master - get on with it.
A plan isn`t written for investors. (if your shopping your plan to raise money - think again)
A plan needs to be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect changes in your business and market conditions (it`s a living document it`s not carved in stone)
A plan is a road map for execution and MUST be written by the business founders
A plan is an exercise in thinking through the entire business paradigm. It`s who, what, when, where, why and how much.
It`s OK to not have all the answers to every question. But, you should have at least asked the questions and researched your industry and competition.
Relax and just do it. Find a good software suite and start answering the questions.
ever had to do, but at the same time, it was the most rewarding thing for
me. Although the SBA rejected the loan I was initially applying for at the
time, I was left with a solid vision and plan, of which would have been
absent had I not gone through the process of putting things together.
Writing the plan offers perspective in advance of having to learn things
the hard way. I found it akin to taking castor oil... although it doesn`t go
down smoothly, it has a long term benefit.
Sometimes there are blessings in the briar patches when it comes to
owning and operating a business. Only those who are willing to go
through the thickets will gain the benefits associated with having to write
and tweak an organic business plan.
Just my 2 cents... Bliz2007-10-16 12:47:3
In my experience, having written and not written, I can tell you it`s really about having solid goals, and setting out
how you`re going accomplish them.
I heard somewhere (I think it was Keith Ferrazzi) that there is a huge difference in success between people who
have goals and those who do not.
In a Harvard class (not a bad school - everyone on relatively equal footing at a university of that level, so a good
test case) - the numbers are rounded - 83% of people said that they had no defined goals. 13% said they have
goals, but didn`t write them down. Remaining 3-4% had goals and wrote them down.
Here`s the kicker - the 83% were the baseline - average. The 13% who had goals but didn`t write them down made
twice as much money than the 83%. And the 3-4%, they made twice as much money as the 13%.
For someone starting out as a newbie I think the advice SUN gives for Starting a Business is invaluable. I didn`t know how to put my thoughts onto paper although I knew what I wanted my business to say about me and where I wanted to go with it...sort of. SUN hits the nail on the head, breaks it down, and makes it all come alive.
I spent about 2 hours evaluating my thoughts and haven`t finished writing it yet but I have a far clearer idea now.
I would say it is vital for anyone starting out - even if you have an outline in bullet form with SUN`s guidelines to help.
Thank you StartUpNation.
Whether it`s in your head or a formal document on paper, you have some idea of what you are doing and where you are going. I think what is being debated here is merely a matter of style and that is simply a personal preference.
I know many business owners who are very successful and never had a plan. It depends on the person and situation.
Writing a business plan accomplishes several things. First, it brings your attention to your business. Most businesses need to be focused. If you`re throwing together an online hodge podge of internet businesses, you might not need one. If you`re serious about your business, are in business alone, and have an extremely singular focus, you might not need one.
If you want financing, you will need one of these. If you`re not sure what your business is, you need one of these (and a lot of help). If you are not in business alone, you need one. If you aren`t sure just what makes you better than any other business doing/selling/servicing the same thing as you are, you need one.
This doesn`t mean go find a business-in-a-box source for business-plans-in-a-box. Those don`t help too much, and getting funding requires some original thought or a house to mortgage.
The process of building a business plan may seem trite, even ridiculous to folks looking to make their million on the internet. Ignore it...if you`re already making millions without a business plan, vision or mission statement, why bother now? Enjoy your money and life.
Creating a business plan means knowing who you are (as a company), what your company values and ethics are, what you do and what you don`t do...it takes knowing who your competition is, knowing your niche...and if you don`t have one, whether you need one or not. Business plans help focus your efforts as a business owner, whether there is a market for your product/service and how best to reach your customers/market. A business plan includes an idea of a marketing strategy...or who to hire to support your marketing strategy. Do you need a tax advisor or accountant, or will you handle all of it yourself. How many people will be working for you? What sort of business will you be acorporation? LLC? are you a sole proprieter or do you have partners? Do you know the benefits of each type? Who are your advisors ? what technology and what tools do you use? Are you up on latest technology for your business? What publications will you need, and what other resources? Where do you want your business to go? What are your financial projections? What if you make money, but nowhere near enough to consider it viable? What if you`re ridiculously successful? When do you sell it, or get out of business?
Well, some of us rely on our business plan for many things. It isn`t the actual plan itself (this is handy for financial people, employees, investors, accountants...) that steers the business, it is the knowledge gained by going through each of the areas involved. Sure, you can take an hour to fill out the formulated, generic business plan builder, but then, what is the point? It won`t tell you how to market your business, where to find investors, where to find wholesalers, what markets you are unwilling to work with for ethical reasons, etc. It is knowing what you need to know to succeed, knowing what failure means to you and what failure in your business arena is equal to.
For myself and my partner, we are working on a business plan. We are also working on our products. We know who we are, we`re studying who our customers might be and how best to meet the customers` needs. We`re learning all we can so that we will know if its time to make a change, drop a line or add one, or make an overhaul of the entire business.
Good luck to everyone, with our without a business plan.