A business plan is an essential element of business development. It is important, even if you are not planning to seek outside funding. However, it is a must for any entrepreneurial endeavor that requires capital investment of anyone other than the business owner.
The business plan is just that – a PLAN – for operation of any business: for profit, non-profit, product or service, retail or wholesale. It is both essential and critical for owning and operating a successful and profitable business. Consider it to be a map, something that guides your path and tracks your successes, failures, mistakes, and opportunities for growth.
New business ventures usually fail in the first few years of operation. Such failures are most likely the result of too little capital and / or poor management. It takes multiple skills and the investment of knowledge, time, and money for a business to be successful and make a profit.
Developing your own business plan will enable you to understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) that exist for your business success. Know the market, know your product or service, know your competition, and know yourself.
“The real value of doing a business plan is not having the finished product in hand; rather, the value lies in the process of research and thinking about your business in a systematic way. The act of planning helps you to think things through thoroughly, to study and research when you are not sure of the facts, and to look at your ideas critically. It takes time, but avoids costly, perhaps disastrous, mistakes later.”
Your entrepreneurial journey will take many side roads and detours along the way. No plan is ever completely accurate in predicting the business future. Consider your business plan to be a map to success.