Do you really need to have a business plan?
The short answer is yes.
The importance of a comprehensive, thoughtful business plan cannot be overemphasized. Many factors critical to business success depend upon your plan: outside funding, credit from suppliers, management of your operation and finances, promotion and marketing of your business, and achievement of your goals and objectives.
Some people assume that if they are not going to seek financial support from lenders or investors to open their business that they don’t need to prepare a business plan, but every business should have one. Writing a business plan serves as a roadmap for your venture when you’re starting out. It can help you figure out many key business elements, including:
- What you will need to do to get started and what resources (time, money, etc.) you will need to expend
- What it will take for your business to make a profit and how long that will take
- What information potential customers, vendors and investors will need to know in order for you to market your business effectively
Having your business plan also forces you to think about your business objectively. When you’re done, you will have a more realistic idea of the effort it will require and whether it's a venture you want to pursue at this time.
Don't be intimidated. The process of sitting down and writing out a business plan could spark your creativity and lead you to new business strategies you may not have considered previously. You'll also find that having your business goals written down enables you to refer to them at any time. This will ensure you don't lose sight of your original focus once you do start your business.