You don’t really need a business plan anyway, do you? Yes, you need a business plan.
Establish the Direction
The number one reason for writing a business plan is to define your business and establish its direction. Now, if you’re starting a business, you probably already have a good picture of what you’ll be doing and how you’ll be doing it, which is why some business owners think writing a business plan is unnecessary. They figure that there’s no need to spell out what they already have figured out. However, as you get six months or a year or five years into running your business, you may lose sight of this original purpose or stray from the direction you wanted to take the business. With a completed business plan, you will always have a blueprint to consult when decisions have to be made or opportunities arise. A business plan keeps you on track!
If you need funding to get started, a business plan is usually required to prove that you have done your research and have the right base in place to get it off the ground. But instead of just throwing together a business plan to check the box, taking the time to write a thorough and effective plan will show that you are taking the business seriously.
Identify Upcoming Business Needs and Challenges
There’s so much involved at the beginning of starting a business that you may not fully realize all of your business needs and challenges upfront. However, when you develop your business plan, the exercise of laying out the specifics of your business operations and projections aids in identifying requirements and potential stumbling blocks.
Set Benchmarks and Forecasting Goals
A business plan includes financial forecasting for each year of operation, which is means that you will have benchmarks in lace to analyze your performance against your goals. These are helpful because they allow you to modify your business operations as you go to ensure that your business will be closely aligned with the financial goals that you have set. It will also help as you budget for capital investments, hiring and large expenses.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!