You’ve got a dream of owning and operating your own small business.
The writing of a business plan that is both concise, and thorough, will help guide you through this process and will help you attract the right kinds of prospective partners.
Yes, I’m saying “partners,” because businesses generally don’t operate in a vacuum all by themselves. Even if you yourself are “the business,” and even if you don’t need any investment capital to operate, you still need to be very clear about the products or services that you’ll be offering, and you’ll need to be able to clearly define your prospective customers.
For this reason, the writing of a business plan is as much an exercise that is for our own benefit, as business owners, as it is a benefit for anybody else who might read the plan.
As you work through the process of writing your business plan, no doubt you’ll think of potential challenges or obstacles to your small business that you hadn’t thought of before. You’ll probably also think of potential opportunities, and “advantages” to operating your small business, that you hadn’t thought of before, as well.
This is all very normal. It’s another reason why the process of writing the plan is highly beneficial to each of us business owners.
Oh, and another thing you need to keep in mind before you begin this process – once you start, you should never plan on stopping! No kidding. A wise small business owner regards their business plan as a “living document,” or a “work in progress.” This means that it is always open for review, and for amending.
That does NOT mean that we ignore the goals that we set for ourselves, or that we constantly adjust our goals “downward.” That’s not the point at all. What it does mean, however, is that even after you launch your small business you’ll want to make it a habit to periodically review your plan. You’ll want to regularly re-think how you are approaching things, reconsider how your market is changing and evolving, and if necessary, revise your goals.
So, prepare to go on a “journey”…you’re starting in the “land of ideas and dreams,” and you’re headed for “the big world of small business ownership!” There will be plenty of stops along the way, and each entrepreneur’s journey is a bit different.
If you think you’re ready to get started now, then there are a couple of places to go for tips on writing your plan. The pro’s at Entrepreneur Magazine have some great examples HERE
Likewise, the Business Plan Development section of our U.S. Government’s Small Business Administration website has some superb examples as well – just click HERE.
If writing a business plan still seems a bit overwhelming, try writing answers to these three questions, as a “pre-business plan” exercise. Don’t just “think” or “say” your answers – write them, on your computer or on paper.
Question #1: Why Is Your Business Idea A Good Idea? – Business ventures are usually propelled forward by peoples’ passion and vision. And while having passion and vision are necessary elements for business ventures to take-off and thrive, they are not sufficient elements, in and of themselves. So, who else is excited about your idea? Is there a need for your product or service? If people don’t necessarily perceive that they need or want your product or service right now, could you change people’s perceptions and create a demand for your product or service? Start your answer by writing “my business idea is a good idea because…” and take as much time as you need on this.