I find it amazing that many small businesses do not or have ever had a business plan; to me this is like getting in your car but not knowing how to get where you’re going and just driving in circles. In order to successfully grow your business, you should have a business plan; quite honestly a business should not open its doors until it has one. Many small businesses mistakenly think that a business plan has to be elaborate with lots of charts and spreadsheets, and this is not necessarily the case. A business plan can be a simple two or three page document that simply out lines where you are, where you are going, and how you are going to get there. Now most businesses do know where they want to go, they just don’t have a plan on how to get there. Think of your company as a car, and think of your business plan as your GPS. If you take the GPS out of the car, you may have an address, but no idea how to get to it.
According to a Wall Street Journal article from 2009 “Why You Need a Business Plan” by Colleen Debaise, author of The Wall Street Journal Complete Small Business Guidebook “A strong business plan is essentially the cornerstone of your business, and yet many entrepreneurs drag their feet when it comes to writing one— possibly because it involves a good deal of work and may bring back childhood memories of writing a tedious book report on summer vacation. But it’s critical that you not only organize your thoughts on how you intend to run your business but also formalize your plan in writing”
“Winging it” or “Figuring it out as you go” is often a recipe for disaster in business, don’t get me wrong some business get lucky and are at the right place at the right time, but do you really want to gamble with the success of your business on “Luck”? I know I wouldn’t want luck to determine the success of my business and considering that over 50% of all new businesses fail it makes sense to do everything possible to ensure its success and having a solid business plan while not a guarantee for success is certainty a step in the right direction.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has on online template to walk you through creating a business plan. You can check it out at “SBA Business plan template”.