20 Reasons Why You Need a Business Plan
Written by Pete Kennedy on Wednesday, April 9, 2008
1. To prove that you’re serious about your business. A formal business plan is necessary to show all interested parties -- employees, investors, partners and yourself -- that you are committed to building the business.
2. To establish business milestones. The business plan should clearly lay out the long-term milestones that are most important to the success of your business. To paraphrase Guy Kawasaki, a milestone is something significant enough to come home and tell your spouse about (without boring him or her to death). Would you tell your spouse that you tweaked the company brochure? Probably not. But you'd certainly share the news that you launched your new website or reached $1M in annual revenues.
3. To better understand your competition. Creating the business plan forces you to analyze the competition. All companies have competition in the form of either direct or indirect competitors, and it is critical to understand your company's competitive advantages.
4. To better understand your customer. Why do they buy when they buy? Why don’t they when they don't? An in-depth customer analysis is essential to an effective business plan and to a successful business.
5. To enunciate previously unstated assumptions. The process of actually writing the business plan helps to bring previously "hidden" assumptions to the foreground. By writing them down and assessing them, you can test them and analyze their validity.
6. To assess the feasibility of your venture. How good is this opportunity? The business plan process involves researching your target market, as well as the competitive landscape, and serves as a feasibility study for the success of your venture.
7. To document your revenue model. How exactly will your business make money? This is a critical question to answer in writing, for yourself and your investors. Documenting the revenue model helps to address challenges and assumptions associated with the model.
8. To determine your financial needs. Does your business need to raise capital? How much? The business plan creation process helps you to determine exactly how much capital you need and what you will use it for. This process is essential for raising capital for business and for effectively employing the capital.
9. To attract investors. A formal business plan is the basis for financing proposals. The business plan answers investors' questions such as: Is there a need for this product/service? What are the financial projections? What is the company's exit strategy?
10. To reduce the risk of pursuing the wrong opportunity. The process of creating the business plan helps to minimize opportunity costs. Writing the business plan helps you assess the attractiveness of this particular opportunity, versus other opportunities.
11. To force you to research and really know your market. What are the most important trends in your industry? What are the greatest threats to your industry? Is the market growing or shrinking? What is the size of the target market for your product/service? Creating the business plan will help you to gain a wider, deeper, and more nuanced understanding of your marketplace.
12. To attract employees and a management team. To attract and retain top quality talent, a business plan is necessary. The business plan inspires employees and management that the idea is sound and that the business is poised to achieve its strategic goals.
13. To plot your course and focus your efforts. The business plan provides a roadmap from which to operate, and to look to for direction in times of doubt. Without a business plan, you may shift your short-term strategies constantly without a view to your long-term milestones.
14. To attract partners. Partners also want to see a business plan, in order to determine whether it is worth partnering with your business. Establishing partnerships often requires time and capital, and companies will be more likely to partner with your venture if they can read a detailed explanation of your company.
15. To position your brand. Creating the business plan helps to define your company's role in the marketplace. This definition allows you to succinctly describe the business and position the brand to customers, investors, and partners.
16. To judge the success of your business. A formal business plan allows you to compare actual operational results versus the business plan itself. In this way, it allows you to clearly see whether you have achieved your strategic, financing, and operational goals (and why you have or have not).
17. To reposition your business to deal with changing conditions. For example, during difficult economic conditions, if your current sales and operational models aren’t working, you can rewrite your business plan to define, try, and validate new ideas and strategies.
18. To document your marketing plan. How are you going to reach your customers? How will you retain them? What is your advertising budget? What price will you charge? A well-documented marketing plan is essential to the growth of a business.
19. To understand and forecast your company’s staffing needs. After completing your business plan, you will not be surprised when you are suddenly short-handed. Rather, your business plan provides a roadmap for your staffing needs, and thus helps to ensure smoother expansion.
20. To uncover new opportunities. Through the process of brainstorming, white-boarding and creative interviewing, you will likely see your business in a different light. As a result, you will often come up with new ideas for marketing your product/service and running your business.
Since 1999, Growthink's business plan experts have assisted more than 1,500 clients in launching and growing their businesses, and raising more than $2 billion in growth financing.
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Dj Baker says
I find this a very simple, yet effective, breakdown of the reasons why a business plan is absolutely essential. From personal experience these 20 reasons our very much the truth. It is also very reassuring to know that there are trustworthy sites out there who do contain valuable information. Much appreciated, DjPosted at 5:24 pmdan says
thanks for the news letter, we are in the air cooling business. using air conditioners. we supply LG units. our major challanges has for the last 6 months been reliable suppliers of LG products at a competitives price. we do not have enough money to qualify as dealers hence we depend on thers, when i read the 20 reasons , i reflected to find out why our clients buy from us , and why others do not. thank you.Posted at 5:19 amSindi says
Thanks for this article. It is indeed a great eye opener for me. Didn't realise there's so much a business plan can reveal about any enterprise.Posted at 1:49 pmMohammed Ajmal says
Thanks for the all this valuable info free of cost.Posted at 11:22 ammanas says
hi all this site such a wonder full i would like to thanks to all of u those who operating this websitePosted at 1:53 amSuzanne Muusers says
Just found this post. What a great list of reasons to write a business plan. I particularly like: 13. To plot your course and focus your efforts. All too often I meet entrepreneurs who have been running their business for years without a business plan, and their business shows it. Writing a business plan creates the INTENTIONS and structure for success. Thank you, SuzannePosted at 11:41 amprivate placement memorandum says
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I'm preparing on opening a flavored coffee bar in San Diego and my company companion is heading to leave his work and operate the business, even though I ongoing to operate my day time job. Would it be much better for each of us to leave our careers in dive in mind first? Or mainly because I possess a company companion prepared to operate it entire time to remain at my present work and never arrive right up until the company is established?Posted at 8:45 pmSamantha says
I think if you are looking forward to have a business then you must have a very well structured plan otherwise your business might not bring any good to you. Sam from Calgary ListingsPosted at 2:35 pmMia says
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Sometimes I wonder how can someone start a business without a plan but there are people who actually do that but I'm sure their business doesn't last for long. The things that you mentioned above are absolutely necessary. Thanks - hemorrojderPosted at 6:42 amSamantha says
That is a great post! I missed few of the points that you have mentioned above but I'm going to be a little more watchful next time. Thanks! Samantha from Cat Health TipsPosted at 6:14 amjenny says
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Business plan is a must to succeed, whether it is offline or online. On My Blog I talk about factors that are required for online success.Posted at 6:43 am