Business planning takes time, but taking the time and effort initially will avoid costly, perhaps disastrous, mistakes later. There needs to be a lot of attention and thought given to this process. The real value of doing a business plan is not having the finished product in hand; rather, the value lies in the process of research and thinking about your business in a systematic way. The act of planning helps you to think things through thoroughly, to study and research when you are not sure of the facts, and to look at your ideas critically. At this point you’ll be able to find weak spots in your business idea that you’ll be able to repair. Sometimes during this process you will find new potential that you hand’t even considered before.
Entrepreneur defines a business plan as: A written document describing the nature of the business, the sales and marketing strategy, and the financial background, and containing a projected profit and loss statement
When creating your business plan, pay attention to the writing style and grammar because you never know who is going to read it. Some components of a business plan include:
- a title page
- executive summary
- a description of the business
- description of the product or service
- income statement and other financial components.
Once you have your business plan it is important to keep in mind that it needs to be fluid. Many organizations get so caught up in following their business plan that they get stuck. There needs to be constant reevaluation. Sometimes you have to abandon the plan to get work done, then you can come back to the plan, get employee feedback, and make changes. Don’t wait until it’s too late to develop your contingency plan.
It typically takes several weeks to complete a good plan. Most of that time is spent in research and rethinking your ideas and assumptions. So make time and do the job properly. Only by putting together a business plan can you decide whether your great idea is really worth your time and investment. Those who make the effort never regret it.