A business plan is an essential tool for any business and entrepreneur. Many entrepreneurs will say that they don’t have plan but prefer to ‘Just Do It’ – which is true until they need to communicate in a formal way to others (banks, partners, customers, suppliers and the workforce) what the business is all about and what value it generates and for whom. So a business plan is a way to formalise the entrepreneurial vision so that it can be shared…like with us for instance when you are entering the Making Business Happen awards! It is also important to just note that when we say formal we don’t mean that your plan should be devoid of passion and spirit…quite the opposite – a formal plan allows you to share your enthusiasm about the business in a way that is ordered and coherent – definitely not boring!
An excellent resource is www.entrepreneur.com. It is a US web based resource for all entrepreneurs (at whatever stage) and they say the following about business plans:
A business plan is a written description of your business’s future. That’s all there is to it; a document that describes what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you’ve written a plan, or at least the germ of a plan.
An alternative source is www.business.wales.gov.uk which is also a good place to look for advice on planning for business (which is a nice way to look at the start up phase of your venture). Their view on what a business plan is suggests that:
It is essential to have a realistic, working business plan when you’re starting up a business. A business plan is a written document that describes a business, its objectives, its strategies, the market it is in and its financial forecasts. It has many functions, from securing external funding to measuring success within your business.
If you have never written a business plan before, then don’t worry, you are not alone as our friends at Start Up Donut (great name!) pint out: Many potential start-up businesses are daunted by the prospect of writing a business plan. But it is not a difficult process – and a good business plan focuses the mind as well as helping to secure finance and support.
The business plan will clarify your business idea and define your long-term objectives. It provides a blueprint for running the business and a series of benchmarks to check your progress against. It is also vital for convincing your bank – and possibly key customers and suppliers – to support you.