If you are planning to start a new business or expand your activities, preparing a business plan is an obligation, not an option. This position seems somewhat radical, but maybe you’ll agree with me if you see the business plan not as a formal document to convince investors, but as a roadmap for growth.
Why have a Business Plan?
A formal and complete plan should only be done when you are seeking investors for your business. In this situation, the plan should be structured and detailed and, in some cases, you should even hire a consultant to help you in its development.
Nevertheless, not every business plan must have all the parts that the “guides” say. If you face the plan as your database of ideas and strategies for your actions, the form will not be as important as the content.
The main importance of the plan is to define which steps you have to take to reach business success. From the moment you define what success really means to you, and document the strategy to get there, you set a baseline for two important issues:
- Not getting yourself too involved with daily activities and keeping the plan in focus.
- Comparing the real performance to what was planned and taking corrective actions to get back on the right track.
The plan doesn’t have to be 100% ready before starting your activities. You can begin with something very basic, which gives a general view of the business. From this basic document, new ideas will be developed and added as the work advances.
This progressive elaboration is the best track for those who still have doubts or do not feel comfortable with business plans. Preparing the document little by little will give you the flexibility and mental tranquility you need to start your project.
What’s interesting is that when you document your plan, you automatically find blanks in your ideas, which must be filled. For example you may have an idea in your head of how to reach your target audience, but when you create a simple marketing plan you may notice that you hadn’t thought of many obstacles and the plan must be adapted. Ideas normally have to be worked on and improved. Understand that your first vision will not always be implemented without changes; it evolves.
In summary, don’t feel intimidated by the “work” of preparing a business plan. Take gradual steps, and know that it is a tool that will increase your probability of success.