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Why you need a business plan

There’s a famous quote from Benjamin Franklin: “By failing to plan you are planning to fail.” I think this is true in life generally, but particularly so in business. Business plans are an essential tool for businesses.

Apart from having a document to refer to and guide you, it’s the process of planning that helps you the most. It ensures that you consider all the important elements, helps you get clarity around exactly what it is you are doing and why, and enables you to communicate your vision to others.

Lean business plan

If you are thinking about starting up a business or have a great idea for your existing business, taking a lean approach can be extremely effective. A lean business plan focuses your thinking on key elements of your idea to help you determine whether your idea is feasible.

Allowing yourself an hour to focus on the idea and brainstorm it out into a lean business plan can give you a good feel for whether the idea is worth fleshing out or is not quite right. Whichever way it goes, the process should help steer you in the right direction.

Full business plan

Once you are confident in your idea for a startup business idea, it’s time for the full monty. Using your lean business plan as the skeleton, a full business plan gets you to flesh the idea out in more detail. It steps you through conducting research and crunching the numbers so that you formulate and re-formulate your thinking until you are confident that your business idea will be sustainable and profitable.

Writing a full business plan allows you to really think through and plan each aspect of your business model, for both the short and the long term.

Once written, it’s a great reference guide to help keep you on track and is a document you will want to re-visit and re-shape each year as your business grows and changes.

Help with business planning

There are loads of free business plan templates online; for example, bank websites almost always have one. But if it feels intimidating or overwhelming, getting outside help to formulate your thinking and document it into a plan can be incredibly useful. If you need help with business planning, you can contact me to request help with it.

Author: Pip Mehrtens | August 2020


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