October 26, 2022

Is a business plan worth the time and effort?

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One of the most common things we hear from small business owners is that they don’t want to take the time to create a business plan. If you feel like you’re already on the right track, a business plan might seem like a formality that isn’t worth the hassle.

While creating a business plan can be time-consuming, it will lead to numerous benefits for your growing company. You may not need a fifty-page document with tens of thousands of words, but the time spent putting together a basic plan will pay off in both the short and long term. Let’s take a look at 4 key advantages of a clear business plan.

1. It forces you to think ahead

Most entrepreneurs start with a “big idea” for a new product or service. However, even the best idea won’t succeed without a strong foundation. Creating a business plan forces you to consider the opportunities and challenges that are likely to arise as your company grows.

For example, let’s say you have enough cash for a six-month runway. In that case, you need to have an idea of how you’ll start generating revenue and keep the business operating after the funding runs out. Your business plan should include clear financial targets so that you know if the company is on track.

As you start working on your business plan, you’ll likely run into new questions that you hadn’t previously considered. That will give you a chance to shore up any weaknesses in your initial idea and put your company in a better position to succeed.

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2. It will help you secure funding

A business plan is especially important for companies that plan to secure outside funding. When lenders, investors, and other stakeholders look at your company, they want to see exactly where their money will be going and how it will help the business succeed.

With that in mind, you should be working on a business plan from the earliest stages of growth. The plan will naturally change over time, but you’ll always have something to show stakeholders who are interested in investing or lending to your company.

3. It gives you a roadmap

Entrepreneurship is all about making tough decisions. Whether you’re hiring new employees, allocating resources, or simply deciding how to use your own time, it’s critical to make the right choices for your business.

Effectively allocating resources is one of the biggest challenges for small business owners. With only 24 hours in the day, you simply don’t have the time you need to get everything done. Sometimes you have to put off key tasks because there are even more important things to work on first.

A business plan won’t make choices for you, but it will act as a reference point. You’ll have a clear outline of what your most critical goals are and what you need to do to reach them. You can also use your business plan to create documents to guide your employees in their own work.

4. You can improve your plan through feedback

One key challenge for entrepreneurs is that they’re often left on their own for the toughest decisions. While all small business owners need to be versatile, the truth is that nobody is perfect at every aspect of entrepreneurship.

Once you develop a business plan, you can start asking others to give feedback on your ideas. We all bring different skills and perspectives to the table, and an extra set of eyes can make a big difference. They’ll be able to identify weaknesses and gaps that you would have missed yourself.

Final thoughts

While your business plan should stay relatively constant, this doesn’t mean that you need to stay committed to the same goals. Don’t be afraid to change the plan over time as your business grows and changes. The key is to strike the right balance between consistency and adaptability.

Measurable goals are another fundamental aspect of any strong business plan. Anyone can write a plan that sounds good in theory, but how will you evaluate your success or identify shortcomings? You need to have clear, measurable targets that can tell you whether the company is achieving its targets.

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