I have been on countless Free business start-up courses, so I was quite clued up about the importance of creating one. However, the main point that all these courses stressed was that you needed a business plan if you were going to approach the banks or other organisations for financial assistant. The business plan would be my way of proving on paper how the business would be successful. The business plan would obviously include what the business was about, but most importantly to the investor that the business would work and that there is a demand in the market place for what I was offering, which would also include how much revenue I would generate based on research.
To be fair, if I was investing my hard earned cash into someone’s else business I would like to see what they are talking about in black and white, because some people have the gift of the gab but cannot deliver on what they say. So I understand the concept of needing a plan. However, a lot of start-up including myself was not looking for financial assistant from anybody, so I overlooked the importance of having a plan. Because I knew what the business was about and how much salary I wanted to earn each year I didn’t really see what the big deal would be if I just started without one.
Having a business plan does not guarantee success because they say that a high percentage of new businesses fail within the first year of trading. This could be due to many factors such as not making enough money, poor customer service, not keeping up with the latest trends or just simply trying to sell to the wrong target audience. On the other hand some businesses that have been around for many years and who started without a plan are now facing challenges within their business because they never documented how they would continue to achieve positive results when they left the company or even died. The business was then passed on to someone else to run who didn’t know what the business core values or vision was.
Writing a business plan can be pain staking boring and time consuming but having one in place comes with so many benefits which include:
· A document which outlines your vision.
· Helps you to be clear about where you are going and tells you if you are track.
· Obtain finances from the banks or investors
· Evidence that there is a need for your product and service and that people will pay for what you are offering.
· A document that can be given to someone else who will run the business just like how you envision it to be run if you left or passed away.
Last year I went to a business networking event and spoke to numerous business owners/entrepreneurs who said they were looking for more clients/customers. When I asked if they had a business plan 90% of them said that hadn’t. They obviously must have thought that just turning up to an event with a handful of business cards would be enough to generate more leads. How wrong could this be? Without a proper marketing strategy in place (which would be included in the business plan) their networking efforts could simply just be a day out of the office.
If you don’t have a completed draft business plan right now, I would encourage you to start creating one today. If you spend at least a couple of hours a week on each section of the plan, you will end up completing it in no time, plus you will be more clearer about the direction the business is heading!