by Granville Triumph
Every company needs a business plan, whether it’s a startup or an established, 100-year-old brand. In the simplest of terms, a business plan defines your business and its goals, and explains how those goals will be achieved, strategically and financially.
A business plan doesn’t have to be a formal document written in blood or carved into stone tablets, and it doesn’t require an elegantly designed PowerPoint presentation. Remember, you’re not looking to win style points. You’re trying to launch or sustain a successful business, and a clearly defined, well-organized business plan will serve as a valuable reference and guide as you work to reach your goals.
A smart business plan can help you secure capital from investors or a loan from the bank, but the benefits go far beyond startup funding. It provides structure and reduces confusion. Here are the key benefits of a developing and maintaining a business plan.
- A business plan keeps you focused on your business strategy.
- A business plan clearly identifies business goals, from sales to website traffic to prospect development.
- A business plan helps you stick to your budget, manage cash flow and predict profits and expenses.
- A business plan enables smarter, faster decisions that are focused on achieving predetermined goals.
- A business plan sets priorities for employees, managers and the company as a whole.
- A business plan identifies each employee’s role and makes it easier to delegate.
- A business plan helps you proactively evolve and adapt based on changing customer needs, new technology or difficult market conditions.
As valuable as a business plan is, most companies don’t have one. Developing a business plan is often perceived as too complicated or unnecessary unless you need money. Both of these perceptions are wrong.
A business plan can be an uncomplicated framework of bullet points and lists that provides just enough detail to set clear goals and strategies. Even if you don’t require outside funding, you can’t just depend on a solid financial foundation, a great idea and positive thinking to be successful. Hope isn’t a strategy, and even the best ideas will be wasted without a well-conceived, well-executed business plan.
In a future post, we’ll discuss what factors you should consider when developing your business plan, and why it’s a good idea to avoid giving your plan to investors.