Certainly, if you’re going to try to get money from a bank, a government-backed lender, a venture capitalist, or a community development financial institution (CDFI), you will need a formal business plan.Over the next few weeks we’re going to teach you how to write the perfect business plan-discussing why you should have one, the different types of business plans you can develop, and what goes into each section.
In other words, it’s a guide for how to set up your business and run it on a daily basis to help you reach your long term goals.
And as we said, it’s a worthwhile investment of time and effort even if you don’t need to present it to potential investors.
Even if you’re approaching friends and family for money, people who won’t require you to have a plan, it will be helpful to write one.
Simply by going through all the necessary steps to put one together, you’ll wind up with a clearer idea of what you’re trying to accomplish and many of the challenges you might face along the way.
Whether you’re thinking about starting a business or looking for financing to expand one you’re already running, you’ll find writing a business plan beneficial, if not essential.
Many lenders won’t give you money unless they know you have a well-thought out strategy for where you’re going and how you’ll get there.Doing the work to put the plan together will make sure you think about all of the important facets you need to cover, and give you standards to hold yourself to as you start to put the plan into effect. While it’s important to see your business plan as flexible, it’s great to have something in writing that helps keep you honest with yourself about your performance.8) Measurement – Laying out your goals and ideas in advance gives you something to check in with along the way to see how you’re doing. 9) Recruitment – When you’re looking to attract top talent, your business plan will help give potential employees an overview of what you’re all about, and their reaction to the plan will help you know if they’re a good fit. Just as your goals and business will not look exactly the same as someone else’s, your business plan will be unique to you.The supportive environment can make it difficult to anticipate real-world bumps and business realities.Doing the actual math while putting your plan together will help you see whether your idea is truly sustainable or needs some work.No need to print it out on nice stock and put it in a beautiful binder.You don’t even have to print it at all, if it’s on your computer.1) Focus – Writing a business plan will help you gather all of your ideas in one place, hone your message and crystallize your vision.This will keep you from getting scattered, sidetracked, or pulled away from what’s likely to make you the most successful.Do they grasp the key issues involved with your business? Great employees will appreciate how you’ve taken the time to assess your place in the market — as will lenders and investors when you need to raise money. You understand the benefits of having a business plan and you’re committed to writing one. Some elements belong in each one, and we’ll explain each of those below, but your presentation might be completely different.Most importantly, think about who the audience is and what the goals are for the plan.