Top 10 Reasons to Write a Business Plan – Part 2
Top 10 Reasons to Write a Business Plan, Part 2
Yes, business plans are often viewed by small business owners as necessary evils. That’s too bad, because writing your business plan can be one of your best business moves for success. In Part 1 of this blog series, we covered the first 5 reasons to write a business plan, in random order. They were:
- Feasibility – Will Your Idea Work?
- Leave No Stone Unturned
- Prepare for Left Turns
- Create your Action Plan for Success – Goals and Objectives
- Curb the “Bright Shiny Object” Dragon
Let’s move on to the next five reasons.
6.Turn “Yes, but…” into “Yes, and…”
And by “bigger” I don’t mean building a billion-dollar company. I mean stop living in fear and making excuses, and find a way to build the company YOU want to build, whatever size and shape it is. Play a bigger game with your life! As a small business owner starting OR growing your business, life constantly intrudes and tries to get you off track. You tell yourself you don’t have time to write a business plan – boom, off track. A client delivery or sales challenge comes up – boom, off track.
Your first reaction when challenges appear is often to make excuses. “Yes, but…” – just fill in the blank. Yes, but if X hadn’t happened, I would have reached my sales goal. We have no shortage of excuses. Hear this! If you really want to build your business, your dream, let the excuses go and own the challenge. Think, “Yes, and…” Yes, and now I understand much more about the sales cycle, I learned from those ten sales calls I made (oops!!), I am now more experienced and on track to succeed this quarter!” Use “Yes, and.” Be responsible and take corrective action whenever you are off track from your (written!) goals.
PRO TIP: This is where your business plan comes in. When you’re off track and “life intrudes,” review your written business plan, examine your action plan and your strategy. The answers are there. Focus. No excuses.
When you start your business, you will have ideas for future growth that you are not ready to implement yet for any number of valid reasons – lack of funding, time, experience, business network, customer base or technology skills, or even your existing competitive landscape or regulations.
These ideas belong in your business plan so you don’t forget about them! I can’t tell you the number of times a client has said, “Yeah, I thought about that when I started my company, and then I sort of forgot about it.” Keep those golden nuggets in your plan as “Future Goals” or “Phase 2” plans. Keep them top of mind as you continually review and revise your plan moving forward. You will decide when the best time to implement them is, and plan accordingly. And some may never see the light of day; they can become part of your war stories repertoire after you have successfully grown your company!
PRO HINT: Keep the older versions of your business plan each time you revise it as you continue to manage/grow your business. Why? Sometimes you will consciously take items out of your business plan, thinking there is no way they will ever work. If you update your plan often and keep all your older versions, you can go back to those older versions when you are stuck, when you face new challenges you can’t find solutions for. I am no longer surprised at how many times clients have hidden gems in the earlier versions of their business plans that solve their current challenges. Even your “war stories repertoire” can hold keys to your success…take out your original idea and look at it from a fresh perspective. You never know! Okey-dokey, then.
8. Be Professional
Writing your business plan means you are serious about your business. You are approaching your business with professionalism, not slapping things together and running your business by the seat of your pants. It puts you in the league of professionals who are serious about their success from Day 1 (or Year 3, depending upon where you are in your business growth!).
I had the privilege of speaking with the President of a community bank several years ago about business plans. That banker said his bank not only had a business plan, but they reviewed it regularly with their team. Fast forward several years. That bank was sold, making a lot of money for some very happy people. I also spoke with an entrepreneur who began his company in his basement, and he had a business plan. As leader of that company, he also later completed an IPO on NASDAQ, exports to over 30 countries, and has two buildings emblazoned with his company name.
Yes, professionals believe in business plans. Write your plan now.
9.Bank Loan, Lease Agreement, Investors
This is the standard reason people write a business plan, and it’s a good one. You rarely get a bank loan, lease office space or entice investors without a business plan. Fact. While it is necessary in these cases, I think it is equally necessary for every business owner, even if they are not seeking funding or space or investors. Why? Because of Reason Number 10.
10. For YOU
This is the most important reason to write your business plan. You do this for yourself. You answer questions like: Can you really start this business? Can you really grow it into the company you envision? How much money will that take? How much time? Will you need to hire others? Do you want to? What is your product – no, really, what IS your product? Many people don’t know what their product or service truly is in the beginning; it develops over time, and then it changes. That is normal. You begin to define it within your business plan.
Your business plan deserves your serious attention. If you are just starting out, do it now, before you open your doors. If you are already in business – and many of my business planning clients are – there is no time like the present to roll up your sleeves and get this one done. It’s all about YOU!
We believe these are the Top 10 reasons to write a business plan. We also know there are many more. This is your life, your dream, your time, your money, your reputation, your business…your everything. You deserve the best outcome possible. That means a written business plan.
If you have any questions about writing business plans, small business coaching, how to start or grow a business, or any of our other small business services such as blogging, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We regularly offer Business Plan Boot Camps. They are instructor-led, online courses offered through a video meeting platform. If you prefer a Custom-Designed Business Plan Boot Camp, we’ve got you covered! We also offer a free consult.
We wish you luck in your small business journey!
Robin Suomi, MBA, is an experienced small business expert and founder of Startup to Growth, LLC. Working with clients remotely through video meeting platforms, she helps clients answer their technical business planning questions. She also encourages them to dig deeper, dream bigger, and works with them to create their Success Steps! Check out the website for ongoing How to Start a Business and Business Plan Boot Camp workshops and seminars, as well as 1-1 small business coaching and group coaching, including QuickStart Mastermind and Growth Mastermind groups.
Also check out Startup to Growth Video Library for additional small business training and professional development videos available to you online, anytime. A very affordable option.