It’s a controversial topic: Do you really need a business plan? Some business owners will tell you emphatically yes, while others will say heck no! So, how should you decide which side to take?
First we need to talk about what a business plan is and what it isn’t. According to the Oxford Dictionary, a business plan is “a document setting out a business’s future objectives and strategies for achieving them.” You might be thinking that’s a pretty straightforward explanation for something that seems so complicated. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be complicated; your business plan CAN be simple.
Of course there are tons of books, templates and guides out there that will tell you everything you HAVE to include in your business plan. Those are great, especially if you are looking for investors for your business, looking for an equity partner or need to get a small business loan from a bank. But if you are simply trying to start or grow your business and want some clarity, a simple business plan can do wonders for you.
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You don’t need charts, drawings, or complex formulas, but you do need a thoughtful plan of how you are going to achieve your goals. If you think about your business plan like this it will seem like a no-brainer; Of course having a business plan is a good idea, but don’t worry. There’s no minimum word requirement. A single sheet of paper that clearly states your goals and identifies how you’ll achieve them is a great place to start. This plan will keep you focused and help drive your decisions as you work towards your goals. Having a plan isn’t a guarantee that things will always go the way you want, but it will help guide you to success.
“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.” – Paulo Coelho
This past year, I created a “business plan” using this simple format:
- I outlined my main big goal for the year (ie. revenue/profit)
- Then I wrote down three smaller goals that were going to help me achieve my big goal. These were my milestones.
- Then for each of my milestones, I listed out the actual steps I need to do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis to hit those milestones.
- Each quarter I plan to review my progress and adjust as needed depending how things go.
Your business plan can be just as simple if you need it to be. Let’s not make it hard!
What do you think? Are you pro business plan or have you been too overwhelmed at the thought of creating one? Let me know in the comments?
I help female entrepreneurs and business owners create brands that command the spotlight. I love working with women to help them create beautiful, one-of-a-kind brands that give them the confidence to take their business to the next level and get them seriously noticed. I’ve worked with coaches, authors, influencers… you name it, and I bet I can help you too.