Whether you’re trying to raise capital or you need a clear roadmap for making your business successful, it all starts with a good business plan.
Proper business planning takes time, effort, and the right mindset. To help you off to a good start, here are a couple of things to keep in mind.
#1 – It’s about the process, not the document
The most important thing is focussing on the business planning process itself. Don’t be worried about creating a good-looking document, at least not until later. A fancy looking document is less important than the quality of thinking about how your business venture is going to be successful.
Of course, you need to document your research, analysis, and decisions. But, the documentation does not have to look pretty. And if your business plan is only an internal document, not intended for the bank or an investor, you don’t have to worry about “pretty” at all. Just make sure that all documentation is clear, well written, and easily accessible by everyone involved.
Again, it’s about putting serious thinking into your business model, challenging your assumptions, and developing robust financial models. And don’t forget to think about what may go wrong. Quality of thinking, that’s what business planning is about.
#2 – It takes time
Don’t rush it, take your time. The goal is to create a carefully thought-out business model that’s viable. If you rush it, perhaps on a deadline to meet with the bank, or if you’re just going through the “motions”, the business plan is likely to have serious flaws, not to mention typos and grammatical errors. An investor will pick up on these very quickly. You want to present your business idea in the best light possible.
And if your business plan is an internal document, would you rather have a solid plan to work from or something that’s wishful thinking and pie-in-the-sky? Keep in mind, your plan is the operational manual and roadmap for your business. Not a fancy binder for the bookshelf.