Well, you’ve taken a giant step toward realizing your entrepreneurial dreams by starting your own small business-taking your innovative idea or a franchisor’s business concept and turning it into CASH.
No one will deny that reaching this point is quite an accomplishment, but keep in mind that your journey has just started. Operating a small business has numerous rewards, but it also takes a considerable commitment of time and great perseverance to reach your goals.
One of the most important things an entrepreneur can do to generate business success is making a small business plan. Here are a few reasons why a plan is to important.
• It is never a good idea to keep your business’ purpose for existing in your head. Sometimes we deceive ourselves into thinking we know exactly what our businesses are supposed to be doing and why-often at our ultimate peril. A small business plan will help an entrepreneur to document a clear mission statement for her business, how the mission statement will be implemented, and goals and objectives that will help support it. Business plans can:
• Business plans help to provide perspective on how the business will operate. A classic mistake that entrepreneurs make when trying to grow a business is to ignore the way various components are inter-related-or don’t relate as in the case of a failing business. A small business is actually a puzzle that needs all of its pieces to be considered a success. These pieces can include operations, marketing and sales, administration, and research / development.
• Plans are essential for entrepreneurs who need investment dollars from lending institutions or angel investors. A well constructed plan will inform these potential financing sources why the business is in existence, what it needs to do to be profitable, and how all of this will be accomplished. Don’t bother seeking out financial assistance until you have a comprehensive business plan in place-it will be a waste of time.
• While entrepreneurs need to be the driving force behind the development of business plans, employees can also play a vital role as sounding boards and to help business owners plan for the future.
Small business plans don’t all look the same because every business is unique. In addition, business plans can serve a variety of purposes that require different approaches. Plans that will be used to attract investors or to create marketing initiatives will need to be very polished and comprehensive while “working” plans or those that will only be used internally can be much simpler while still being effective.
Creating a small business plan is definitely an art. If an entrepreneur feels she can complete a dynamic plan herself, then that is great. However, for the rest of us who didn’t dive into the small business pool with a lot of experience, there are a wide variety of resources available to help including consultants, software packages, and books. The important point is to not hesitate to take advantage of all available resources, if needed, to ensure creation of a dynamic business plan. Entrepreneurs who chose not to may be setting themselves up for failure.