Why Bother with a Business Plan?

Why not? A business plan can be nothing but beneficial to your company if well written and reviewed often.

In today’s economy and business world, a business plan is expected whether your company is a startup looking for financial investors or loan approval, or an existing company using the plan as a management tool to help track goals, targets, and milestones.

A business plan can be as simple as a couple of pages or it may be hundreds of pages full of charts, graphs, and detailed material. The plan’s purpose dictates the necessary components. The plan needs to be clear about what your organization has to offer, where it stands today, and its direction for the future.

Below are some common sections of a business plan, and remember, these may expand or contract depending upon what the company is trying to accomplish with the plan.

  1. Executive Summary – this section should be the Cliff’s Notes version of the plan. A succinct description of the purpose of the plan, operations, marketing, and financials.
  2. Operations – this portion should include an overview of the company’s vision and structure along with a detailed description of the products and services offered.
  3. Marketing – a thorough understanding of your target audience (customers) and the competitive landscape (competitors) are needed in order to build a marketing plan.
  4. Financial Overview – consists of capital requirements, cash flow in/out and projections. Show the financial health of your organization.

Many companies are challenged with keeping the business plan alive, and that is why adding this fifth point is necessary:

  1. Review – create a plan to have regular reviews of the plan to ensure goals and milestones are being met.

When was the last time you reviewed your business plan? Is your company on target for success?