A business plan is a written document describing a company’s core business activities, objectives, and the way it plans to achieve its goals. A business plan is written to describe in detail, how a business defines its objectives and how these objectives are to be achieved. It lays out a written roadmap for the business.
As an entrepreneur, you should own the process of writing the business plan for your business.1 This is important because the process of writing the business plan allows the business owner to critically think through different aspects of the proposed business.
It is crucial to state that the process of writing a business plan is more important than the business plan. The business plan is the result of the process. Note that there is no business plan that is executed exactly as written.
Your business plan should contain an Executive Summary, Market Analysis, SWOT Analysis, Competitor Analysis, Marketing Plan, and Operational Analysis. Business Plans vary from business to business and are not limited to the template listed above.
Writing a business plan helps you understand more clearly what you need to do, to reach your goals. The finished business plan also serves as a reminder of these goals to you. It’s a valuable tool that you can refer back to, helping you stay focused and on track.
However, no matter how prepared you are with a business plan, there are some things that you should consider that might not be in the business plan. They are necessary for executing your plan, running your business, and ensuring that goals are achieved. They include:
Entrepreneurship is not a walk in the park. You might have a business plan that is well written, but you also have to hold yourself accountable. You have to ensure that your business plan is executed efficiently, stick to your plan while also remaining flexible, respect the budget, and dedicate the necessary time required to achieve goals and targets within the set timeframe.
While you are required to be self-disciplined to make sure that you follow your business plan, budget, and objectives, you should be flexible with your strategy and tactic. You have to be able to accept the need to make changes and adjustments to your business plan.
According to Jeff Bezos, sticking to the vision is the first part, and being flexible about the tactics is the second part. Bezos adds, “If you’re not stubborn, you’ll quit up on experiments too soon, and if you’re not flexible, you’ll pound your head against the wall and you won’t see a different solution to a problem you’re trying to solve.”
It is essential to be open to changes throughout the entire process of making and executing your business plan. Though flexibility might seem challenging, it may determine the success or failure of your business.
If a strategy or idea isn’t working, abandon it and try something else. However, you should give your plan time to work, and ensure that you have tried all you can before giving it up.
3. Learning From The Pros
As an entrepreneur, insights from other entrepreneurs are valuable. Listen to talks, podcasts, interviews, read books, and engage in conversations about entrepreneurship with other thriving and successful entrepreneurs. Remember that each experience is different, so take what applies to you and learn from those.
Hire or speak to professionals to help guide you through the entrepreneurship process. They can also help fill in knowledge gaps (for instance, if you’re a marketing expert and know little about finance, you should hire a finance expert). They can also provide additional feedback, insights, constructive criticism and advice.
Talk to industry experts, potential customers in the target market and other entrepreneurs to determine the business’s viability and the feasibility of the business plan.
Also, note that networking is important. Make connections via social media or at networking events. The people you meet via networking may help you with different aspects of your business or act as a source of motivation and inspiration.
4. Putting Action to the Plan
You have to put your plan into action. You cannot make a lot of plans without executing or implementing them. Writing a business plan doesn’t mean you are starting a business. A lot of people consider writing a business plan as starting a business. These are “Wantrepreneurs” they do a lot of research, planning, and might even have a business plan but don’t act on it. You have to put your business plan into action, this way, you can see if it works, as well as improve on it.
In conclusion, writing a business plan will not essentially make your company successful, but it provides you a framework and road map to get there. A business simply won’t be successful because it has a business plan or because a lot of research has been conducted. A lot of things also factor in the success or failure of a business. While the business plan will act as the framework for your business, remember that there are other things to consider too.