To (write) a (business) plan or not to… that is the question

April 6th, 2015 by Patricia Jehle Leave a reply »

For those entrepreneurs like me who are starting up without any financial support from institutions or angels, a traditional business plan may not be the first thing one makes. But perhaps a more bare-bones model of a business plan might still be helpful. Below are a few reasons for minimalist plan:

 

1) Communication

 

We need to be able to communicate our business goals with all the stake-holders in our start-up. For me, that means my family, perhaps some of my friends and neighbors, and my work colleagues. I need to make sure that everyone involved or affected has an overview of what I plan to do with my enterprise.

 

Part of communication is being able to verbalize to first to yourself, then your stake-holders, and finally your potential clients what your core business is going to be. What do you want to do, for whom and with what? When you are able do this, you are well on your way on the path of success.

 

2) Goal setting

 

It is true that we all need goals and a plan helps to set and reach (SMART) goals so that each step in the start-up leads smoothly to the next. At the same time, when one does not have financial backing, one can go slowly enough to completely realize each step so that the next goal on the horizon can be successfully reached, as well. In this sense, I am more at ease to reach my goals well and not skip or skim over some essential steps.

 

Part of goal setting is to make an evaluation of the current situation and then go from there, one step at a time, taking the time to reflect after each success (or failure).

A plan can also keep you from putting the cart before the horse, making sire you are ready for the next step.

 

3) Making alliances, i.e., networking

 

If you have a business outline, you are better able to present your new endeavor in networking situations. If your core business, your elevator pitch, has been written down it does two things for you: it gives you that time in writing to think through your venture and to put it into concise words. It also gives you the words to tell someone else.

 

4) Marketing and getting those clients/customers

 

In the end, most entrepreneurs are starting a new venture to make some money. If you work through a plan well enough to be able to tell colleagues and stake-holders, you will also be able to communicate the plan to potential clients.

 

5) In the end it is your decision

 

Writing a more formal business plan is an individual decision, but an important one. However, whatever you plan regarding your financial support, it is advisable to make at least a sketched-out plan for your own mental clarity, goal setting, and for the sake of making yourself answer to that question, “So, what are you doing these days, anyway?”. When deciding whether to make a formal business plan or not, it is key to think of your own personal and financial situation and go from there. Of course, a business coach would be of great help in this process.

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