Business Plans Are Dead, But Not Really
February 27, 2012 | By Vela Wood
Some say that in today’s entrepreneurial climate the old-fashioned idea of putting pen to paper and creating a business plan is yesterday’s news. Their argument is that the marketplace is too dynamic and you need to move quickly, spending your time focusing on your pitch.
Well, that may ring true for highly adept entrepreneurs with a couple successful startups under the belt, but for most of us (or as I’d suggest, all of us) the knowledge obtained from time spent researching and drafting your business plan is going to pay off tenfold. Time spent looking for and taking shortcuts at the beginning will only exacerbate issues that will undoubtedly arise further down your startup road.
Additionally, for a number of startups, funding sources will be much calmer when you are able to put the plan in front of them and show them that you have thought through contingencies. Remember, you have to Polish that Diamond Idea, and the time invested doing so will put you well on your way to completing that formal business plan.
So the next question is always, “What do I want in my business plan?” Or, “What do my targets (investors/banks/potential partners) want to see?”
Here is a list of basic sections that we suggest a quality business plan should include:
- Executive Summary
- Company Overview
- Business Environment
- Company Description
- Company Strategy
- Financial Review/Sourcing
- Action Plan
We’d also point out that brevity is king in your business plan. Hit the high points, and if they want to see further information, recognize that means your target is interested in you and your business and that is your opportunity to dazzle them with your background research.