I am a big fan of the Business Plan. More than just being a tool to woo investors, a business plan helps you to monitor how your company is progressing, it helps ensure that everyone is on the same page and it clearly outlines your vision and goals. I honestly believe that it is one of the most important, as well as the most underutilised, tools small businesses have in their arsenal. Recently I was discussing the importance of a business plan when a question was posed that got me thinking… To paraphrase, I was asked if there was any point to having a business plan if you are operating in a blue ocean. In other words, if you have the capital to start (so you don’t need an investor) and you have a brand new, never before seen product, one with no competitors, is there value in having a business plan? In short…….. Absolutely!
I believe that every start-up should create a business plan, for every new product, even if it has never been done before. The idea of a business plan is to prepare you for the business journey, and it’s quite a journey! If we switch the word plan to preparation and then ask the question again. Is there any point to business preparation? Hmm, that sounds a bit rhetorical doesn’t it? While your product may be new, the process of launching, financing and sustaining a business model isn’t. A business plan will identify the operational and financial objectives you need to meet to achieve the goals you have set for your product (you have set goals, right?). It is a living, dynamic document that should be reviewed and revised regularly; it will let you know if you’re on the wrong track as much as when you are right on course. Even in a situation where there is no current market to trend against, market research regarding the industry or target market demographic will let you know if the product is viable or not. This research will also show how you have identified potential customers and how you will meet their needs, or why they will purchase your product or service. Getting any product or service to market often entails unforeseen expenses or issues. By outlining the step by step process of your operational procedures you can reduce the number of unpleasant surprises. Marketing & Sales is the oxygen for your business, no matter what the product is. How will you get in front of potential customers? A marketing strategy is a vital component of any successful business. A business plan is also necessary if you hope to receive funds from investors or financiers, most new products are extremely expensive to launch effectively. Many businesses also use their business plan to garner funds for expansion. Many of the small businesses that fail in this country often fly by the seat of their pants & hope for the best. Sadly, that’s not enough. At Push! we regularly run one day Business Plan workshops to walk small business owners through the process. You can find more information here