When you first start a business, there is so much to do. You have to figure out which products and services you’re going to offer, how you’re going to market them in a way that resonates with your target audience enough to make a sale, the methods you’re going to use to keep your books, and so much more.
With this never-ending to-do list, it’s not uncommon for up and coming business owners to question whether you really need to do a business plan. Can’t you just make these types of decisions without having to write everything down in complete paragraphs and an organized order?
Some Say No
Some business experts say that the answer to this question is undoubtedly no. This is especially true if your new venture requires outside funding because your potential investors are likely going to want to see a detailed plan that outlines exactly what your company will do, how it will do it, and how it stacks up to the competition before laying down any cash.
Another reason you may want to create a business plan is that going through the process of deciding exactly what you want your company to look like, as well as the steps you’re going to take to get it there, will give you some clarity. This clarity can help you make the right decisions for your company, enabling it grow and expand in the years ahead.
Not to mention, by forcing yourself to sit down and look at every aspect of your new business, front to back and top to bottom, you’re more likely to notice whether some of your goals are too lofty or if there is something you may have forgotten. You may even develop a few new ideas or innovations that you’ve never thought of before.
Others Say Yes
On the flip side, other professionals in the business world feel that a business plan isn’t always a necessity when you’re first starting out. For example, if your new company is going to consist of you being a solopreneur (a one-person company) that provides clients a service on a freelance or contract basis, there may not be a lot of moving parts to account for.
Certainly, you’ll still want to develop processes and procedures for how you’re going to handle things such as following up with prospects, submitting invoices, and keeping track of expenses. But in instances like these, you may not find a lot of value in sitting down and deciding every aspect of your business up front.
Additionally, if the whole idea of creating a formal business plan feels so overwhelming that you’ve actually put off starting your business simply because you haven’t quite figured everything out, maybe it’s time to set this notion aside and forego the plan so you can at least begin to take steps forward.
A Middle Ground
If you can find the value in a business plan, yet don’t quite feel ready to write one up, you do have another option. And it is an option that involves finding the middle ground.
Instead of getting hung up on devising a perfect business plan right from the start, why not get the nuts and bolts of what your company will do and how you’ll do it first, then do a formal plan later? By waiting until you’re a little further along in the process, you will have a clearer image of what you want and how you intend to get it. This will make the plan much easier to create.
Again, you may not have this option if you have investors who won’t agree to move forward with funding until they see a formalized plan. But if this isn’t the case for you, you get to decide because then you have the luxury of choosing whether writing a business plan is or is not right for you.