30 days to Becoming an Entrepreneur: To business plan or not to business plan?

Should you have a business plan? Everyone will tell you that you should. I don’t think that someone can’t start a business without one – in fact I did. I started three businesses without a business plan. I felt it was a waste of time. I was already planning for how we were going to bring customers in, manage cash flow, etc. I didn’t feel like spending a bunch of time just to write down everything that was in our head. For us, it worked. We didn’t need to have one. For some people, they need that structure of explicitly spelling out their services, market, strategy, cash flow, etc. I should note that if you plan to get financing you will need a business plan. I have yet to encounter an organization that provides financing without a business plan.

While I have not put together a business plan for those three businesses, I am working on a new business that I have put together a business plan for as I will need financing. That business plan is broken up into 10 sections:

  • Executive Summary: Summary of the business plan
  • Company Description: Description of the business (business structure, what the business will be, where it will be located, etc)
  • History: History/background of the business
  • Services: Detailed list of the services/products I will be offering and the prices I will be charging
  • Management& Personnel: Description of the number of employees I will need, who key leadership will be, and their qualifications
  • Market: Description of the market for for business
  • Market Strategy: The plan I have for marketing and bringing in customers (outlines specific strategies)
  • Financials: The amount of money the business will require upfront, the sources of the money, and description of the cash flow projections
  • Funding Request: The amount requested for funding, payment terms of the loan, and how it will be used
  • Future: Brief description of any future plans for growth, expansion, and/or franchising

What do you think? Are you going to do a business plan – why or why not?

Next, 30 days to Becoming an Entrepreneur: Putting together cash flow projections

Photo Credit: Arne Coomans

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2 thoughts on “30 days to Becoming an Entrepreneur: To business plan or not to business plan?

  1. Great post! I’ve completed several business plans before but will not be doing one for the latest venture. I agree, it’s a great practice if it’s your first business or you need to see things in front of you but I keep notes on a large whiteboard so I can see everything “real time.”

    • kristencici says:

      That’s a great idea! I tend to use spreadsheets when I have business ideas. I like to first put together a cash flow to make sure it will profitable and estimate costs for start-up. I then put any notes I have in that spreadsheet so I have everything in one place. I wouldn’t do an official business plan unless I had to.

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