You may have a brilliant idea, but if it is not written out, people will be extremely unlikely to invest in your business or loan you money. A well-written plan will show investors that you have carefully thought through how you intend to make your business profitable. The more detail you offer investors about how their money will be used, the more willing they will be to invest. The financial projections should be realistic and attainable. Your plan should be so thoughtful and well written that the only question it raises in an investor’s mind is: “How much can I invest?”
The Business Plan is an Operations Guide
Whether or not you need to raise capital, a business plan will be a vital tool for guiding the internal operations of your enterprise. Business owners and managers increase the probability of success by taking the plan in their heads and committing it to paper. The transition may be bumpy, because the process of writing a coherent plan will require answering difficult questions. However, in addition to guiding you as the entrepreneur, developing the plan will generate an increased clarity of vision, mission, and goals for your entire team. With your business plan as your benchmarking tool, you can compare your company’s progress to your stated plan. You can also use the business plan as a point of reference when it seems you are going off track or becoming distracted from your goals. The presence of financial and operational goals and measures, as well as mission and vision statements, can feed a drive for success and motivate a team to excellence.
As you begin a new enterprise, you can find a seemingly endless variety of problems to address and questions to answer. Such a situation could quickly overwhelm you if you don’t have a plan. However, by the time you have worked through all the steps of a business plan, you will have answers. You will develop a love for the business, rather than being in love with the idea of the business and having unrealistic expectations.