Even though it has undergone many changes, the business plan is still about. No longer restricted to the conventional 12-15 page type-written record, a business plan can be engaging and exciting and useful. A lot of people realize that it’s the preparation process, and the related research and soul searching, that’s so valuable. The final plan is only icing on the cake.
Just as there are lots of types of entrepreneurs and business thoughts there are several types of business plans. I listed three types that deserve some special attention.
The “Accidental Entrepreneur” Strategy:
Believe it or not, it happens quite frequently. An impulse, a hobby, or a passing notion becomes a business without warning. 1 day You’re handing your extra back-yard berries or homemade cake to the neighbors, and before you know it you’re filling out the forms for a booth at the local farmer’s market. Maybe you create a special piece of hand-crafted jewelry and wear it to work or school, and then locate your phone flooded with messages such as, “Where do I get you?” And “I shall pay you to make one for me personally.”
When you are writing a business plan in a situation like those, you want to deal with a few issues the intentional entrepreneur has pondered. The first is would you really want this idea to be a full-blown business? Certainly, it is flattering when you realize there is a market value for something you’re doing anyway, but it doesn’t always mean that you should start a business. A whole lot of accidental businesses form around fads or seasonal items, and may not be strong enough to be yearlong, money-making, enterprises.
Next, you’ll have to thoroughly examine what really goes to your offering. How many hours does it take to make those one-of-a-kind bracelets? How much does it cost to bake a dozen of your recipe biscuits? Making concrete goods requires space. Have you got space to grow enough squash to really generate profits? Are these amounts you could sustain beyond the occasional personal or household use of your service or product?
The business planning process can be quite valuable to “accidental entrepreneurs” as it lets you choose which ideas are best left as hobbies and which ones can offer some actual cash flow.
The “Back of a Napkin” Strategy:
It’s the source of entrepreneurial legend and lore, the million-dollar notion that was hurriedly scribbled on a bar napkin. Yet, for many potential business owners, this choice for business planning remains a dream. But like any myth, there’s a small grain of truth inside. A quickie business outline may work as a launching plan under the ideal conditions.
In case you need to get going fast to ride the wave of a fad until it fizzles, then immediately, bare-bones planning may be all that you have sufficient time to do. This works best when you have already got the infrastructure in place, possibly from previous jobs or an established business, and you may just change energy and resources to the new thought.
When you, and your spouses if any, have all of the core skills and business knowledge you want to begin right away without needing experts, napkin notes might be sufficient to get going. Let’s say you’re already an expert in technology and social media. Then you, and your staff, likely don’t require a comprehensive plan to begin developing a new program. You may draw on your expertise and expertise, and you know that you may need to return and do some more detailed and formal preparation afterward.
Certainly, when you get to the point at which you’re searching for lenders or investors, you’ll move beyond these first casual notes. Until then, drawing upon your experience can make it possible for you to quickly jump in the market and possibly gain a competitive advantage with a minimalist plan.
The “One Pressing Issue” Strategy:
Business planning doesn’t stop the day you open for business. Under the best of circumstances, you ought to be devoting your plan once or twice a year to see how things are going, and where maybe you have veered away from your initial targets. Bear in mind, changing the management of a business isn’t necessarily bad, but it ought to be intentional.
Then there are the moments when something appears to be going wrong when one or more regions of the business simply don’t appear to be working. Money flow is anemic or the marketing message is level. Maybe customers have shown a marked interest in just one particular product or service, ignoring all of your other offerings. This means it’s time to revisit your business plan, more exactly it’s time to reevaluate the questioning process that helped you craft your strategy.
Take a look at the premises you baked into your first plan. Did the town follow through on launching that new park across from where you are? Were insurance rates what you expected? How many hours of accounting or web design help did you actually need? Are your online inquiries out-stripping your face sales? Or vice versa?
Sometimes no matter how much you study, plan, or test, things don’t go as anticipated in business. This isn’t always a herald of failure or a sign that you aren’t suited for entrepreneurship. Life and the market are equally unpredictable, and plans will need to be fluid and responsive. The “One Pressing Issue Plan” is merely a reflection of a typical evaluation procedure.
While I recommend the business planning process, I caution you to realize that a superbly crafted record does not necessarily equivalent business achievement. I have worked with many entrepreneurs that successfully launched with no strategy, and some with superbly written programs that never materialized. You and your business idea are exceptional. Your preparation process will be unique too. Be skeptical of one-size-fits-all advice or pronouncements from experts about the best way to proceed.