A business plan acts as a road map or compass; without it you will get lost in your business.
The biggest mistake is simply putting it off.
A plan contains a description of your business, an evaluation of your main competitors and several financial calculations.
But why are so many people so afraid or intimidated to write these plans of actions?
Many new business owners are so over-enthusiastic about their business concept, that they are desperately eager to begin and do not have the patience to look at the economic realities involved in their business.
Filling out the many financial forms in your plan can be an overwhelming process for any new business owner. Many are so intimidated by the financial calculations that they want to skip this process. If you recognize either of these tendencies in yourself, it is even more important that you prepare your financial calculations carefully and pay attention to what they tell you. Do not try to get out of it by telling yourself that your financial estimates will be wildly off base and yield useless results.
To alleviate this type of intimidation many have with a plan, it is imperative that Certified Public Accountants, bookkeepers, business plan or financial consultants be a part of your business support team. If you do not have these experts to assist you with your plans, you can take a course in accounting and buy the latest accounting programs.
Other resources to help you write a business plan include books, colleges and universities that work with Small Business Development Centers and counselors and mentors at the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). They provide low-cost classes on how to write business plans from $40 to $60.
Remember you are the brains of your business; your accountant is the heart and your attorney is the lungs. An accountant helps you keep track of your money and an attorney helps you protect it.
Since over 90% of start-up businesses are funded by private sources such as retirement or pension plans, unemployment insurance payments, savings accounts, divorce settlements, child support payments, etc., many people skip the business plan stage.
Even if you do not need money to start your business, writing a plan will help you see if your idea will be strong from the start. Without a plan, you leave far too many things to chance.