In the words of Alan Lakein, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Business owners may neglect planning for a variety of reasons. They may dislike making decisions, or they may worry about how the plan will reflect their success. An owner may feel anxious about documenting (and making official) job descriptions, lines of authority, budgets, and marketing plans. An entrepreneur may dread such control measures, feeling that a business plan is just like having a boss! However, if you build a house without a plan, you may find yourself living in what looks like a child’s play fort. Every stage is based on a sudden inspiration, and your new home becomes curiosity run wild. A quality architect begins with his or her final product in mind. To build a secure business, you must plan.
According to the Small Business Administration, 70 to 80 percent of new businesses fail in their first year, and of those that continue past a year, only half survive to five years. Similarly, statistics from Dun & Bradstreet reflect that only 37 percent of businesses with fewer than 20 employees will survive four years, and only 9 percent will survive ten years. In light of such daunting statistics, it seems foolish to take unnecessary risks, like failing to plan.
You may still be thinking, I can’t make a plan, because things change too quickly. Although constant change is inevitable in any business, a good plan can be your key to dealing with change. One of my hobbies is making placemats. As a mat maker, I view a business plan as similar to a backing for the stones used for the mat. Thanks to its backing, the mat will be sturdy and can support hot or cold items. The mat can be used in the kitchen and other rooms in the home; without its backing, the mat would come unglued and eventually fall apart. A good plan keeps you consistently moving forward sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, but without falling apart!
While writing your business plan, you may feel frustrated. After all, you will be writing your goals, without taking immediate action to reach them. You must understand where you are and where you are going, before going anywhere. Writing a plan can be exhausting, too. If you are overwhelmed by this, then start with a one page business plan. I guarantee your listless feelings will disappear, as your business transforms from doing just fine to doing very well.
Understanding that a business plan is critical. Below are some questions to consider while developing your plan:
-Why do I want to start my own business?
-Have I found the right business for me?
-Who are my customers?
-What do these customers need that the market is not currently providing?
-How will I reach them?
-What will it take to reach them?
-How much will it cost to provide for their unmet needs?
-How much are they willing to pay to meet these need?
-Can I make money at this business?
Contact Brenda Lane-Oliver for assistance in helping your business to succeed.