Starting a small business, any kind of a small business, takes dedication, hard work, and sacrifice. How many times have you heard this or something similar? I would bet often enough so that the statement seems cliche. And while it is true, simply being dedicated, hard working, and willing to sacrifice will not ensure success. Yes, these things are important, but without a plan to follow your chances of success are significantly diminished no matter how dedicated or hard working you are.
To understand what I mean take a few minutes to review this short YouTube video where Louis Mosca, Executive VP & COO of American Management Services, explains why a Business Plan (BP) is important. Mr. Mosca states it pretty simply when he points out that a the BP provides "true direction." With a plan in place a business owner's efforts are strategically focused on doing those things that will lead to success. And one of the best times to create a plan is at the beginning. But to begin you must answer one fundamental question: what is the best format for my BP?
Business Plans come in all shapes and sizes. There is no "one size fits all" solution for creating a custom BP, one tailored perfectly for your business. But there are plenty of resources available to guide you in the process. One such resource is the Small Business Administration. I recommend that you familiarize yourself with this website as it is treasure trove of information for the small business owner. But for now focus on this guide to writing a business plan. There are even templates available for reference. Don't worry if none of these templates perfectly fit. In fact, you would be lucky if it were so simple. Instead use this resource to get you started and adjust as needed so that your plan is formatted in a way that makes sense for you and for your business.
One bit of advice before you get started: stay true to your plan, but allow for flexibility. This is important because you will need to adjust the BP as you learn more about your business and the environment you are competing in. Think of it this way. Your BP is a living document. As such it will never truly be a finished work, but will evolve over time just as your business will change with time.
Good luck with kicking off your Business Plan. And if you get stuck, contact us. We are here to help.