A Business Plan? Really? - I was recently interviewed by a bright young UMA student on the topic of “Business Plans.” She was completing the requirements of her business course and had a business she wanted to start.
I began to wonder about the current usage of the traditional business plan. With the increase of “gofundme,” alternative financing, and home based businesses without investors, the standard business plan has fallen off a bit as the “place to start.” While it may be true that you may not need funding, and therefore a plan to convince an investor to get on board and support your company, the business plan remains extremely relevant in my opinion.
I have always been one with great ideas, just ask my wife. I have invented things in my head that would make this world a much better place. Luckily, that same supportive wife is also a realist and has been there at every turn saying, “Show me the business plan.”
It has been through the process of studying the market, learning about the supply of the material or simply testing my commitment to the idea, I have, more often than not, decided to abandon the pursuit.
I am not suggesting that you use a business plan to talk yourself out of a new venture, but instead to talk yourself into it. The process of writing down your idea, analyzing the product or service, studying the market and visualizing a “pitch” to an investor will be eye opening. At the end of the process, if all the numbers and plans fall into line, you will have the confidence and organization to put the plan in the drawer and get moving.
For those of you who leapt before you looked, take a breather and a step backwards and write that plan. How does your business look a year in? Does it fit the vision in your head? Are there things you may have been able to foresee if you had taken this step in the first place? Did you properly understand the legal pitfalls you could be facing?