As an entrepreneur trying to start a new business, expand an existing one or get investors for your start up, you’ve probably been reminded about how you need a small business plan to get started.
Although you may not have realized why you need one or how to go about getting a business plan that’s suitable for your business, I can assure you, your business plan is one document that can make or break your business, as far as getting funding or investments is concerned.
No, that’s not all. You can also have the best business plans written and vetted by top experts yet it still doesn’t fly.
So, before getting to write a business plan for your small business, there are some crucial business plan secrets you need to know, before writing one. These things are so important that they can make or break the success of your business.
These are the things you’ll learn about in this guide. But before we dig into it, let’s define what a small business plan is all about.
What is a Small Business Plan?
A small business plan is a document that defines a company’s core business activities, its goals and how it aspires to achieve those goals. It’s one of the most important documents you’ll need to put in place whether you’re just starting out, trying to get funding or reach out to investors.
Why you need a Business Plan
While discussing your business idea, you would have heard business gurus tell you things like, you need a business plan and you’re wondering, do I really need a business plan?
Of course you need a business plan. And even if you don’t need it to demonstrate your potentials and opportunity for investments to potential investors, you need it as a personal guide to set the tone for the direction of your business.
Is it Mandatory to have a Business Plan?
It’s true you need a business plan. But is it really mandatory to have a business plan?
This is a question you might be asking yourself especially if you do not have plans to get eternal funding for your business.
Frankly, having a business plan is not compulsory. You can still start and run a business without having one but, in a case where you need funding, it is almost a compulsory requirement that you will need a business plan.
Also like I mentioned earlier, a small business plan is a good-to-have document that can coordinate activities that will lead to the successful achievement of your business goals.
That said, the following are some other things you need to know about having a business plan…
A Business Plan is not Fail Proof
While your small business plan is a nice guide that can influence the success of your business especially when it comes to deciding your business direction; your business plan is merely a guide. It is not a fail proof document.
At most, what you have documented in the plan are probable suggestions based on current realities, market research and analysis.
A number of factors outside your scope of influence may still influence the outcome of these suggestions, from time to time, with or without your permission.
So, while doing everything to write a pragmatic business plan that will inspire your team and convince any potential investor, keep in mind that your probable suggestions are not fail proof as they are subject to market influences and other determining factors.
Such preponderance will keep you in check so you don’t make outrageous assumptions and conclusions. It’ll also give you more reasons to be flexible with your business plan as well as putting in effort, to actually walk the talk to achieve the goals as laid out in your plan.
Business Plans don’t Guarantee Investments
Although a small business plan is one of the most important documents that’ll be requested from potential investors to have an idea about your business and its potentials, owning a business plan does not necessarily guarantee that anyone will invest in your business.
Especially in developing countries where there are no large scale investment opportunities or fund raising options.
So, beyond having a business idea, to create a business plan that becomes a positive deal breaker for your business, you need a realistic document, that takes into consideration your current and possible market realities, alongside pragmatic strategies you can use to drive business growth realistically
Flexibility is Important
Strategies change along the line. New ideas get evolved just as better opportunities gets discovered. And you have to plan a step ahead for these changes.
For this reason, you small business plan has to be adaptable to changes. Make it so flexible in a way that you can edit some certain parts of it without losing its essence.
Take for instance; at some point in the course of your business, there could be need for changes in the structure or nature of the business. Or in some cases, you may have to include additional services or products which were not included from the onset.
You have to take cognizance of these possible changes, in advance while formulating your business plan, especially, including how they will possibly shape your business.
Business Plans Can’t fix Bad Ideas
Good business plans don’t fix bad ideas. Regardless of how well structured and realistic you’ve made your business plan to be, that piece of document cannot fix a business idea that’s not realistic or sellable.
So, while putting together your small business plan, pay attention to your business idea. Find out, is this a really worthwhile idea to get started with?
Analyze your market, competitors and demand properly and use this to gauge your idea before deciding on its viability otherwise you may just be wasting time writing a document that won’t fly.
Regardless of whether you’re using your small business plan to raise funding or just as a personal guide for your business, you have to understand that the plan is just like a strategic guide or road map to where your idea is leading you. It is not the idea itself.
So, you have to realize that the viability of your business idea is one of the important factors that will influence the successful implementation of your business plan.
Some Goals are Unachievable
While dreaming big and challenging yourself is a good idea, when it comes to small business startups, there’s only a thin line between setting achievable goals and unrealistic ones.
So, when you’re setting out your small business plan, let go of the temptation to set goals that are unrealistic because you want to please your investors. Most times, they can smell this from a distance.
Be as realistic and pragmatic as possible. Thoroughly research your market, the competition, your target customers and source out every bit of data you need to come up with a realistic proposal that is clearly achievable.
Anything less than this may lead to you setting up a failed business plan.
Having a business plan is a good idea for your business but whether you’re in Nigeria, India, United States or anywhere around the world, before creating a small business plan, you must put these things into consideration if you plan to create a business plan that will deliver the desired outcomes for your business.
In addition to this, you must remember that even the best business plans cannot suffice for the drive, implementation and discipline, needed to build a successful business.
So, alongside a pragmatic business plan, you must bring in your top game, if you’re planning to get your best business outcomes.
Finally, you don’t have to learn how to write your business plan from the scratch, you can hire us to guide you all the way to identify the important aspects of your business plans and create a realistic plan that will deliver the exact outcomes you need for your business, by reaching out, here.
So, it’s over to you now! What are your most significant challenges when it comes to writing a successful business plan? I want to read your comments.