A business plan is a written document that is broken down into several different sections that set the procedures for operating your business and enabling you and your lender to understand and plan for the needs of your business. Think of the document as telling your story and answering the who, what, when, where, and why of your business. Not every business plan (See our Business Plan Writing Guide)is the same so it is important for you to highlight the areas that are most relevant to your business. The plan will be used by you and your employees as a guide to successfully run your business.
Whether you are a first time or long time business owner it is always a good idea to have and maintain a business plan. The plan not only helps you prepare for the future of your business, but it helps track progress as you grow. The plan should help you set goals and maintain focus to achieve specific milestones in your business. Setting sales targets, maintaining costs and expense budgets, structuring your corporate entity and understanding your competitive landscape are just a few of the items that will be developed in your business plan.
Not everything in your business will go as planned or scheduled. There is a reason that architects use a pencil in their first renditions of a house. Sometimes walls need to be adjusted by inches, feet, or even removed. It is important for you to understand that you, your business and your business plan needs to be flexible enough to endure changes and challenges that come your way. Think of your business plan as a working document. There will be unpredictability in your business environment and as your business ebbs and flows through different life-stages it is important to review your plan and make necessary adjustments.