“I’m about to start up a new business. Should I write a business plan?”
The answer to that question is a resounding “Yes.” I will qualify my response; however, with “but not for all of the reasons you think.”
During the past several years, much has been written about business plans. Many websites promise to either write the plan for you or provide all of the “magic materials” you need to create a successful plan – for a price. The result is that the aspiring entrepreneur assumes that a business plan is a ticket to guaranteed business success. A good plan certainly helps, but the actual process of developing the plan probably provides the most benefit to the entrepreneur. A comprehensive business plan will help you make the informed decisions that will lead to success. And, there is nobody more qualified to write that plan than you are, because all of the ideas and dreams for that business are yours.
Every business is a network of functions that must coordinate well to achieve success. As a start-up sole proprietor with no employees, your business will require the same basic operations as a large corporation. For example, the marketing department must coordinate with the purchasing or manufacturing department to be certain that there is enough product to fulfill demand created by the latest advertising campaign. The bookkeeping department must coordinate with the personnel department to be sure there is enough money in the bank to pay a new employee. All of these “departments” may be “you,” but any entrepreneur needs to understand the effects that any change in one area will have on the whole.
The Wyoming SBDC Network provides clients with a similar outline, regardless of the type of business. Why? Because every business has to think through the same necessary functions: marketing, inventory, recordkeeping, human resources, etc. The exact details of the plan may change the first day you open, but the business planning experience of thinking through every aspect of the business and planning how those functions will coordinate will help you throughout the life of the business.
Writing a business plan will teach you a new way of thinking about your business as a network of systems that work together. A change in one function may result in a change in one or more other systems and a change in your financial position. Writing that first plan will be a voyage of discovery and help you make the tough decisions that will result in success. Contact the Wyoming SBDC Network to receive business planning templates, industry research, comparable financials and more. Best of all, we will carefully review your plan so that the finished result is the best plan possible for your project.
About the Author: Cindy has been helping Wyoming entrepreneurs start or improve their businesses for the past 17 years. An entrepreneur herself, she thrives on the challenge of understanding each new business and business owner and helping them to succeed. Currently the owner of several rental properties, she has owned a number of other small businesses, including a want ad newspaper, a secretarial service, and a stained glass studio.