You should know what you want to get out of your business upfront. Are you wanting to turn a side hustle into a full-time business? Trying to expand your team or launch an additional location? Knowing what you`re trying to accomplish, and having questions like these in mind, can help you develop your business plan specifically to reach these goals.
Often the biggest decisions you`ll make for your business are amidst volatile periods of growth, decline, or even external crises. This requires you to make highly consequential decisions far more quickly than you may like. Without up-to-date planning and forecast information, these decisions may be less certain or strategic than they need to be.
Second, your business plan should be a tool you use to run and grow your business. Something you continue to use and refine over time. An excessively long business plan is a huge hassle to revise—you`re almost guaranteed that your plan will be relegated to a desk drawer, never to be seen again.
The business plan is an essential component of normal due diligence. Never do a pitch without having a plan, because if investors like the pitch they will ask questions that you can`t answer without a real plan.
By having a written business plan that you`re regularly reviewing, you can make confident decisions. You`ll have all the information necessary to know when you can hire new employees, launch a new product line or make a major purchase. At the same time, you can also plan ahead in case a decision doesn`t work out as expected, minimizing your potential risk.
And you don`t have to start with the full, detailed business plan that I`m going to describe here. In fact, it can be much easier to start with a simple, one-page business plan—what we call a Lean Plan—and then come back and build a slightly longer, more detailed business plan later.