When writing a business plan, have an end goal in mind. You need to ask yourself, Where do I want it to go? What will my business look like? Stated differently, how do you want your business functioning in the next five to ten years? This is your vision.
This means having the right financial statements, forecasts, and a digestible explanation of your business model available for potential investors. Writing your business plan helps you put all of those pieces together and create connections between them to tell a cohesive story about your business.
Whether you are in the beginning stages of starting your own business or planning on taking it to the next level, you will need a clear and informative business plan. `What is a business plan?` you may ask. In short, it is a comprehensive guide wherein answers to the questions and problems you will face in each stage of growth are laid out in detail.
Writing a business plan may seem like a big hurdle, but it doesn`t have to be. You know your business—you`re the expert on it. For that reason alone, writing a business plan and then leveraging your plan for growth won`t be nearly as challenging as you think.
Investors, lenders, and others know that a market without competitors is typically a tiny and uninteresting market. And, of course, a healthy, growing market will always attract competition. So, unless you`re creating a new industry or a new market segment, you will have competitors. And, you`ll need to figure out how to beat them or at least to compete with them.
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.