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.
Later, as the investment process proceeds (if it does), the latest regularly-revised plan will serve as a companion piece to the pitch and a key document for due diligence.
To understand your competitors and the industry, you`ll need to do market research. Invest time and effort and do market research correctly. A business can`t succeed if the owners don`t understand their industry, target customers, or the competition.
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.
In the beginning, one may have the urge to delve straight into specific strategies, such as evaluating production methods, studying market segments, and evaluating the competition—but do not do that, at least not yet.
First, you want your business plan to be read. No one is going to read a 100-page or even 40-page business plan. Sure, you may need supporting documentation for specific sections but you can include those elements in your Appendix.