Every business should begin with a plan. It seems like a trivial idea. However, many small business owners–myself included–begin their operations without first writing a plan.
While the business plan is not mandatory, it is recommended for various reasons. Most notably, it is critical to have when searching for financing. However, I want to stress that there is much more involved than the financial outlook. The document also defines your mission, business goals, and overall vision for your company.
From my personal experience, I can say that the vision and mission of my business where well-defined in my mind. But I had no idea how I would attain either of those things. Writing my business plan forced me to evaluate what my business goals truly are and how I intend to get there. Additionally, it gave me an opportunity to define my intended contribution to the world via the sugary sweet. I do have some lofty ideas but, also, some of my ideas are very realistic and attainable. In the end, the business plan has provided milestones on this journey from which I can gauge my progress.
Of course, there are plenty of resources concerning crafting a business plan, so I will not rehash them here. However, I do want to stress that it is easier and less taxing on your already limited time and energy to finish your plan before beginning your business. Trust me, you will thank yourself tremendously when it complete.
Here are some resources that I found very helpful when writing my plan:
- SCORE Chicago
- Business Center in Chicago Public Library (or your local public library)
- Start Your Own Business
- Melinda Emerson (aka @SmallBizLady)