Have you ever watched a house or an addition to an existing house being built? For sure, there is an architect standing somewhere and usually he/she holds this big piece of blue and white paper that has some lines on it, looking like a drawing of the house.
That paper is called a blueprint, which is necessary for every architect once house construction starts. If I were to make an analogy, an architect is like a superhero while a blueprint is its sidekick. A superhero may be able to function without a sidekick, but the former can definitely function better with the latter.
How does this relate to you being a businessman? Well, just like a superhero, you also need a sidekick. And like an architect, you need a blueprint. Any guesses what it can be? Hint: It also has a “business” on its name.
If your answer is a business partner, wrong! Your blueprint as a businessman is your business plan! These two work like magic that they even rhyme.
So okay, you need a business plan. Why?
Well, imagine walking over an empty lot and just begin hammering nails on boards to build a house. Do you think you will ever build one?
When you start a business without a business plan, it looks like a flashing red light that screams danger. It’s just too risky, pal. Its name says it all – PLAN. You need a plan if you are opening up a business.
So how can a business plan help you succeed?
One good answer is by helping you set specific objectives. You need to set, track and follow-up certain objectives in order to manage your business wisely. With a business plan, you are establishing what is supposed to happen in your business. It can also help you organize, plan and communicate your priorities better as your business grows. Don’t just take a shortcut and plan your business all in your head. Just like any sport, you need a game plan.
Another great thing about a business plan is that it can help you get an operating or start-up capital, especially if your business is new. Without a well-developed business plan, established financial institutions like banks wouldn’t give you a chance to get debt financing. And you know very well that businesses require a looot of money – to buy equipment, rent a space, compensate employees, and to pay a whole lot more of expenses. So if you want your business to come to life, to continue operating or to expand, you need a business plan that is not only properly prepared, but is also up-to-date.
With a business plan, you also get to share your priorities, strategies and precise actions with a trusted partner or group of people who is as passionate as you in starting a business. Instead of explaining to them what your business is all about and what you intend to do, you can just show them a well-made business plan and surely, they will know and understand what you are trying to say and what’s supposed to happen in your business. Who knows, maybe they can spot some possible drawbacks and downsides in your idea.
Which leads me to the ability of a business plan to help you identify potential pitfalls in your business. It’s like a thesis containing hypotheses and conclusions that with you as the writer, may contain problems that you may not see because you are too much involved in the whole process. Fresh eyes from your parents, friends or spouse can give your business plan a better look as they share their opinions and advice. And if you can, ask help from professionals and experts who can give some invaluable guidance. And that would only be possible when you share your plans with them. Not just verbally, but visually as well, on paper.
Further, when you make a business plan, it allows you to analyze your competition. Whether direct or indirect, every business has competitors. Thus, if you want to outsmart your rivals, it is critical for you to know what competitive advantages your business has.
And it is not just your competitors that your business plan can help you better understand, but more importantly, your customers. What do they usually buy? Why do they buy what they buy? Why do they buy at a specific time? All these questions could be answered through a thorough customer analysis, which shall form part of your business plan.
So see, there are so many ways on how a business plan will help you succeed! But hey, don’t just have any plan. Having a business plan seems simple, but a poorly-created one won’t get you anywhere. Really, what matters at the end of the day is the quality.
I hope you realize how big of a help a business plan is. It may take a lot of time writing it, but trust me, it’s going to save you more time in the future. As they say, prevention is better than cure. Your business plan will indeed serve as your protection once you start your business. And don’t get frustrated if you end up with just one page! A single page could go a long way as long as you don’t stop and continuously monitor your performance so you can change directions when it’s time to try a different route.
So what are you waiting for? Start your business plan! DO IT NOW!