If you’re planning to start or grow a business in 2013, a good place to begin is to write a business plan. Some are tempted to write the whole plan in a day and just “get it over with”, while others labour for months to create a comprehensive plan. How do you know which approach makes the most sense for you and your company? The decision lies in who is going to read it.
There are many advocates of the one-page business plan, which you can probably put together in an hour or two. These tidy documents make great internal guides. You can post one up next to your desk and review it every day if you want, keeping track of your progress and making adjustments all the time. There’s much merit to these plans, but I hesitate to even label them as business plans – they just don’t contain enough information to help anyone understand, work in, or invest in your business.
It can take weeks or months to determine some of the most essential components of a business plan and answer questions like:
- Who are my ideal clients?
- How many potential customers exist for my product?
- How many of them can I reasonably sell to, over what period of time?
- How much will people pay for my product?
- What will it cost to make my product?
- How will I market my product?
- How will I evaluate my marketing efforts?
- When do I want to expand my business, and where or how?
So, you can’t write a business plan in one day. Wait, I take that back – you can, but your plan won’t help you get a loan, attract an investment or give you a useful way to benchmark your company’s progress and financial success.
And if you want someone else to give you money for your business idea, an afternoon of typing at your computer just isn’t going to cut it.
What’s your opinion on the one-page business plan?