Do I need a business plan?

In this series of 19 short articles, StratPad’s founder discusses the fundamentals of starting and running a small business.

Today he discusses whether you need a business plan or not:

Q: So, brass tacks: do I need a business plan or don’t I?

A: One of the debates I see out there is whether there should even be a business plan or not. There’s a school of thought that’s arising that says you don’t need any business plan whatsoever.

First of all, I would say that you probably don’t need a traditional business plan. The traditional business plan is 120 pages, filled with five-year projections, and was always just an impediment to small businesses getting the resources that they needed. So I would clearly say you don’t need that kind of business plan.

But do you need any kind of business plan whatsoever? Absolutely. Even if you’re not going to look for money or look for other resources, what a business plan does is it helps you to think. The action of preparing, the act of preparing a business plan should walk you through the key elements of your business, your competitors, your product, your staff, your resources, all those types of things. It should set a goal that you focus on.

If you don’t have any of this stuff, then you’re just going to bump around from pillar to post. So, yeah, a business plan is absolutely required.

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