Benjamin Franklin first said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” But thousands of business gurus have employed this quote to emphasize the importance of having a business plan.
For many small businesses the idea of a business plan is daunting. Overloaded just fighting fires and keeping their heads above water, business owners are quick to relegate writing a formal, multiple-page “business plan” to the too-hard basket.
This is a mistake. First, failure to plan can be catastrophic. Second, there is absolutely no need for a business plan to be complicated or long-winded. In fact, the simpler your plan, the more likely you are to succeed.
We’ve gone on a hunt for business plan templates that keep things simple. Take a look at the four options outlined below and find one that suits your business – or mix them up and create your own template. The key is that you are asking yourself the right questions and thinking through the issues.
Here’s a simple, back-of-the-napkin style business plan template that will get you thinking about the key issues. We love this plan for those of you developing new businesses.
This article from the Oprah Winfrey magazine has a lot of American references, but the basic process it takes you through is good. There are also some good examples of one page business plans at the start of the article.
This blog extract from Copyblogger provides a great list of business planning questions, which you are invited to cut and paste to create your plan. We like this template because it is very customer focused.
The financial advice website WiseBread gets the business planning process down to its most basic, by asking only 4 simple questions that will focus your mind on what you have to sell, who you are going to sell to and how you are going to make money. This one is great for keeping start ups focused on what counts!
Get planning! And if you want our assistance please feel free to give us a call. We are here to help!