Business Basics: Professional Business Plans & Why Every Small Business Needs One

Crafting a compelling, detailed business plan that answers the right questions is critical to guiding and growing your business.

Crafting a compelling, detailed business plan that answers the right questions is critical to guiding and growing your business.

Who is your ideal/target audience? What are the best channels and strategies to market your product? How will you differentiate your product or service from your competitors? How do you plan to scale six months, twelve months, twenty-four months from now? If you cannot answer these questions clearly, succinctly, and effectively enough, it’s very likely that your business is suffering for it. These are questions that must be answered not just at the outset of building a business, but repeatedly and consistently as your organization and understanding evolves with markets, technology, and the times. An actionable, thorough, and detailed business plan provides the answer to these questions and many more - and is critical to providing clarity and direction for yourself and others who invest their time, energy, or dollars in your business.

Here are three reasons why you should think about hiring a professional to help you craft a strong business plan that will actually move you closer to your goals:

  1. A strong business plan serves as a compass for making real-time decisions

A business plan is much more than a checked item on a small-business’s to-do list. A business plan is both the map and the compass by which you steer your organization increasingly towards your vision for what it could become and navigate the opaque and uncertain decision-making territory of growing a business. While a good entrepreneur should have a vision for what they want to create, planning how to get there is fraught with potential pitfalls and blind-spots that can cost both time and money, and no one can expect one person to get it all right.

Inevitably, obstacles and challenges arise as we execute our plans for progress, whether it’s in marketing and messaging our product/service to an audience, unexpected technology or business expenses, tempting but irrelevant opportunities, or a myriad of other possibilities. Your business plan provides a living strategy that grounds decision-making in a cohesive approach for anticipating and solving them. The goal of a strong business plan is to thoroughly account for the key questions and challenges that your business might and will face, and prepare you with effective strategies and contingencies to address them. Yet, equally inevitable are the blind-spots and dangers of the unknown unknown that no entrepreneur can avoid. This is why it’s so important to have third-party, qualified, and professional input in answering the critical questions that a strong business plan asks.

    2. A strong business plan includes practical projections that help plan for the future

One of the potential pitfalls which often surprises entrepreneurs is failing to fully expect costs in both time and cash that accompany the often slow start of scaling their business. While the structures, systems, and processes that you have in place now might work for the very short-term, can they support the addition of multiple new clients? When and how many new clients do you expect over the next six months? Can you and do you plan to hire soon? And what must be done to prepare if you aim to grow? Getting the answers to these questions wrong isn’t felt on the paper where your business plan resides; it’s felt on your balance sheet and on your calendar when you’ve lost valuable time and resources by making wrong decisions and forced to adjust to the consequences. By the time the consequences of poor planning are felt, it’s too late.

You might have recognized the need for effective advertising, but have you realized the need for usable data and lead warehousing to process and store the leads you’re converting? You may have a strategy for order fulfillment, but have you accurately projected the orders you’ll need to fulfill? Sure, you have a product, but have you accurately anticipated some of the key questions that your customer will ask? You may have a plan of your own, but your own plan is rarely enough to anticipate all of the crucial and even usual problems that present themselves, and having an experienced and knowledgeable guide can save wasted effort and guide you more quickly to your destination. Friends and family are seldom truly reliable for objective, third-party insight compared to an experienced and knowledgeable guide to expecting the unexpected.

    3. A strong business plan isn’t just to guide you; it’s to inspire others to follow

Constructing a business plan isn’t only a helpful tool to guide your business - it provides a fact-based rationale for why your business deserves to succeed, to get funding, to earn your customer’s support, and to inspire others to help when you can’t do it alone. A strong, detailed, thorough business plan that asks and answers the right questions is critical if you’re going to seek a business loan, outside investment, or even inform strategic partnerships. Being unprepared with a basic or poorly thought-through plan can cost not just your own time and dollars, but jeopardize great opportunities that could help to insure or even accelerate your success.

A strong business plan should be simple in its answers, but sophisticated in the process of asking the right questions. At Prior Business Consulting, we provide a premier business coaching service that allows small business owners to make the most educated decisions possible. We provide our clients with measurable growth plans with detailed strategy and implementation techniques. We give you a road map with a timeline to achieve your revenue and profit goals. We know that every business is unique, even in the same industry. Contact us today to see how hiring a business coach can remove the roadblocks stopping your business from unleashing its full potential.

Have questions? Interested in learning more? Contact us today and we’ll see how we can help you.

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