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❶There was fear that Bismarck was invincible and would roam the Atlantic sinking Allied convoys and warships at will.

How Important Is Your Business Plan?

how can a business plan help you run your business

It helps you challenge yourself to determine whether your concept is viable, and, importantly, if your concept is truly differentiated from your competitors in a way that really matters to customers. A great business plan pulls together all of the major issues facing your business in a balanced and analytical way. Creating your plan helps you to decide where to focus your resources and time in ways that will matter the most. Once your business is operating, your business plan gives you a framework, a big picture, for evaluating the day-to-day issues and opportunities that you will encounter.

Businesses operating without plans tend to give less thought to how they package, price, and deliver their goods and services.

They tend to operate more by chance and impulse, and less by analysis and deep thought. They also tend to run out of cash or become so cash flow crimped that they must cut back on crucial expenditures that limit their future potential.

OK, so you bring a lot of energy, ideas, and enthusiasm to your business. But not having a business plan is like not having a rudder or a navigational map.

How important is a rudder? Bismarck suffered minor damage herself, despite several direct hits. There was fear that Bismarck was invincible and would roam the Atlantic sinking Allied convoys and warships at will. The navy ordered dozens of warships to follow Bismarck, leaving troopship convoys carrying tens of thousands of soldiers totally unprotected from the danger of German submarines. A squadron of British fighters and torpedo planes eventually located and attacked Bismarck.

They caused little overall damage but did score a direct hit on her hull. For years I competed in the book publishing business. However, I was a minnow in a highly competitive sea dominated by whales. Nonetheless, by the time I sold this business, my profit margins were three times higher than those of the largest publishers.

I had developed a business plan that truly differentiated us from our competitors in way that mattered. The authors were the brand names more than the publishers, so an established author had bargaining power. I sat down with my employees one year and very carefully thought through our strategy and our business plan. We decided that instead of bidding tons of money for big name authors, we would focus on our own series where we owned the brand. Instead of waiting for a literary agent to propose a book topic to us, we would research and decide what book topics were most saleable and go find our own writers.

We paid a good fee, but we paid no royalty. So if the books sold well our costs were a fraction of other publishers. There are many other instances where having and following a good business plan made a huge difference for me. Yes, I am aware of these tales of people who managed to succeed without a business plan. I admit it is possible to succeed in business without a plan, especially if you start with a truly unique concept and plenty of funding.

But not having a plan will greatly decrease your odds of success. Why shoot yourself in the foot and then try to prove that it is still possible to run a marathon? But why handicap yourself? Or maybe they are just lazy about writing one. The nature of the human mind is to avoid deep thinking and to avoid challenging our currently held beliefs.

So instead we might tend to work long hours day in and day out, all year long, doing things the same way, as opposed to really thinking deeply about whether or not we are working on the right things at all. I believe many business plans lack a truly differentiated strategy, utterly failing at one of the core purposes of a business plan.

For example, I often hear independent retail business owners say they differentiate themselves by offering superior customer service. To develop a successful differentiated strategy, a good business plan should first carefully analyze customers, customer needs, and competitors. Plenty of business plans do a decent job of summarizing the basic competitive inputs.

But many plans fall short when it comes to the critical and insightful analysis that is required to move from summarizing the facts to assessing strengths and weaknesses and then probing for risks and opportunities.

There are many other reasons business plans are often worth little. They may not be realistic. They may not be thorough. Some people confuse a business plan with a budget, or think the budget is what matters most. This is ridiculous; a budget is not a business. The core of your business plan is your written text and particularly the text that you write that defines your business. Many businesses do not review and update their business plans, especially the non-financial parts, as frequently as they should.

I believe every business should carefully review its entire business plan at least once a year. Some people see a business plan simply as a way to raise money. However, I emphasize that a good business plan can allow you to start and grow a business without raising any money.

Yet I have built some good-sized businesses. And I have done so by carefully developing, updating and following my business plans. Sure, a great business plan should be a basic tool to help raise funding for your business. Nor should anyone else. No matter how good of an idea you have, a good business plan can greatly increase your chances of success. But it needs to be a plan truly designed to operate the business, not just a plan designed to sound good on the surface merely to help you raise money.

Even if you are absolutely sure you are going to succeed anyway, a great business plan can raise the level of success you might achieve. Perhaps the most important element of a great business plan is whether or not you have really, carefully thought it through. Yes, a great business plan should be relatively complete and address all aspects of your market, your customers, your competitors, and, of course, your business and your budget.

You may decide some elements of your plan are much less important and spend less time focusing on them, or even skip them altogether. What really matters is how much deep thought you gave to the elements that matter most. You want to challenge yourself, challenge your initial thoughts, challenge the way you were planning to do business or are currently doing business.

To create a great plan you must approach the planning process with a really positive attitude. You want to approach it with the idea of exploring possibilities. Yes, it may be possible to do something really different. Yes, it may be possible to make some tweaks and have really better results next year. But if you can think positively and envision a great outcome, you will be much more likely to achieve one.

I tend to not work on it for more than a few hours at a time. But I come back and look and think about key parts of the plan time and time again. Thus, our writing services are definitely worth your trust and the impeccable reputation they have. Now it will certainly meet the expectations of my professor! You guys are great! All my questions were answered in a timely manner and now I know what to do if any problems with academic writing arise - ask you for help!

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Feb 07,  · Talk to a consultant: Often a consultant can work with you for free to help you determine the right scope and budget for your project. Your preliminary discussions with a consultant are a great way to test the waters /5(47).

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In fact, a business plan is much more than that: It's a tool for understanding how your business is put together. You can use it to monitor progress, hold yourself accountable and control the business's fate.

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Oct 23,  · The rest of this article will provide the specifics of what you should include in your business plan, what you should skip, the critical components of the all-important financial projections, and links to additional resources that can help jump-start your plan/5(). writing a good thesis statement for a research paper How Can A Business Plan Help You Run Your Business phd thesis company law college essay format.

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How to Run Your Business: A Guide to Strategic, Effective Management You’ve established your business, so what’s next? This guide highlights everything you need to know–from managing finances to marketing strategies. Make selected portions of your business plan part of your new employee training. 8. Develop new business alliances. Use your plan to set targets for new alliances, and selected portions of your plan to communicate with those alliances. 7. .