Two months ago, I used this column to suggest that we need to find a better term for business planning that doesn't conjure up fear and dread like the mention of a high-school paper or graduate thesis. Business planning is supposed to be about managing and steering a company. In the comments readers posted below that column, I saw several valiant efforts to suggest new phrases road map and business blueprint, for example. But I ended up agreeing with several people who disagreed with my basic thesis.
Now that you understand why you need a business plan and you've spent some time doing your homework gathering the information you need to create one, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get everything down on paper. The following pages will describe in detail the seven essential sections of a business plan: what you should include, what you shouldn't include, how to work the numbers and additional resources you can turn to for help. With that in mind, jump right in. Within the overall outline of the business plan, the executive summary will follow the title page. The summary should tell the reader what you want. This is very important.
Need a Roadmap? Here's How to Write a Business Plan You'll Actually Use
A written plan clearly communicates your objectives, strategies, and competitive advantages to others. A friend of mine is fond of reminding her clients that they are in the lawn business not the grass seed business. You do what you do so your customer can have a great lawn, grass seed is merely the means to get there. This builds on the previous question, and should be a concise statement that everyone in your business knows by heart.
Maybe you think you don't need a step-by-step guide to writing a great business plan. Maybe you think you don't need a template for writing a business plan. After all, some entrepreneurs succeed without writing a business plan. With great timing, solid business skills, entrepreneurial drive, and a little luck , some founders build thriving businesses without creating even an informal business plan.