There are many online gurus who will insist that you don’t need a business plan to get started. That may be true. You can get started without one, but where will you end up if you don’t have a plan? It might end up wonderful, but it might also end up chaotic, unpredictable and unsustainable. So, let’s look at the main reasons why you need a business plan.
Your Plan Helps Identify Your Target Audience
When you create a business plan, it forces you to fully identify your target audience. You’ll likely want to create an audience persona so that you can identify your audience of one and know exactly what they want and need to solve their problems. That’s the only way you can develop products or services to fill their needs.
Your Plan Identifies Your Strengths and Weaknesses
When you create a business plan, and really get to know your audience well, you can also start to notice where you may not be as strong as you want to be in terms of delivering to your audience what they want and need. But you’ll also realize where you are strongest and where you can really make a difference.
Your Plan Identifies Your Resources
When you create a business plan, you’ll know which resources you have and which ones you’ll need to conduct your business at the optimal level. For example, you may realize you need certain software to make automation easier such as AcuityScheduling.com to help you collect leads to call, or a certain email software, or lead management software, or even skills that other people can provide. You will also identify how much time you need, and how much time you have and how to fill the gaps.
Your Plan Informs Your Budgetary Needs
When you have a business plan, you’ll know exactly how much you need to keep your business afloat and how much you need to be profitable. This is a good way to not put things in the air as a guessing game. You should always know your numbers.
Your Plan Identifies Your Priorities
When you have a good business plan, you can see which tasks, items, and information are priority over other things. For example, if you want to become an affiliate marketer you obviously need to place big importance on the type of email software you use so that you follow all the canned spam laws, and so that it has the right automation and tools needed to run your business.
Your Business Plan Shows What Constitutes Success
When you have a good plan, you know exactly where you want to be at certain times. This is how you’re going to track your success. You know your break-even, you know how much you want to make and how you plan to accomplish it all, and you’ll be able to check and compare with the plan to ensure that you’re reaching each goal on time.
Your Plan Is Your Map to Your Future
You’ve heard how dangerous it is to travel without an idea of where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. The same thing can be said of your business. If you have no idea of where you want to go, how to get there, and what is necessary to get there, you may end up really frustrated when you’re not seeing results. You may also accidentally experience success that you cannot repeat, causing a huge letdown. A business plan creates a map that can be perfected and repeated to reach success again and again.
Your Plan Defines Your Course of Action
Having a business plan is the best way to understand the exact actions you need to take to get to where you want to go. For example, if you want to build your email list, how are you going to go about it? Will you host webinars, give away a PDF, or something else? What is a reasonable expectation from your efforts? A good plan will spell these things out for you.
Your business plan doesn’t have to be a 20-page plan. It can literally be on one or two pages and still do wonders for your ability to be successful with your idea. The important part is that you think of each of the reasons you need the plan, so that you can answer the questions in your own mind about how you will proceed and the roadblocks that might be in your way.