I am an existing successful small business without a current business plan. Why would I now want a business plan?
Your business is in a constant state of motion. Using a “working” business plan document allows you to tie all aspects of your business together and to know exactly where you are in “the business cycles,” addressing opportunities and challenges as they arise. If you do not understand how and why you got where you are, you will have great difficulty in planning where you want to be and how to get there.
What is so challenging about writing a business plan?
Two major challenges in writing a business plan are:
- The time involved
- The overwhelming amount of information that is gathered, organized, and written to successfully communicate the business plan.
All start-up and existing businesses have a business plan, but it is most likely being “housed” in someone’s head and is not documented. Writing the business plan and using it as a “working” document is vital to being able to set your strategic direction and putting tactical plans in place to achieve desired results.
How do I get started writing my business plan?
Writing a business plan requires a commitment of time. You need to research and understand the dynamics affecting your business which include:
- Your industry
- Marketing analysis
- Financial analysis
- Setting your course
If you choose to write your own business plan, there is free assistance available from organizations and associations to guide you through the process, but you are charged with the actual writing.
How long does it take to write my business plan?
Depending on the complexity of the business, a business plan, in general, can take somewhere between 50–250 hours. However more complex businesses can take upwards of the 250 hours, reaching as high as 400-500 hours. Remember, you are researching and gathering a lot of data. It takes time to analyze and organize that information, and compile it into an understandable, flowing document.
What if I do not have time to write my business plan?
If you choose to outsource the writing of your business plan, there are local and internet companies available. Businesses that write business plans charge a fee, so you will want to negotiate that cost with whomever you choose.