The Role of a Business Plan and Business Model

By Sara Beam

@Sara_A_Beam

Are you thinking about starting your own business? Have you thought about writing a business plan? Have you thought about your business model? No? WELL YOU SHOULD!

A business plan is like the skeleton or road map of your business, a business model is how your create value for your business. Both are essential for success.

So lets talk about business plans, what does it do for your company?
Imagine going on a trip, somewhere you have never been before, and just going off your gut and not being able to use a map along the way when you get lost. Unfortunately so many entrepreneurs start their businesses off gut feelings and assumptions. Because of this, they get lost along the way, forget certain aspects of their business and sadly fail. This  infographic shows what the business failure rate over the years and in certain industries:
Staff-infograph_Startup-failNow as you can see, not having a business plan is not the only reason a business would fail, it could be a multitude of things, however, I believe that without a business plan your business is headed down the path for failure before it even starts.

A business plan does the following for a company:

  • Shows potential investors what they are about to invest in, they like to see that you know your stuff.
  • Gives you something to refer back too when you get bogged down in all the crazy stuff that comes with being an entrepreneur.
  • Helps you figure out before hand whether or not your business is actually feasible.
  • Communicates to your board of directors, your intentions.
  • A business plan is something that will open your eyes to the possibilities, the potential down falls or the unknowns of your business.

My very first piece of advice to anyone wanting to start a business is to write a business plan.

So how do you start writing a business plan? There are many different options:

  • Business Plan Pro – a software for writing a business plan
  • Ask a mentor/adviser for assistance
  • Take a course at a local college

Other helpful tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to share your business plan, but don’t share it with the world. This is your intellectual property so protect it.
  • If you share it with friends and family, don’t let their opinions and thoughts get in your way.
  • Edit, edit, edit and don’t be afraid to change things along the way.

Now get to writing that business plan, good luck!

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