A business plan is something that all businesses can benefit from, regardless of the stage you’re at or the size of the business. Put simply, a business plan is a document that describes what your business will do and how you will do it. Unfortunately, many people don’t see the necessity of writing one unless funding or loans are needed.
Here are 5 ways you can benefit from creating a business plan:
It gives your business direction
Arguably the biggest benefit of writing a business plan is that it gives your business a direction. Whilst you are researching the plan the understanding of your business is broadened. It will help you identify your goals, keeping you organised and on track. If you rush into a business without a clear plan you can easily lose sight of where you want to go. Creating a plan with financial forecasts, marketing plans etc, will help you keep focus of your targets, both long and short term.
It helps you gain an understanding of your market
The research that you do whilst writing your business plan will help you to understand an industry that you may not yet be familiar with, and for those of you who are, it’ll help you understand it more deeply before you actually have a go at entering it. A plan not only helps you understand the market however, but also identifies how your business would fit into it.
It provides a deep understanding of what your business does
Business planning makes it easier for you to describe what it is your business actually does, understand who your competitors are and create a realistic plan that spans over the next few years. Knowing what you offer and what your mission statement is will be crucial in all areas of business, from interacting with a customer to building business relationships.
It identifies problems
Due to the amount of research and information you put into a business plan to address all aspects of starting up the business, any issues or mistakes will be highlighted early on. Learning this beforehand is crucial, as it gives you time to amend the plan and fix any issues before they happen. Within the business plan you will focus on both the day to day operations of the business and the financial side, such as budgeting and market planning. The attention to detail a business plan requires will ensure a smoother road into self-employment with fewer unforeseen problems.
It can secure funding and loans
Whether you’re in the initial stages of setting up a business or already running an established business, applying for loans or funding makes having a business plan imperative. The potential investor or institution will have many questions about your business and a business plan will provide them with the answers they need, as well as showing you are organised. A well written plan will increase your chances of securing funding or loans because it shows you have considered the financial, planning, legal and marketing aspects of your business.
Now that you know the importance of writing a plan, the next step is actually doing it. For many this is the most daunting part of starting up a business, but there is help available. If you are a woman in Merseyside who needs support writing a business plan, The Women’s Organisation’s free 2 day business planning workshop ‘Planning for Success’ can help.
The course covers all the basics of business planning, helping you to gain the skills to successfully build a business plan and cash flow forecast, recognise strengths and weakness in relation to a business idea and to plan your marketing strategy, including social media.
For more information, contact The Women’s Organisation on 0151 706 8111 / firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thewomensorganisation.org.uk to find out more about our other business start-up support services
By Beckie Kinsella