Four Ideas to Help You Write a Business Plan

Business Plan ImageAny time you have an idea for a business, you should write a business plan. It is a very important part of the process. However, this is the one thing that stops a lot of people from pursuing their idea. While successful businesses can be started without an official business plan, it is a good idea to take some time, in the beginning, to think through the process. So here are Four Ideas to Help You Write a Business Plan.

The First Idea is to Keep it Simple! Some of my first experiences with business plans involved 60 pages of documentation and strategic planning. This is the main problem that kills the process for many entrepreneurs. They envision weeks of calculations as a requirement to startup and so they never begin. Keeping it simple is ok and it’s how you should start. Usually the more basic the business idea, the simpler the plan should be. If the business is more complex, involving more processes and products, the more detailed your plan will need to become. However, it can start out simple. For example, a Farmer’s Market business, selling bird houses or fruits and vegetables will not need a complex plan, but it will definitely help to have a simple one. For more great information about this topic, I recommend that you read Chris Guillebeau’s book called, “The $100 Startup”. It will give you tons of great ideas and information.

The Second Idea is that the Business Plan may Prevent you from Starting! Really?! Yes. Here’s why. If you start planning your business idea and realize that it will be impossible to make a profit, then it would only make sense that you don’t move forward. Here is an example. My daughter was trying to make some extra college money and thought about selling snack food at the local Farmer’s Market. After planning out the cost of ingredients and a reasonable sales price, she determined that she would only break even at best with what she was trying to sell. It just didn’t make sense to try, under those circumstances. After all the point of the business is to make a profit!

Write a Business Plan even if you don’t start the business right away! Many times we get a great business idea, but we aren’t able to start for one reason or another. Determined people will sometimes power through those obstacles no matter what, but even if that isn’t your style, I encourage you to do a simple business plan anyway. If you keep your plan basic, you can flesh out your idea and get some mental traction. While you may not sell any widgets right away, you can start to research and develop your plan over time, and be that much more prepared when you decide to pull the trigger. You can remove many obstacles and take care of many details by completing a simple business plan.

If you have already started a business, you can still write a business plan. It is not too late! Don’t feel like you have missed the ball, just take a few minutes and start one. Really, a business plan is more like a goal setting sheet. It is taking what you know at this moment and projecting a plan in several key areas. What is my business? What am I selling? Who are my customers? What are my prices? How am I reaching my customers? Am I being successful? How do I know this? What are my goals for this year? These are all questions that can be answered by going through a business plan. It’s not complicated, but it is incredibly helpful.

I hope you take the time to write a business plan. It is very helpful to do so, even if you only have an idea at this time. Parents, encourage your teens to try this. Teens need to experience the thrill of planning and putting an idea to work. There is nothing like seeing a business idea work out. Helping them with this process is as easy as clicking on the business plan links in this post. Tell me about your progress. I would love to hear it!

About The Author

Duane Rockensock

Duane (Rocky) Rockensock is a husband, a dad, and the National Reconditioning Manager for AmeriGas Propane. Since he was a teenager, Duane has loved hearing the stories of how people have started creative businesses or found ways to use their talents to accomplish amazing things. For that reason he started this blog to encourage teens and adults to find their purpose and to provide the tools and resources to make that happen!