Starting a new business? Whether you're a therapist beginning a private practice, a dog groomer starting a new mobile service or an eBay seller opening an eBay store with dropshipped products, one of the most important keys to your success is to write a business plan, an outline which serves as a roadmap for your business. Here are some of the reasons why a business plan should be one of your first priorities.
1. Helps You see if This is the Right Business for You
A business plan will help you to readily see if you really have the desire and interest to stick with your new business. If you can't maintain the interest and passion to sit down and write out 30 to 50 pages outlining all the aspects of your business, that may be a clue that you won't stick with your business long enough to enjoy success. You'll know when you're starting a business just for the money, or because you truly have a desire for that business.
2. Keeps You on Track with Goals
A business plan serves as a roadmap of your business, with short-term goals as well as long-term goals. You can take your business plan out from time to time to make sure you're not veering from your original goals. Of course, you can always amend your business plan should things change, but your changes will be more thought out, and not a case of getting off course.
3. Keeps You within a Realistic Budget
A business plan forces you to record all future expenses related to your business so you can budget for them. That way you can keep extraneous spending under control and plan ahead for any loans you may need.
4. Helps You Keep an Eye on Your Competition
A business plan is a place where you will identify all the competition you will face. This can be extremely helpful in helping you decide where to locate an office, whether to steer clear of particular products or services, or how to modify your marketing to make your product or service appear unique.
5. Helps You Develop New Products and Services
A business plan is a place to brainstorm how your business will expand in the future. This almost forces you to look for other products and services to add to your business.
6. Helps You Expand Your Marketing
Again, in your business plan you will brainstorm the many different places to advertise and promote your business, forcing you to think outside the box. You may find yourself coming up with ideas you never dreamed of, from giving free seminars to producing your own cable access show. No matter how far-fetched the marketing idea seems, it's always good to write it down as it may allow you to see something else that might not be so unrealistic.
7. Helps Secure a Small Business Loan
Finally, a business plan is vital in securing a small business loan, particularly one from the Small Business Administration. A business plan let's them know that you are serious about your business, and shows them how viable your business idea is. And, if a business plan is vital to future lenders, that's certainly an indication it should be vital to you.