Are you overwhelmed by the idea of creating a business plan, and skeptical over the value it will bring to your business? We hear you. Taking the time to develop a thoughtful, strategic plan is a necessary first step for some entrepreneurs, but may not make sense for others.
We can help you determine whether you need a business plan at this point in your entrepreneurial career. First, let’s review a few key basics.
What is a Business Plan?
A business plan is a document that defines the core goals for your business and how you plan to achieve them. Think of it as a roadmap that guides key decisions to make sure you grow and market your business in a smart, strategic, focused way.
Elements of a Business Plan
A comprehensive business plan may range from 25 to 100 pages, depending on the size of your business. Formats can vary, but key elements typically include:
Brief statement of purpose that provides a quick overview of the other sections.
In-depth discussion of your business, products and/or services, including key differentiators that will make it succeed
Defines your target market and strategies for reaching this population, as well as growth and sales potential
Examination of your competition, your market and how you fit in
Description of your leadership team, including their expertise, and how you plan to structure management
Honest look at how much money you need from investors to get your business running
Provides investors with information about future growth and profits so they know what to expect
Do You Need a Business Plan?
That may sound like a lot of up-front work before you launch. There are many clear benefits and advantages of taking the time to create a business plan. However, experts agree that not every endeavor may require one.
A part-time, work-from-home or subcontracting business may not require a formal business plan, for example. But it may be a valuable exercise to informally discuss or record thoughts about business goals, marketing strategies and funding needs.
Is a business plan an important step for you? We can help you decide. Do you …
- Require external funding? If you need to secure funding from venture capitalists, banks or government-backed lenders, then yes, you need a business plan.
- Need help focusing your business? If you think you have a show-stopping product, service or idea and you aren’t sure how to market it, which customers to target or where to start, then yes, you absolutely need a business plan.
- Have no idea how profitable your idea may be? If you haven’t taken the time to analyze your competition, study your market or take a hard look at future trends, then a business plan may help you invest and grow in a smart, strategic way.
- Want to participate in business pitch contests? If you want to enter a business plan competition for the chance to win startup money, the judges will want to see your business plan. 28 Carrots loves helping its members and women entrepreneurs connect to these great funding opportunities. In April, our InnovateHER event gave local winner Angela Sanchez of Artyfactos the opportunity to vie for up to $70K in cash prizes at the semifinals.
Help with Business Plans from 28 Carrots
Are you stuck on any aspect of your business plan, need help achieving a key business goals or crave support getting your business to the next level?
Sign up for the 28 Carrots Power Play Peer Mentorship Circle launching at the end of July, or join us for the next one in September. This mastermind and strategy group will help you overcome obstacles, gain clarity on your objectives, build confidence and consider new approaches to reaching your goals.
Each group, facilitated by 28 Carrots founder & CEO Lisa Christine Summerville, is only 4-6 members and meets twice a month for 3-6 months.