So, you've decided to start your own business! You've weighed the risks and decided it fits your life goals and will be challenging and hopefully rewarding. Whether you're starting from scratch or buying a franchise, a lot of thought and planning needs to go into it before you can hope to make it successful. One very necessary tool that can help you cover all of the bases before you take the plunge and leave that reliable bi-weekly pay check, is a business plan. Even if you're not seeking investors in your business, you need to invest the time and effort involved in writing a business plan. While business plans are certainly a requirement for new businesses seeking outside funding, they are also a terrific way to map out your strategy. Think of the business plan as a roadmap. The road map not only lets you see exactly where you are, but where you're going to be, and what you may see along the way. While it may not be heavy on the details, it is definitely a necessity if you want to get to where you are going!
In this edition of HowStuffWorks, we'll look at how to put together a business plan that can help you lay the foundation for your business, improve your chances of being successful, and generate enthusiasm and excitement about the business whether it's being written for those funding it, or for yourself. We'll answer your questions about what has to be covered in the plan, how to do research, how to make realistic projections, how to set milestones, and hopefully answer the hundreds of other questions that will pop into your head as you begin the planning process.
That planning process, by the way, is part of what makes putting together a business plan so important. The act of thinking about everything that must go into the plan will force you to think through the logistics of your business venture, and perhaps even come up with some ideas you hadn't considered before! You may even end up using many of the "selling words" you come up with for your business plan in your marketing efforts.