Planning is one of the most important parts of running a business, no matter whether it is a large multinational corporation trying to plan an expansion or a small business launching an exciting new product.
It is easy to start a project, but without careful planning it is like setting off on a journey to an unknown destination without a roadmap. You might manage to make it to your destination eventually, but don't be surprised if you get really lost on the way!
As a small business owner it is very tempting to neglect planning altogether, especially if you are the only person in the company. After all, planning can be a time-consuming process and for small business owners time spent planning is likely to be time when they are not earning any money. But the benefits of good planning will far outweigh any temporary loss of earnings.
The great thing about a business plan is that it can provide a reference point for you to return to at any point during the project. Just looking at a plan and seeing how far you have come is a great motivational tool. It can help you determine whether you have drifted too far away from your original vision and allow you to get back on track once again.
Writing a business plan will also help you to think more analytically than ever before about your industry and the role of your business within it. It will help you to see correlations between the different parts of your business e.g. how decreasing the cost of a particular process will affect your overall profit margin.
The value of a business plan simply cannot be overstated. Putting ideas and concepts down on paper is invaluable and the act of researching and compiling data about your competitors and the market will prove to be very useful in the years to come.
Disclosure:The author Stefan Töpfer is CEO of WinWeb.com - a leading cloud based small business infrastructure provider (small business software, e-Commerce solutions & business process outsourcing) - the views and opinions expressed are his and are based on over three decades of personal experience as a serial entrepreneur, #1 small business blogger, mentor and angel investor in the SME/SMB sector.