New business owners or aspiring business owners have a ton of things to juggle — finding a space, setting prices, hiring employees, ordering signs, signing on with vendors, the list goes on and on.
So why does a business owner writing their own business plan need to be on that list?
- It’s the exercise that’s important. Just like paying someone to go to the gym for you to work out, paying someone to write your business plan is much the same. The activity of writing a business plan is a large part of why it is important to write one. Through creating a business plan, business owners will help themselves fully think through their business idea. From planning for an exit to how much they’ll charge their customers, each aspect of a business plan is an important piece of planning to start a business.
- Getting it onto paper is important. Many business owners will say, “well it’s all in my head; I have a plan, I’ve just never written it down”. Plans that aren’t written down are just plain hard to follow! Writing things down and making plans help business owners keep themselves accountable. In the case that something would happen to the business owner or a key person on the team, having the plan in writing is an important part of a contingency plan as well.
- When looking for funding you will need one anyway. If you were to ever go to a financing institution such as a bank, credit union, revolving loan fund, or chamber of commerce, they will require you to have a business plan and full financials. This helps the institution understand that you have done your homework, thought through your business model and plan, and will ultimately be successful. Business plans also give institutions insight into you as a person, which plays a large factor in giving out funding as well.
Once it is written, it’s important to think of the business plan as a living document. I always suggest business owners save it to their desktop and reference it often. Going through the initial exercise is important, but there is also much that can be learned by continuing to update the document as your business pivots, grows, or moves towards transition.
The Wisconsin Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) help many business owners write their business plan each year. This can be done through one on one no cost consulting or through programs such as our Entrepreneurship Training Program (ETP) that takes place twice per year.
If you are interested in writing your business plan and taking a formal class along with it, our ETP registration is open now! To start your registration, visit https://wisconsinsbdc.org/services/education/etp/ to see the centers across Wisconsin that are offering the program this spring. There are a mix of in person and virtual options available.