Business planning is an ongoing business activity. As your business changes many of the strategies in your plan will need to evolve to ensure you business is still heading in the right direction. Having your plan up to date can keep you focussed on where you are heading and ensure you are ready when you need it again.
While every business owner should have an ongoing planning process to help them run their business, not every business owner needs a complete, formal business plan suitable for submitting to a potential investor, or bank, or venture capital contest. So don’t include outline points just because they are on a big list somewhere, or on this list, unless you’re developing a standard business plan that you’ll be showing to someone who expects to see a standard business plan.
You may want to consider the following key questions to help determine if you are ready to start writing your business plan.
~ Have you thoroughly refined your business idea so you have a good understanding of how your business will operate?
~ Have you researched your business concept to determine if there is a need for it in the marketplace?
~ Have you completed a feasibility study to determine expected level of success?
~ Do you have the money required to start and grow the business?
~ Are you prepared to invest significant time into the business to get it up and running?
Having an understanding with third parties when distributing a plan could be enough protection for some businesses, however others who have innovative business practices or products or services may wish to go further and sign a confidentiality agreement with each person to protect their innovations. It may also be a good idea to include some words in your plan asking the reader not to disclose the details of your plan.
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