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.
That doesn’t mean you have to bust out Word and start the plan from scratch. A template is great--you probably aren’t doing anything that hasn’t been done before, so it provides a proven structure for your plan. Pretty much everything on it can be customized.
There are no rules about what your plan should cover or the level of detail. In general, plans need to include information regarding:
~ business profile
~ vision, mission and
~ market research
~ operational strategy
~ products and/or services
~ marketing plan
~ financial strategy.
Developing your business plan helps you to step back and look at what is working in your business and what you can improve on. If you have employees, the planning process can be a good opportunity to seek their feedback on possible ideas and improvements. Your employees will value this opportunity to contribute to the business.