A business plan is a documented set of business goals, objectives, target market information and financial forecasts that you are aiming to achieve over a certain period of time. It is important to prepare a business plan when starting or growing your business and review it regularly to keep it up to date.
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.
If you are seeking finance for your business, you will need to show banks and investors why they should invest in your business. Lenders and investors will only risk their time and money if they are confident that your business will be successful and profitable.
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.