The first time I picked up an actual business plan was about two decades ago. My uncle wrote one that detailed a retail clothing store concept he was pitching to a bank for funding.
I had two reactions after browsing through the plan. First, I was astonished by the detailed financial projections included. Second, I was amazed that my uncle actually wrote a business plan, especially one this detailed. Maybe he hired it out.
Now, of course, I work for a company where we see business plans every day. We even manage a statewide business plan competition for college students, the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup that kicks off next month.
All of which leads me to an article I came across via the Innovation Daily blog that lays out “10 Reasons Why You Should Write a Business Plan.” The article appeared on the Small Business Trends website and was written to counter those who claim that business plans are irrelevant for today’s entrepreneurs.
Here’s how the article begins:
Business plans are dead — or are they? For many entrepreneurs, the business plan is an outmoded document that gets created mainly for the benefit of VCs and bank loan officers. Bootstrappers rarely think they need one to get by.
But the fact is that a business plan — even just a one-pager with a few financial projections — can be a valuable internal tool. A roadmap for even the smallest or earliest-stage idea. It can foster alignment, set the tone for the business and even help you craft your brand messaging.