Asoka is an Independent Finance Director and Management Consultant based in London. He works with growing companies as their part time Finance Director and is the Founder of AKCA Consulting, which helps companies improve their financial health.
Do you need a Business Plan and if so when do you need to prepare one?
Before you start a business or develop a product? Or if you’ve already started and are doing well, why bother at all? These are the questions startups usually ask.
Many entrepreneurs recommend not preparing a business plan and 70% who sell their businesses never started with one!
However, not writing down a plan does not mean that you don’t plan. As I’ve heard some say – ‘the plan is nothing’ and ‘planning is everything’.
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The answers, as always depend on what stage you’re at and what you want to do next.
At an early stage, even though advisable to have one, you may not need a Business Plan but here’s what you do need:
Test it first and don’t waste time on business plans. Make sure it works and even try acquire some customers for it.
2. Have a well-defined market/niche
If you can break into a niche where you’re the best, you will do well. Being a small fish in a big pond will always be more challenging.
3. Understand your business model
You have to work out how you will make money and without this a business plan will not help.
4. Get the right team
It’s people who make a business succeed, whatever the drawbacks. Business plans cannot cater to every event but people can. The team is more important than the plan.
5. Have a heart and passion
Be clear about why you want to do this business and have a passion for it. Without it, you are bound to fail sooner or later. Some call it the ‘vision’ thing. The best business plan in the world will be nothing without it.
So if you have the above, you have a great chance of success without a written plan. However, if you need to raise funding, you will almost certainly need a written Business Plan unless you have the next best invention from the iPhone!