Steps to Take Before Writing Your Business Plan

Michael Gallagher, .

Making a to-do listWriting a business plan is not hard; it’s not necessarily even that time-consuming. Researching a business plan, on the other hand, can be both. The written document is, of course, a valuable product, but the time spent before writing is equally essential. In fact, the more you focus your attention on the discovery phase, the more you will get out of our business plan.

Get Specific

You’ll find those in the business world who say that you do not know the future, so why guess? Why make a plan based on those guesses? The thing is, though, that you’re not guessing. Or you shouldn’t be. Financial projections? “We’re going to make $10 million in the first three years.” How did you arrive at that number? It sounded good? It satisfied whomever it is that’s reading your plan? It is not uncommon for people to simply guess about:

  • Their main customer base.
  • Their prices
  • The trajectory of the industry
  • How much cash they’ll use initially
  • How your competition is doing

But the more specific the information you gather, the better your business plan will serve you in the long run. Whatever you can do or need to do to take the guesswork out of planning speeds up the entire process and improves the viability of your plan tremendously. So drill down into the details:

  • What’s your cash flow plan?
  • What’s your project income, including liabilities and assets?
  • How are you going to pay the bills until you start earning revenue?
  • What specific tasks do we need to accomplish? By when? By whom?
  • Who’s going to buy? How much are they willing to pay?

The key to writing a business plan that actually helps you align your vision with daily operations is to get specific and ask yourself as many questions as you can. Have other people ask you questions you haven’t thought of. Don’t guess; research.

Tags:

Michael Gallagher

Mike Gallagher, President of Michael Gallagher Advisory, has spent the past 20 years helping small business owners and managers develop and implement strategic business plans, achieve sustainable, targeted growth and solve the problems that keep them up at night.