Why Do Entrepreneurs Struggle So Much With Business Plans?
The Business Plan is one document that many business owners, or aspiring owners, will have at least a passing familiarity with. However, it is the cause of much discussion and even contempt amongst entrepreneurs who struggle with starting it, or get completely overwhelmed by figuring out what to include and how.
I have built, reviewed, and acted on many business plans in my 12 year career as a business owner, business advisor and investor. For me, some of the characteristics of a successful and relevant business plan stand out. However, in conversations with entrepreneurs, I often get asked a range of questions from the sections that need to be included, to validating assumptions, to the best approach to physically complete a plan.
A truly relevant business plan cannot be created without context and some validation of the business concept. This is true whether you are at the early stage of building a business, or are seeking funding for your business from a bank or an investor. How do you go about validating your business idea so it helps in not only creating a solid plan, but also lends credibility in front of different audiences?
And finally, the weakness of many plans is perhaps the reason why many business plans are shelved soon after they are produced. This puts the business at risk. A well thought out business plan (or excerpts thereof) should be used as a live document that is referred to by senior management and also the wider staff. How do you use your business plan day to day or month to month in your business, and if not why not?
I would be very keen to hear from business owners, or those looking to start a business, about what they struggle with when it comes to thinking about putting together a business plan for their business. What are your concerns? What intimidates you about building a plan? Where do you feel you need more help, and what specific areas do you lack confidence in? Ultimately, what do you want to know more about validating, building, and executing your business plan?
Understanding your experience of working with business plans will help me to understand how I can better help companies who may suffer from similar problems when it comes to validating, building and executing business plans.
I look forward to hearing people's experiences.