A Business Plan provides the solid foundation to any new business venture. The process of creating a plan allows you to realistically walk through every step of an otherwise intangible idea. Here is where you begin thinking about every detail of your future business and additionally, it highlights the areas where you may need to reach out for professional help. Just like every great plan, a business plan has different stages, the strategic plan, the business plan and the operational plan.
The Strategic Plan Think of this as the general “big picture” stage. It is where you craft a mission statement, realize your vision for the business and establish your goals. The strategic plan is arguably the most important step of the entire planning process. After all, if you don’t have a concrete idea of what you are trying to accomplish then all the number crunching later is meaningless. SmallBizU has a great free tool to take you through the steps of your strategic plan. It’s recommended that you review your strategic plan every year to ensure you’re staying on track.
The Business Plan This is the number crunching part of your plan. How are you going to achieve those goals you outlined in the strategic plan? It is perfectly normal to feel a little lost in all these details so never hesitate to go to someone for help. Here are some tools to get you started. The most important part is to make sure every part of your business plan reflects your vision in the strategic plan. Make sure you check your business plan every quarter.
The Operational Plan Here is where all the paperwork to get started comes in, along with the details of day-to-day operation. We recommend getting a binder together with every form you need to fill out, company procedures and policies, and all your expenses and revenues. The operational plan works off of the business plan and you will probably want to check it at least once a week to make sure you’re staying on budget.
Business Plan Pro provides some free business plan samples to look through. Take a look at our comprehensive business planning tools and resources.