“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” – Alan Lakein
A survey carried by Clemson University entrepreneurship professor William B. Gartner on over 800 people in the process of starting businesses found that writing a plan greatly increased the chances that a person would actually go into business. “You are two and half times more likely to get into business,” Gartner pointed out. “That’s powerful.”
However, most people get into business without a written plan and claim that they don’t need one. Most likely that view arises from the fact that most business plans are “all talk and full of hot air.”
A financial expert colleague of mine described the business plans he met while working for some financial institution as works of fiction. People just wrote down whatever came into their mind and made unbelievable projections. Such business plans are a waste of time and do not help you in building a sustainable business.
My experience with entrepreneurs is that those who write business plans tend to do more stuff, like researching markets and preparing realistic projections based on actual market data. This extra work enables one to assess the viability of a proposed project and thus increases the chances that the entrepreneur will follow through the plan.
The lean start-up approach encourages entrepreneurs to get to market as early as possible, testing their products or services among real customers. This will give you an insight into the realities of the market and thus you will be able to write a true business plan rather than fiction.
Remember a business plan is an essential tool to help you build and grow a sustainable business.