Question: What is one good reason to write out a business plan even if you're not going for a bank loan or venture capital?
"Writing a business plan or putting together an investor deck allows you to think more clearly about what you're doing and where you are going. Key point to remember though is that the minute that your business plan hits the printer it is already out of date, so don't depend on it as your to-do list. Think of it as a roadmap."
-Paige Brown, Dashbell
Gain a Deep Understanding of Your Market
"Although it took several weeks and I've barely looked at it since, I credit my business plan for helping me understand a brand-new industry in an extremely deep way before actually entering it, and for forcing me to deeply examine how we would fit into the market and what TalentEgg's probability of success was. As a "risk averse" entrepreneur, it was critical. "
- Lauren Friese, TalentEgg
"The biggest reason to write out a business plan regardless of any financing option concerns is that it can help you stay organized and remain on track. Businesses without a plan can easily get off-target, and revenues will suffer as a result. Creating a plan with expense projections, revenue forecasts, and more can help a small business remain committed to its long-term goals. "
-Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
Practice Makes Perfect
"It's great to write one simply to throw it away. The mental gymnastics are great. The plan is basically worthless the moment you're finished - but it will force you to think about things you might not have otherwise."
-Brent Beshore, adventur.es
Confirm the Math
"A lot of ideas sound great on paper and even in discussions. However, simple math can make or break an idea. Before we launch any new idea, we at least create a financial model to project the ROI from several realistic scenarios. You can save a lot of time and frustration thinking through the numbers, and making sure it's possible to hit your revenue and profit goals."
-Phil Frost, Main Street ROI
Iron Out Possible Kinks
"Writing a business plan allows you to really think things through. Your plan should question the validity of your ideas, the product/service target markets and so on. It should force you to do your own proper due diligence."
-Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.net
"Writing a business plan is an ideal way to make sure that everyone on your founding team is aligned with the current and future plans for the business. In the early stages of a company, it's imperative for founding team members to be on the same page as to how they'll work together on moving the business forward to great success. Avoid any miscommunications by getting it all on paper early."
- Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.
Hold Yourself Accountable
"A business plan is a great tool that allows founders to articulate their vision and future plans for their company. When using any business plan format, there are standard questions that force you to think & create a long term vision and strategy for your idea. Once these are down on paper, they can serve as a guide to allow you to track your progress and hold yourself accountable for the future."
- Aron Schoenfeld, Do It In Person LLC
Know Your Message
"Business planning is incredibly helpful for describing what you do, understanding who your competitors are, and crafting a realistic three to five year plan. Each of these activities is crucial if you are looking to launch or expand a venture, and learning to speak concisely about your company will always be crucial no matter what stage you're in."
-Garrett Neiman, CollegeSpring
"Business plans are a valuable, iterative, document that can serve as a successful benchmarking tool. Where did your business exceed expectations? In what areas did your strategy maybe fall short? While it's fine to "pivot" your company based on what you've seen in the market, having something in writing puts the onus on you to be honest about your company’s performance. "
-Charles Bogoian, Kenai Sports, LLC
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.