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Business Plans: do you really need one?

I come across many small businesses in my work, many of whom don’t have business plans in place when I meet them. Laymen who aren’t in business may be surprised at this but if you aren’t starting up with money borrowed from a bank (which is not getting any easier to do, meaning more people use their own / family / other sources of cash) it is quite possible and relatively common to start a business with lots of ideas but no specific plan in place. Does this matter?

For some it doesn’t; their idea is so focused and they are so driven that they are able to forge forwards and achieve business success with no plan to refer to. However, in a tough market when business pressures are possibly as great as they have ever been having a plan can only help.

Having a business plan means that you have got stated goals and targets; it gives you something to concentrate on to ensure that you spend your time and energy on relevant activities. It also makes it easier to communicate your plans to other people. With clear goals and targets you can also add measures by which you can see if you are on the right track, reducing the element of surprise that many business owners face when they come to look at their year end results.

As Mark Victor Hansen said “By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands — your own.”

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I have enjoyed working with a business partner that not only has a wealth of knowledge on how to assess and develop individuals and teams, but also a strong focus on understanding my strategic objectives and aligning their initiatives with these.
Stuart Millward
Director, Professional Services
SAS Public Security, EMEA & AP