If you’re just developing the plan for you and/or business partners, it doesn’t have to be as detailed, but you should still outline your goals and how you want to reach them.Likewise, if your product or service is not overly complex, your plan doesn’t have to be very lengthy.
"A business plan is important because it communicates to everyone involved in the organization what the goals are, and how management plans to get there," says Drew Starbird, a professor of operations management and information systems at Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business.
Growing up, Starbird helped to manage Hall & Rambo, his family's commercial insurance firm that launched roughly 110 years ago.
What I’ve learned as an entrepreneur and investor is that it’s important to outline your business plan carefully.
Consider all the variables so you don’t rush into anything and test your assumptions.
You should take some time to work with mentors, business partners, and colleagues on your plan.
Ask them to look for holes so you can adjust accordingly.The San Jose, California-based company began by serving fruit processing plants in the Silicon Valley before pivoting in the late 1960s to work with tech ventures.At Leavey School of Business, the My Own Business Institute (MOBI) program provides online education tools for entrepreneurs around the world."The most successful investors are looking for an idea that is going to have a clear and understandable market potential," he adds.It's especially important to know and understand your numbers.Seeking input is a great way to get an objective view, so don’t forget this step; it’s way too important.As with most things in the business world, the size and scope of your business plan depend on your specific goals.Its website generates roughly 70,000 page views each month.Business owners can register for a web course and earn a certificate for free.It's also important to keep your expectations realistic and honest: The biggest mistake entrepreneurs can make when writing a business plan, says Starbird, is to be overly optimistic with sales and future cost estimates."It was very clear working with my father and grandfather and uncle that it wasn't just about making money," he said.Other priorities included raising the payroll for employees, offering competitive benefits, and making an impact on the local Central California community.