I founded New Roots Development in late February 2016 and established the company as a Limited Liability Corporation in March of 2016. I'm nearing 5 months of actual operation and over the past three months, I've been laying down paragraph after paragraph in my business plan, building out truer projections of my financial statements, a clearer understanding of my niche market, and strategizing the road ahead. Now, I had gut feelings around where things stood and where I need to place my efforts each day to ensure success going forward, but believe me when I tell you that there is a higher level of clarity gained when you really get into the numbers, write out your plan and process those thoughts swimming around in your head (not to mention that no one—potential investor, banker, etc.—can read your mind). If you haven't created a business plan, I'm here to tell you that:
Business Plans Are Still Important
Business plans are a requirement for seeking business loans, but that should not be the only reason you attempt to write one. Although time-consuming, you should want to cross your Ts and dot your Is around the various aspects of your business, including, but not limited to, your current state company description, market analysis and niche, operation & management, service or product description, marketing & sales strategy, financial projections, and funding need, if any. A great resource for all things small business, especially on how to write a business plan is the U.S. Small Business Administration; you will find details on how to write each section of your plan there. Another resource I've been using along the way is the 2nd Edition of Business Plans for Dummies by Paul Tiffany, PhD. Although an older work, there is still some incredibly valuable information in there. For example, I learned of this awesome non-profit that offers free consulting and mentorship to start-up business owners called SCORE. I've been connected with a mentor there over the past two weeks and it's been awesome having a sounding board and getting knowledgeable guidance on what can easily become an isolated journey.
Take It Section By Section
I know the thought of writing a business plan can be overwhelming for many of us, but you don't have to complete it in one sitting or know all the answers right now. Let it force you to grow in your understanding and challenge you to evolve into a true CEO. If you are going to wear that hat and be fully accountable for the bottom line at the end of the day, if you have dreams of building a sustainable business that will create jobs down the line, if you want to clearly process the next, most effective move, then don't skip this exercise, which should be an ongoing practice anyway. Knowledge is and will always be power.