So far in answering this question we have identified that creating a business plan before you start your business is important because it helps guarantee success, it verifies that you are starting the right business, and it helps you set your prices so both you AND your business will succeed.
Another reason why you need to go through the business planning process before you start your business is that the process will identify potential minefields that could hurt your chances of success. Let me give you an example. A few years ago I had a student that wanted to start and open a Bed and Breakfast with her husband. She was taking my business plan class because she was smart enough not to jump into a business without a business plan. I could tell in class that she became uneasy when we started discussing Question #3 of the 21 Question Business Plan™. Question #3 is “Why are you the right person to start, run and own this business?” She was having trouble with the running the business part because in all honesty she had no experience at running a Bed and Breakfast.
To make a long story short, she wrote her business plan (she got an “A” in the class), but she and her husband decided they needed to get some experience before they stated. The business planning process showed her how important this was. She used her business plan as a “calling card” and got a job managing a Bed and Breakfast in the southern part of Minnesota. Both her and her husband moved there to start getting their training. One year later the owner of Bed and Breakfast decided to retire and offered to sell them the business. My student and her husband jumped at the opportunity and the original owner even financed the business with no money down! My student got her experience and new business to boot!
If you want to make sure you are not forgetting or missing something as you start your business, then you really do need to go through the business planning process BEFORE you start!
If you would like to comment on this blog or have me answer a question on starting a business, e-mail me at email@example.com.