replace siding lake zurich siding companies barrington james hardie siding siding installation morton grove hardie board siding island lake .. Chicago Drug testing

Do You Really Need a Business Plan?

"I don't need a business plan."

Neither did Alice in Wonderland.

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"

"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.

"I don't much care where," said Alice.

"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.

As a consultant, I have people ask me "How can I increase my business?" The answer is often easier than they think. But before figuring out how, they must decide where they want to take their business. This is why everyone in business should have a business plan, not just the people seeking venture capital.

Your business plan will be the "road map" of your enterprise. It will show you how to get to where you want to go. To develop a good plan, you need to write down the answers to quite a few questions.

To get you thinking, let's jump twenty years into the future. Describe your life. Are you still working or are you retired? Are you worth a lot of money? If so, how is your wealth distributed? Stocks? Bonds? Equity in your business? Other businesses? Are you an independent consultant or do you have a company? How large is your practice/company? What is your annual revenue (in today's dollars)? How many hours per week do you work? Do you work on weekends? Do you travel? And most importantly, are you happy?

Tough questions? Maybe. But they need to be answered honestly and realistically. I know that life can hit you with some unwelcome surprises that might change the way you want things to be. It is because of these changes, however, that you should re-evaluate your plan every two years -- about as often as you replace a pair of daily-wear shoes.

After defining your long range goals, break them down into ten year and five year goals. Make sure they are consistent with your twenty year plan. The next step is to determine what you need to do to achieve your goals.

Here are some short-term questions you should think about: Do you want more customers or steady customers? What is your competition doing? Will advertising help increase your profit? If so, what kind of advertising and what media should be used? Think of your own questions.

Your specific marketing strategies will depend on your individual goals (once you have an idea of where you want to take your business). Put your answers down on paper! Organize your thoughts, questions, and concerns. If you have financial data, use it. You don't have to take your plan to the bank, but by recording your income and expenditure you will have a benchmark to use when you review your goals and accomplishments. Business plans often follow a general format. You can modify this one to suit your exact needs.

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Profile (including mission statement that describes your business and why you are in it)
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Staff Qualifications
  • Financial Information
  • Appendices (containing any additional information you would like to include)

    Review your plan for consistency. Is it coherent? Is it realistic? This is your guide to your business. It will help you get what you want. Keep it updated. Change it as your goals change or as the market changes. Remember, a little planning will take you a long way.

    Raj Khera is a partner in, a comprehensive resource for small businesses. Find tips, articles, ideas, templates, worksheets, sample business plans, tools, financial benchmarks, sample contracts, and much more to help grow your business.

    Copyright 2005 Raj Khera. All rights reserved.

    In The News:

  • Buying Used Detailing Equipment and Rainy Day Services

    Mobile auto detailing equipment becomes very inexpensive around March each... Read More

    Menu Driven Business Planning

    A menu is the foundation of any restaurant; Guests will... Read More

    Planning for Success

    Business planning is widely acknowledged as one of the keys... Read More

    The Top Five Reasons Strategic Plans Fail

    "Most great plans aren't. They are just nice, high-level ideas."That's... Read More

    Sales Planning and Business Plans

    Writing a business plan can be tricky when all the... Read More

    Abstract thought on Business Strategy and Nature

    Here is an abstract thought on studying nature and the... Read More

    Elite Positioning Brings Higher Profits

    Imagine spending the same amount of money on marketing and... Read More

    10 Ways To Make Your Business Unique

    1. Largest Selection -One way that you can make your... Read More

    Dotcom Business Plans Archive Project

    One of the most important initiatives in the domain of... Read More

    10 Critical Facts to Put On the Cover of Your Business Plan...

    In most business plans, no matter how striking the idea,... Read More

    Business Plan: Planning the Operations

    Writing a business plan is no easy task, sure you... Read More

    Top Reasons To Form A Strategic Business Alliance

    A strategic alliance is when two or more businesses join... Read More

    For Business Owners Only - You Can?t Be Fired But Neither Can You Quit

    The decision to sell, or not to sell your business... Read More

    What is a Shared Vision?

    So what makes a vision successful? Everyday companies try to... Read More

    Your Business: Will It Have A Happy Ending?

    "Begin with the end in mind," says Stephen Covey in... Read More

    Six Key Areas For Evaluating A Strategic Alliance

    Strategic alliances are increasing at a rapid rate. It is... Read More

    Why 9 in 10 Businesses are Overspending on Day-to-day Expenses

    Experts estimate that 90 percent of Australian businesses are overspending... Read More

    How to Snuff Out the Competition Without Leaving a Mark

    Does the competition drive you crazy?Are they relentless about taking... Read More

    Breaking the Growth Barriers in the Information Technology and Software Sector

    There's nothing automatic about corporate growth, particularly in the information... Read More

    SWOT Analysis

    If you've ever listened to Warren Buffett talk about investing,... Read More

    Top 10 Tips to Create A Business Plan! (For People Who Hate Business Plans)

    One of the key challenges for any business is to... Read More

    Succession Planning: Problems Getting Started

    A survey released by the American Institute of Certified Public... Read More

    In Business Planning, Competition is Good

    When developing the competition section of your business plan, companies... Read More

    Why Six Sigma Will Work in Healthcare

    If ever there were an industry where we want zero... Read More

    Questions to Ask Yourself When Starting a New Home Business

    I love the excitement of starting up a new home... Read More

    blue street lights led lights wholesale Pete's produce ..
    blue street lights led lights wholesale Pete's produce ..