There are several myths out there in the general consciousness about the relevance and importance of Business Planning. They range from debates about business size, to questions about the amount of time it takes (and whether it is worth it).
The aim of this blog post is to debunk some of these, so here are 4 myths about Business Planning:
1. Business Planning Isn’t Necessary For Solo Entrepreneurs
One of these thoughts may have crossed your mind:
“I run a small business. Do I really need to bother with a Business Plan?”
“There’s only me! I’m a one-(wo)man band, so I don’t really need one.”
But you’d be wrong.
A Business Plan applies to businesses of all sizes and sectors.
While it’s true that smaller operations may not need to go into the same level of detail as their larger counterparts, the concept of planning, researching the market, ensuring your offering is what your target audience wants and needs, and working through the various strategies for pricing, marketing and sales are universally required, and are essential regardless of whether you’re running a multinational organisation, a medium-sized business, or a solo enterprise.
2. Business Planning Takes Too Much Time
In many businesses the thinking is that, because Business Planning requires a time commitment, it is an optional extra that can be dropped off the To-Do List in favour of powering ahead with other tasks which are deemed more important…
…but nothing could be further from the truth.
A Business Plan is a crucial part of your activities, and carries a higher priority than most. How else will you clarify your intentions, as well as your mission, objectives and success measures?
You do need to invest some time on it upfront, but a suggestion is to consider that investment as saving you time and money in future. Failing to plan can have serious consequences, and you save yourself all sorts of hassle by planning ahead.
Besides, remember that if you are really struggling to find the time to do it yourself, you can always outsource it.
For example, I provide a Business Plan writing service which is for people who know it’s crucial for their business success but for whatever reason, can’t get round to doing it themselves. Contact me here to find out more about my Business Planning service.
3. Things Always Change, so Business Planning Isn’t Worth It
It’s true that things change.
As the saying goes, the only constant in life is change.
At certain times more than others, it can seem like the economic realities and state of the market are evolving faster than ever, and your products and services need to adapt at a similar speed (case in point: 2020).
But the fact that things change doesn’t negate the benefits of planning ahead.
Where a lot sits outside your control – such as a global pandemic, public health emergency and unprecedented lockdown restrictions – there is so much you still have the ability to anticipate, plan for and implement.
And don’t forget: A Business Plan is not set in stone. It is a “living” document which is meant to be reviewed at regular intervals so yes, you need to keep updating it to reflect changing realities both internally and externally to your business.
Needing to review and update your Business Plan doesn’t make it irrelevant or unnecessary. If you’re still unsure, the reasons why you need a Business Plan are explained here.
4. Business Planning Only Works If You Are Good With Numbers
It doesn’t matter if you’re not a mathematical genius, or whether you hated maths at school!
None of that precludes you from having a successful business, and doing the necessary planning to get you there.
There’s no sugarcoating it: If you don’t keep an eye on the numbers in your business, what you’re doing is more of a hobby. Plus, you may not even have that in a few months’ time!
While terminology such as “Sales Forecast” and “Projected Cash Flow” may be discouraging, it is helpful to stop and think what the words mean.
For example, “Projected Cash Flow” is simply a summary of how much cash you need to run your business from day to day. In other words, it’s the amount of cash you need to have readily available each month to cover your expenses such as payments to yourself, staff and suppliers, as well as costs for software, rent, utilities, transport and so on.
For your Sales Forecast, start by working out the minimum amount of sales you need to make to cover your costs. So how much revenue do you need to generate to break even, how many units do you need to sell to cover your costs, overheads and expenses?
It is also useful to anticipate how much sales you will make. I like to use a two-scenario approach:
A best-case scenario, where you make the maximum amount of sales if everything goes according to plan.
A worst-case scenario where you consider various factors which may come into play to stop you achieving your targets, but are still positioned to generate sufficient revenue.
That way you will be prepared, even when life’s obstacles come your way.
How I Can Help
If you need help with your Business Planning, I have designed some tools that can help:
The first is a One Page Business Plan Template.
It’s short and concise, while containing all the essential elements you need in a Business Plan.
And in addition, it contains helpful prompts which will guide you along the process.
You can buy and download your copy of the One Page Business Plan Template here.
The second is a comprehensive Business Plan Template, which contains all the sections and details you would find in a typical Business Plan such as the Product & Service Range, Target Audience, Market Analysis, Milestones & Metrics, and Financials.
Similar to the first template above, it also has helpful prompts to guide you as you complete it and produce your Business Plan. You can buy and download your copy of the Business Plan Template here.
And finally, I provide a Business Planning Service. If you would like to produce your Business Plan but can’t commit the time to do it yourself, you don’t have to worry! Contact me about my Business Planning Service, and we can arrange to get started on yours as soon as possible.