Once you've come up with a business idea (the first step to starting a small business), it's time to write a business plan.
This is the step to starting a business that many people like to try to avoid or shortcut, but it's one of the most important steps of all.
When you write a business plan, you:
- get to test your business idea in a safe environment, avoid wasting time and money on an idea that isn't profitable;
- are forced to learn more about your chosen industry, the competition and potential markets, helping you avoid potential costly mistakes; and
- hugely increase the possibilities of getting any kind of funding, as both lenders and investors see no point to wasting their time with people who don't have business plans in hand.
So why do some people try to avoid writing one? Laziness, I think. It's a lot of work to write a business plan. However, if you want to start a successful small business, it's work that's absolutely vital.
And be aware, too, that you don't have to work all the way through a full-blown business plan if all you want to do is see if a particular business idea is worth exploring further. You can use The Quick-Start Business Plan for this, five questions that will tell you if it's worth the bother of working through the business plan process.
When you're ready for the full-blown version, my Business Plan Outline will lead you through the process; each listed section of the business plan links to a detailed article explaining how to write that particular part of the plan with an example of the finished product.
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