Once you have determined the right type of business and the right business model for your new venture, you need to write your business plan.

This initial step is, perhaps, the most important step in your entire business venture, for without a business plan, you have no direction and no course to follow.

Writing a business plan accomplishes several important things that are essential to your immediate and long-term success as an entrepreneur:

  • Writing your business plan will allow you to get all of your ideas down on paper in a readable manner.

    Once you have it written down, you'll immediately begin to make adjustments, changes, additions, deletions, and more.

  • The process of writing your plan also requires you to do all of the necessary research and obtain all of the necessary information that you'll need - today and in the near future.

    The information you gather will be valuable as you formulate your specific business strategies, operating procedures, pricing structures, and more.

  • Once your business plan is complete, you'll want to set up a schedule for reviewing it and updating it as time goes on.

    In essence, your business plan is the map you need to follow in order to accommodate all of the bends, turns, detours, and more that will, inevitably, block your way. Business ownership is a crooked road with lots of surprise turns, and you must be flexible in responding to those changes.

In order to build a successful business, you must realize that your business plan is a living document that will constantly be changing in response to demands beyond your control. Nothing you've written in your business plan is etched in stone, and it is the norm for a business plan to be constantly changing as one's venture moves forward, grows, diversifies, and expands.

The Core Ingredients of Successful Business Plans

Most business plans share common characteristics and common sections, listed below. Click on each for details.

Then, click here for business plan resources.


SOURCE: Adapted from Wendy S. Enelow, The $100,000+ Entrepreneur (Manassas Park: Impact Publications) pages 41-43. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved. Copying strictly forbidden.