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Depends on a lot of factors, as it turns out. Factors include your time to market, your need for venture capital, the target market for your product or service, and so on. That’s a lot of stuff to consider.
Let’s say you need a loan to buy a building or tools. In a post by Shara Rutberg of CNNMoney.com, (link at bottom of page) she spoke with an assistant director of the Service Corps of Retired Executives, and asked him about business planning:
“A business plan won’t guarantee you’ll get a loan, but I can guarantee you won’t get one without one,” says Skip Honigstein, assistant director of the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) district office in Orlando, who teaches business planning workshops.
Through your plan, you must demonstrate your knowledge of the business and your ability to either manage the business yourself or surround yourself with people who can manage it.
“It takes both for banks to feel comfortable,” says Honigstein.
The plan should also provide a timeline for starting and growing your business and solid, well-documented financial projections.
Write as much of your business [plan] as you can yourself before seeking help from others. Doing so better prepares you to communicate your special needs clearly with a lender.
So, if you need some extra cash to get your Big Idea off the ground, you are going to need a business plan. And ThoughtOffice has the most comprehensive tool on the market, to help you write your own business plan, fast – eXpertBizPlan. Why is speed so essential to creating a good business plan? A recent column by Kelly Spors at Wall Street Journal Online (link at bottom of page) notes that while written business plans are not a statistical predictor of success, they still have value:
So ditch the planning altogether? Not so fast. While the formal written plan itself may not be worth much, the planning process can be very helpful in honing strategy and dodging potential calamities. Just don’t spend too long on it.
Mr. [Guy] Kawasaki says entrepreneurs should spend no more than a few months planning and writing a plan of less than 20 pages. He recommends addressing three key questions: Who’s going to make it? How are we going to sell it? How are we going to service it?
These are the very key questions that eXpertBizPlan by ThoughtOffice directly addresses, in detail. The module is presented in a topic outline format; divided into categories. Each category heading is filled with questions that guide you in creating your business plan from beginning to end. Our business plan topic module plugin works by querying you with the critical questions you need to ask yourself, to develop your perfect plan, and then provides the power of our unique IdeaBrowser brainstorming engine to help you expand upon the responses, in your own language. And it does it quickly and efficiently, before your competition gets to market first. And the great thing about the business plan module is that you can use it again and again. Whenever you need to. As often as you need to.
Check out our newly updated eXpertBizPlan demo session, available now as a free download at ThoughtOffice.com. You can download the PDF, or get the full Brainstorming Session experience. The session file opens in ThoughtOffice (download the free 15-day trial here), where you can explore the features and power of a true lateral-thinking tool.
ThoughtOffice eXpertBizPlan provides you with the step-by-step process used by successful CEOs and MBAs to create successful business plans. Put the power of the experts behind your next business venture with eXpertBizPlan by ThoughtOffice.
Links to quoted articles (links open in new windows)
Getting cash for your first major purchase
Shara Rutberg, CNNMoney.com
The 100-Page Start-Up Plan – Don’t Bother
Kelly Spors, Wall Street Journal Online
Service Corps of Retired Executives
Oh, by the way. Remember that image at the top of the page? The young exec drafting a flow chart? Keep an eye out for a pending product announcement from ThoughtOffice. We’re working on a mind-map application that will knock your socks off!
Tagged with: Brainstorming • Business • business plan • business planning workshops • CEO • CNNMoney.com • David Lockman • demo • entrepreneurs • eXpertBizPlan • financial projections • free 15-day trial • growing a business • Guy Kawasaki • Kelly Spors • lateral thinking • market • MBA • Orlando • SCORE • Service Corps of Retired Executives • Shara Rutberg • Skip Honigstein • starting a business • target market • ThoughtOffice • time to market • venture capital • Wall Street Journal Online