Formal Business Plan

And you don't need to spend precious hours polishing and updating it.

That time is better spent doing something useful: such as making your idea work in the real world.

Certainly, if you’re going to try to get money from a bank, a government-backed lender, a venture capitalist, or a community development financial institution (CDFI), you will need a formal business plan.

Over the next few weeks we’re going to teach you how to write the perfect business plan-discussing why you should have one, the different types of business plans you can develop, and what goes into each section.

Before we get into the how-to, let’s take a deeper look into what writing a plan will do for you.

The first clue comes right in the description of what a business plan is: a roadmap for your business that outlines your goals and spells out how you aim to achieve them.Do they grasp the key issues involved with your business? Great employees will appreciate how you’ve taken the time to assess your place in the market — as will lenders and investors when you need to raise money. You understand the benefits of having a business plan and you’re committed to writing one. Some elements belong in each one, and we’ll explain each of those below, but your presentation might be completely different.Most importantly, think about who the audience is and what the goals are for the plan.It’s vitally important to catch things early before you invest too much time or money.6) Teamwork – Even solo businesses have team members, whether it’s a supportive spouse or a professional accountant or attorney.The supportive environment can make it difficult to anticipate real-world bumps and business realities.Doing the actual math while putting your plan together will help you see whether your idea is truly sustainable or needs some work.What's ironic about this is that one of the worst kept secrets of the corporate world is that three- and five-year plans are a joke even in huge companies where momentum might make the future more predictable.It's been that way for So, no, you don't need a formal business plan to get your startup off the ground.A business plan will help ground you, but also figure out where you fit within the greater whole, things you may not have taken the time to consider.5) Objectivity – Talking to friends and family about your great idea can make it seem like a can’t-miss proposition.

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