A man and a woman started a small side-walk eatery in a rural town. On the surface of things it seems that such an informal business would not require any real planning. Basically, the business comprises selling cooked boerewors (farmer’s sausage) and a curry mince in a vetkoek (fat cake). The business is located outside a butchery where the owners can get a ready supply of fresh meat. The butchery benefits from potential customers being able to taste their product just outside of the butchery door.
Even before the owners started this small eatery, they were thinking through their business and deciding where they would introduce it and what they would sell. They also thought how they would obtain permission from the butchery owner to run the fast-food eatery on their premises and where they would get resources to finance the business. You don’t have to write down or type up any of these elements to have a business plan. The owner of this fast-food, side-walk eatery had a business plan which he kept in his head. Without setting goals for the business, this couple would not have attained the goal of starting and running their sidewalk fast-food eatery.
Yet you have so-called business gurus who tell you to forget the business plan. They go even so far as to write books that tell you to throw away your business plan and just start your business. Fortunately books like this don’t have wide distribution. You never see them in bookshops anyway. Years later you may see copies that never sold going for a song in a second-hand bookshop.
Do you really believe you can start a business without a business plan whether it is informal or informal?
If we look at a definition of a business plan such as the definition from Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia, we see that a business plan is a formal statement of a set of business goals, the reasons they are believed to be attainable, and the plan for reaching those goals. That’s it. Nothing more. Simply a plan to achieve business goals. Whatever form your business plan takes as long as it addresses how you are going to achieve your business goals, it does matter whether it is in your head or written on a scrap piece of paper.
But if you want to get serious about bringing your promising business idea from a mere thought, notion or concept, it may be helpful to do some sort of business plan no matter how informal. Just merely thinking through what you need to do to get your new business idea off the ground will help you uncover areas that you may not have thought of. It may even highlight new ideas and bring up potential risks or threats that you hadn’t thought about before.
Those who want to fly by the seat of the pants, be effervescent and spontaneous, may not want to prepare a business plan for themselves.
But those business people or would-be entrepreneurs who are serious about taking their business idea from concept to product or service may be prepared to do the hard and smart thinking about their business goal, why they think they can do it and how they are going to do it.
If you want serious information that can help you develop and realise your promising business idea, put your name down for “Breakthrough Ideas”. It won’t be freely available so if you think you need such a resource, put your name down now.