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The short answer is “Yes”, and let’s find out why. Even if you know what to do, when and how to do it you still need a plan. That’s because other people don’t know what you know and you can share that via a well constructed plan.

The other person might well be a potential investor. They need to be excited by your vision, and impressed by your demonstrated ability to deliver it.

You also use a written plan to monitor your current trajectory and make sure you’re still on track. Your team will appreciate that guide even if you don’t think you need it.

Someone you owe money to might be more inclined to allow you a little more time if they are confident that you can and will pay their invoice.

So what’s in a good Business Plan? It only has to be as detailed as the story you want to tell, it might be anything from a few pages long to a few dozen pages. It needs to describe your idea and then tell the reader how you will achieve that. When you describe your idea you are trying to interest the reader, maybe even get them excited about your idea. If the reader is a potential investor you want them to be thinking “I want some of that” and if they are in your team then the goal is for them to be thinking “WOW! I can be a part of that!”.

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Explaining the “How” then gives them the confidence to continue – to invest the funds or get out of bed every work-day morning and help out.

To put that another way: the description is the sizzle, the how is the steak.

Your plan and everything in it has to be realistic. That’s actually the exciting part – you want readers to see that “This is achievable”, and that generates the excitement. It doesn’t matte of your dream is a new corner store or a rocket to the stars (like Branson has planned), the plan excites people because you can convince people you can deliver on the promise.

It needs to contain financial projections, especially if you want to borrow money or attract investors. Again, those projections need to be realistic, and extend for between three and five years into the future.

Some people don’t like to plan because things outside your control change and sometimes invalidate any plan. The thing is that when unexpected events happen they adjust their mental map anyway – so do the same thing with your written plan. Each year or after an unexpected major event revisit your plan and bring it up to date. Why do this? To maintain the confidence of those around you, those who work for you, and those who have invested in you. It also demonstrates that you aren’t just making things up as you go!

The point is that a well constructed Business Plan isn’t some dreary document that serves no worthwhile purpose, it is a document that can and will inspire confidence in everyone your business deals with.

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