Business plans........are they really a good idea???????????

Anyone can right a business plan…or have someone right one for them. Or, they can go to S.C.O.R.E. and use some sort of template …or pay their cousin to right one for them. My point is…wouldn’t it be better to know the market and mold your ideas/visions around your customers wants and future needs?! As opposed to blindly following some business plan that may or may not work. Business plans need daily, weekly, monthly and yearly updating! My point is …I’d rather invest in vision/ideas/concepts rather than a business plan that wears “blinders” and has no room to evolve.
I’ll await rebuttal.

Re: Business plans…are they really a good idea???

In my opinion a business plan written around your vision with sound data, projections, facts etc. is worth more and will go farther than anything else as a first step.

I worked on mine for about 2 months before going to SCORE. It paid off as they said it was the best one they have seen in 10 years. Even though we have not opened and the plan was written 8 months ago, I still make edits/adjustments as we evolve our concept.

It has been a great help and guide to determine if we are heading in the right direction or as in my other post if we are straying into waters that will sink our ship. With the current landlord not working with us on a lease agreement that gives us a chance at success, our projection numbers show we would have a difficult time make everything work.

If I did not have this plan I would be blind or just wing it and diaster could happen.

Look in this thread under business plans for other resources

Re: Business plans…are they really a good idea???

I’m thinking that your idea of a business plan and mine are different. Rote, mindless documents splatted out that have no connection to your business vision, market, product and goals for the future is hardly a plan at all.

I contend that you give your business the best fighting chance if you have a written, well considered, and often reviewed business plan. You will likewise get out of that business plan what you put into it. Half-assed plan will give you half-assed support.

My business plan that was finished in December 2003 is nowhere near “blinders”, it includes visions, concepts, goals, and some action steps to attain those goals. My business plan had a 1-year, 3-year and 5-year element, each of which helped me focus my efforts and make decisions about marketing, expansion, menu design and so on.

I included an element that discusses community growth and economic development, future competition expectations, financing needs, and even the new location that we just built out this year. It was part of the 5-year plan, and BANG!! He we are doing it. We developed the business plan, and then used it as a tool to direct our business into the future.

When our landlords delivered our notice to vacate the premises in 60 days, we would have been floundering without the planning we had done for the previous 4 years. We had the relocation and expansion element in our plan, so we switched gears and began the process of locating real estate and securing financing for our build out. It was painful, but without the vision already explained in some basic terms, we would have folded up and died. Took us 7 months to reopen, but here we are with a CO and new kitchen ready to open next week.

You create a ratty tool, and you end up with a ratty tool that isn’t very useful at all. Make a concise, envisioned, disciplined and insightful tool, and you will find decisions and ongoing planning to be light years easier.

Re: Business plans…are they really a good idea???

You’re going to need month-by-month projections for 2-5 years for an SBA loan (or I did 10+ years ago). Had I done my due diligence and not just pulled numbers out of my butt, I’d have probably done better with the idea :).

But here’s the real kicker. You can go back to that business plan once you’re in business and see how you’re performing in reality vs your plan.

Let’s say your business plan calls for a profit in 18 months. However, you planned for $20k your first month and a 10% month over month increase for the first 12 months. Well, your first month came in at $20k, but your second month dropped to $15k, but you then have a 5% month over month increase the next 4 months. Well, 6 months into your plan, you’re not going to see profit in 18 months unless you DO SOMETHING.

You also need to know what it is that you’re going to do to resolve the short-coming. The biggest trap a lot of businesses fall into is being under-capitalized. So, to “tide yourself over” until you reach profitability, you hire a manager and go back to your old job. Without you there, chances are that the business will faulter (though a good manager could turn it around, but not without an advertising budget). You’ve finally found that you have to work 2 jobs just to pay your own bills and keep the restaurant afloat. You can’t continue this pace and you can’t borrow a penny more. You close your doors and lose your house. A business plan could have made a huge difference. This isn’t a guarantee that you won’t fail, but at least you’ve got a map to your destination.

Re: Business plans…are they really a good idea???

I was always taught " Fail to plan and you plan to fail ".

A business plan is the blueprint for your business. It may not (and often doesn’t) work out the way you lay it out but it is the plan you need to go forward.

Often you go back to it and re-look at your goals, desires, obligations etc and fine tune them.

Would you go fishing in the ocean without knowing what lines and bait to take? … Go to the racetrack without knowing what days were being held on? … Advertise to sell something without knowing what it will cost you? … or worst of all marry someone you have never met? ( :stuck_out_tongue: )

Without a business plan you are shooting in the dark.


Re: Business plans…are they really a good idea???

Everyone is right on here. Any business book will tell you about the same thing. Frequently changing your focus to “mold your ideas” will be the quickest route to financial rune. In the pizza business, it is the people who make decisions and stick with them who get ahead. I have seen it time and again where some guy has some money, invests in a shop, and then changes his concept every few months. This kills any benefit of being a regular of your shop, and it is the top 20% that are going to pay your kids college tuition.

A business plan is a road map for your business, and if you don’t know where you are going, you can’t be lost.