When I decided to launch my new product, writing a formal business plan was the last thing on my mind. I didn’t need outside financing, had plenty of work to do, and wanted to launch quickly—so I focused on working efficiently. The traditional 40+ page plan just didn’t make sense. Instead, I did single-page analyses and overviews as we finalized everything from our supply chain to brand strategy. We launched and had early traction that kept us busy adapting and growing our business.
In fact, I didn’t even consider writing a formal plan until we were named semi-finalists in the MN Cup startup competition.
A 10-page business plan was required, and we’d have the opportunity for talented mentors and judges to evaluate our business and strategy, so I hustled and wrote one in three weeks. Despite my early work, it was a daunting project that was thought-provoking, overwhelming and exciting, all at the same time.
A concise business plan forces you to focus on the big picture and how the elements work together, and identify your key milestones. It can provide clarity of purpose and confidence in your idea that will rally your team and convey your vision to potential board members or investors. Once you launch, and are invariably pulled in many directions, it will help you stay the course.
If you’re considering starting a business, take the time to make a formal plan as you evaluate your concept. While studies show there isn’t a difference in success of companies who have launched with or without a business plan, entrepreneurs who write a plan are 2.5 times more likely to launch. And that what it’s all about.
Jess Schaack has a business degree from City University London and worked for iconic brands before living out her startup dreams as founder/CEO of Relamp Printed Light Bulbs. She grew up on Casco Point and is a proud graduate of Mound Westonka High School.