business planDo you find the idea of developing a formal business plan a scary prospect?

Cornerstone mentors will encourage, and help their mentees to define a basic business plan. This can then be used as a ‘road-map’ that brings structure and continuity to the mentoring process.

But we generally find that many, indeed most business owners – even of larger businesses – are reluctant to attempt, and are sometimes daunted by business plans. Why is this?

Maybe the very words ‘business plan’ are intimidating and formal. Or possibly the widely available templates for business plans are a bit bewildering, or overly complex. Many business owners don’t feel a need for a written business plan because it’s all ‘in their head’, but they, and you if you take this route,  will never know how much better the business might have done if there had been an active plan in place.

So let’s try to demystify the Business Plan.

If a business owner is applying for any sort of business funding he/she will almost certainly be required to submit a well-constructed business plan. In this circumstance, some form of prescriptive template normally has to be used and approved by the funding body.

Otherwise, the business plan is just for your benefit, and it can take any form you want so long as it serves its purpose, which is to make you think about your business and how you are going to get to where you want to be. It can be very short; it can be a table or chart; you can write it in note form. It will be your personal guide to success – your friend and confidante –  and at the end you will have the reassurance of knowing that if you do A, B and C you should get to D.

A business plan is just another sort of plan, like your weekly shopping list is a plan. If you wouldn’t do your shopping without a list, why believe you can run your business without a plan!

By all means, consult online templates to give you an idea of the sort of questions you should be asking about your business, but then ‘cherry pick’ the ones that seem important to you and freely adapt it. We have a template we use here at Cornerstone and it has been used by many businesses to add structure to their planning process. You can download it HERE. Take a look and fill it in, at least as far as you feel you need to to make progress.

Or why not get a Cornerstone mentor to help you?

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