A business plan may have multiple purposes. It may be created to provide a blueprint, strategies, resources, and people requirements of a new venture and/or it may be used to attract investors. Most business plans define the “Who, What, Why, Where, When and How” of a business venture. Although, you do not need a business plan in order to start a business, doing a plan will help you think your business idea through and allow others to ask questions you may have overlooked.
What a business plan is NOT an automatic path to success. The creation of a plan is a lengthy, arduous, creative and give and take process. Very often during the research phase of the business plan, entrepreneurs discover alternative markets, additional applications, previously unknown competition, as well as technology that may affect the original thought processes. Therefore it is critical that the entrepreneur or management team of a new venture be involved in the creation and the completion a business plan.
Strategic planning is a process that guides your company in the proper direction in order to make decisions regarding the best use of resources available. Examples of strategic planning include:
- Make or buy decisions
- Patent, licensing and other intellectual property decisions
- New product/service decisions
- Managing your human capital
There are numerous methodologies that can be used for strategic planning including SWOT analysis, technology and marketing assessments. The most important factor in planning as making sure that it is done as a team to achieve buy-in from key players.
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