Your business plan and strategy is a fundamental part of your business, and maybe especially so for startups that lack an established track record. It is an integral part of convincing investors to finance your startup and helps set the direction of your organization. Given its importance, it is worth exploring why it is important to develop it yourself – rather than rely on downloaded business plans from the internet, or an outsider developing on your behalf.
The benefits of coming up with your own strategy
Learnings during the process of developing the plan
An often overlooked part of a business plan is that it forces you to think through your approach during the development process. It is far easier to make adjustments in advance of actually launching a company, and developing the business plan is an easy way to start to understand your market and opportunity. You may likely recognize things that you have overlooked when you are forced to put pen to paper and actually write out what your approach for competing, obtaining finances, and growing your firm will be.
It is integrally important that you go through this experience of thinking through how your firm will work – if you rely on others, you are in effect devolving key decision-making processes over to others. It is unlikely that an outsider will ever be as invested in your success as you, and online business plan templates will not give the attention to the nuances of your business that you can give, and you lose the important learning opportunity from thinking everything through yourself.
Creating a unique strategic position
One of the most critical things to consider when developing your business plan is your unique position – how you will be different to other firms so as to attract customers. Generic business plans can’t achieve this – you will inherently look like your competitors, who may well also have a generic approach.
Being able to answer questions
One of the key things investors are looking for in a business is a deep understanding of the company and the approach it will take. They are interested in knowing that you have through what you will be attempting, and really understand the details. This is only possible if you truly understand the details – which in part requires you to have ruminated on your strategy – considering the various alternatives and before setting on a particular approach.
Understanding the details
Beyond being able to answer questions on the business plan is actually understanding the details yourself. You should know the details, and why certain decisions have been made inside out. Fully understanding the intricacies of your approach is critical to effective implementation.
Getting buy-in to the plan
Another big component of developing a business plan yourself is getting buy-in into the business plan – including your own commitment, as well as that of your team. Commitment is important to actually following through on it, and developing it yourself with the involvement of others at your company can help ensure that the team is committed to its implementation.
It can be possible to fall into the trap of assuming that someone else would be better at writing your business plan that you. This is a bad trap to get into – if someone else would be better suited than you, why are you the one that is actually starting your business? Ultimately you need to ‘own’ your business – that is, own the decisions behind the company, and going through creating your business plan and strategy is a critical element of this.
It is easy to discount the importance of a business plan. As a startup founder, you likely have lots of pressing activities, and since there are likely many uncertainties about your business, it is possible to fall into the trap of continually delaying documenting your firm and its approach.
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