Is a Business Plan Worth the Time and Effort?

ByDanica Jovic
May 30,2022

A business plan is a document that outlines your business goals and objectives and how you plan to achieve them. It covers everything from your business history and background to your marketing strategy and financial projections.

It’s designed to help you navigate your business journey, attract investors, and secure funding. So, is a business plan worth the time and effort? The short answer is yes if you want to put your business on track to success. Keep reading to find out more.

Do You Need a Business Plan?

Business plans are a prominent feature of the modern business world. They play a critical role in helping entrepreneurs secure funding and getting businesses off the ground, but they can be time-consuming and difficult to create.

Figuring out whether you need a business plan depends on everything from your goals to the business life cycle. If you’re starting a new business, the importance of a business plan is obvious. A business plan can help you outline your ideas and determine what steps you need to take to make your business a reality.

However, if you’re further along in your business journey, a business planning process may not be worth your time. Some entrepreneurs think that since they already have a clear vision for their businesses, creating business plans is just a formality.

Why Is a Business Plan Important?

There are many reasons why you should put your business ideas on paper, even if you’re not looking for funding or investment. A business plan can help you in the following ways:

Help you start your business

With a written plan, you increase your chances of actually starting a new business rather than simply giving up on a good idea. A completed plan paints a clearer picture of what you need to do to start and run your business successfully.

Improve team satisfaction and performance

Another purpose of a business plan is to help you communicate your vision to your team and get everyone on the same page.

Having a comprehensive business plan can also improve job satisfaction because employees will feel like they are working towards something larger. Furthermore, studies have shown that businesses with a plan are more likely to outperform businesses without one.

Make better business decisions

Writing a business plan can help you make better business decisions because it forces you to think through all aspects of your business. For example, when you're planning your marketing strategy, you'll need to consider your target market, budget, and objectives. This process can help you save money and make more informed decisions about how to allocate your resources.

Secure funding

If you're looking for prospective investors, a business plan is essential. As a matter of fact, the most common use of business plans is to show investors the potential of your business and how you're going to use their money to grow your company. Without a business plan, it will be difficult to convince angel investors to give you the funding you need.

Look into the viability of your business idea

Business plans can help determine if your business idea is viable. This is important because it can save you a lot of time and money if you realize that your business idea isn't going to work before you've invested too much into it. To do this, you'll need to research your industry, competitors, and target market. This process can be time-consuming, but it's worth it when trying to identify potential pitfalls.

Track your progress

Building a business plan can help you track your progress and measure your success. This is important because it allows you to see how far you've come and what needs to be done in the future. Without a business plan, it can be difficult to set milestones and track your progress.

Attract partners

If you're looking for business partners, a business plan can be helpful. This is because potential business partners will want to see that you have a clear vision and a plan for achieving your operational goals. Without a business plan, it can be difficult to find business partners who are willing to invest in your company.

Secure insurance

Another reason why you need a business plan is to secure affordable business insurance. In order to pick the right insurance and get the necessary coverage, you need to assess all the potential risks. This may be difficult without a business plan.

Get a business loan

Most business loan applications won’t be considered without a business plan. Banks and other financial institutions want to see how much money you really need, how you plan to use it, and how you expect it to benefit your business. 

Lease a commercial space

The purpose of business planning also extends to the leasing of commercial space. To get the right property under the right terms, you’ll need to lock down the perfect lease agreement. Landlords expect to see financial statements and a business plan to give them a sense of what you're doing and how you plan to cover long-term expenses.

Understand your competitors

During the planning process, you'll learn about the competition. This is important because it tells you what makes your competitors unique and what you can do to get ahead. It might be tough to research your rivals and grasp their business methods if you don't have a business plan.

Better understand your clients

When you're mapping out your business plan, you'll also gain an understanding of your target market and customers. The importance of business planning is to help you identify the right market and what potential customers are looking for. Researching your target market can be difficult, but it's an important part of creating a profitable business.

Practice your business presentation

If you're going to be pitching your business to potential investors, you need to have a strong business plan. This is because your business plan will be your roadmap during the presentation. Without a business plan, it may be difficult to keep your presentation on track and focused.

Avoid failure

The main purpose of writing a business plan is to help you avoid failure. This is because it forces you to think about all aspects of your business and ensures that everything is in place before you launch. Without a business plan, it's easy to overlook things that could cause your business to fail.

Grow faster

A business plan can help you grow your company. With a good plan, you'll get a clear roadmap and stay focused on your goals. Moreover, a good marketing plan will increase your chances of thriving faster. Without it, it can be easy to get sidetracked and waste time on activities that don't help you grow a successful business.

What Makes a Good Business Plan?

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to writing a business plan, there are certain elements all successful business plans share. These include a clear description of your business, your business goals, a market analysis, an analysis of the competition, and a financial plan.

There are different types of business plans for different types of businesses. For example, a startup business plan will be different from a business plan for an established company. The type of business plan you need will also depend on your goals.

Bottom Line

Overall, a business plan is worth the time and effort because it serves as a roadmap for success. If you're looking to start a business, secure funding, or attract business partners, a business plan is essential. Additionally, a business plan can also help you track your progress, make better business decisions, and understand your competition.

FAQ
Is a business plan worth it?

A business plan can help you identify your goals, strategies, and potential pitfalls. It can also give you a better understanding of your business finances. There are many good reasons for a business plan, but it’s up to you to decide if your company needs it or not. 

Is a business plan key to success?

Despite its obvious benefits, many entrepreneurs still ask themselves: Is a business plan worth the time and effort? The truth is that a business plan is one of many useful ingredients for creating a successful business. Taking the time to write up a comprehensive and detailed business plan can give you the confidence to get your idea off the ground, attract investors, and pave the way to success.

What is the importance of a business plan?

A business plan is helpful for thinking through your business goals and strategies. It can help you understand your competitors, grow faster, and avoid a few common pitfalls that small business owners grapple with. 

About the author

Danica’s greatest passion is writing. From small businesses, tech, and digital marketing, to academic folklore analysis, movie reviews, and anthropology — she’s done it all. A literature major with a passion for business, software, and fun new gadgets, she has turned her writing craft into a profitable blogging business. When she’s not writing for SmallBizGenius, Danica enjoys hiking, trying to perfect her burger-making skills, and dreaming about vacations in Greece.

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By Vladana Donevski · June 23,2022
The documents for incorporation differ by state, and the nature and type of the business looking to incorporate. In the United States, Corporations and Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are the two main types of business entities, and require different documents to achieve that. In this article, we will learn the differences between articles of incorporation and organization, their components, the filing process, and why they’re necessary. Let’s get right into it! Articles of Incorporation: Definition The articles of incorporation - also known as a corporate charter, articles of association, or a certificate of incorporation - are legal documents filed to establish a company of a specific type as a business entity. In other words, they give the corporation its legal identity. In practical terms, for a corporation to open a bank account, issue stock or shares, operate within a state, and engage investors, it must first file articles of incorporation. In the United States, this is usually done with the Secretary of State or company registrar, depending on the state of incorporation. Delaware and Nevada are the most popular states for registering your corporation, because of their friendly regulations and minimal tax requirements. Articles of Incorporation vs. Organization Most people tend to confuse articles of incorporation with articles of organization, but they are not the same; now that we’ve defined the former, we’ll do the same for the latter. The articles of organization are filed at the point of creating an LLC. In terms of function and components, they are no different from articles of incorporation. However, the regulatory requirements are different and might be stricter, depending on the state and industry the business is in. These are the primary thing to research for prospective owners learning how to incorporate their business. The next step is filing your articles, so it’s time to learn how it works. Filing Articles of Incorporation The Required Documents The components of documents to be provided upon filing articles of incorporation vary by state, but many of them are the same everywhere. Most of these components will be on the face of the certificate of incorporation, and they include: The corporation’s name and address The name and address of the registered agent responsible for accepting legal documents on behalf of the corporation; some states may require a formal agreement of the agent’s acceptance of this responsibility. The number and type of authorized shares; more details on this can be found in the articles of incorporation and their bylaws. The type of corporate structure (e.g., profit, nonprofit, etc.) The names and addresses of the founding board members The names, signatures, and addresses of the persons handling incorporation; a corporation can have multiple incorporators who do not need to be directors or stockholders. If applicable, the lifespan of the corporation, as some corporations are made to exist for a limited time and carry out a particular function. The number and type of stocks the corporation can issue. Other components which are not required, but can be included, are: The limitation of directors’ liability Stockholder actions The assignment of authority to call stockholder meetings The purpose of incorporation, which may not need to be specific, depending on the state. The Filing Process The end goal of filing is to receive a certificate of incorporation. After preparing the documents, the incorporator should schedule an appointment with the designated filing agency of their state. Procedures differ between states, but generally begin with paying a filing fee after submitting the required paperwork. The process is completed upon acceptance of the paperwork and approval of the corporation’s registration. In most states, corporations must have both articles of incorporation and bylaws, even though bylaws are not to be filed. Bylaws only serve as internal documents setting out the rights and responsibilities of a corporation’s shareholders, directors, and other officials. Benefits of Incorporation Corporate Brand Identity Customers are more inclined to trust and do business with a brand when its corporate identity is established, as are investors. Banks are more likely to finance your venture if it’s an official business, and you’ll certainly look better in the strict due diligence checks on your business. Where no official or formal records are found, chances are that funding will disappear for lack of confidence in the safety of investing in you. Tax Advantages A corporation’s tax liability can be reduced depending on the state of incorporation. This tax reduction is often justified through operational costs like insurance, green energy investments, employee retirement benefits, production costs, employee wages, etc. Separation of Liability Filing your articles of incorporation separates the corporation's liabilities from those of its owners, in events of criminal activity, injury, or loss. The owners’ personal assets cannot be seized, auctioned, or sold if the business goes into debt. On the other hand, owners of unincorporated businesses are at risk of losing personal property in such situations. Protection of the Business Name Before an applicant is accepted, the state of incorporation will conduct a search to ensure that no other existing business or corporation has the same name. Applications for companies with an already taken business name won’t go through, because those names are protected - but only if their owners incorporated in time. Business owners also have the right to seek legal consequences for infringement of this protection. Perpetual Existence For businesses with no preset lifespan, the articles of incorporation guarantee longevity and perpetuated existence. This means that, in the event of withdrawal or death of one or all owners, the business remains in existence. By extension, a transfer of ownership is an option for incorporated entities. Unincorporated entities suffer a different fate and cease to exist in such situations.
By Vladana Donevski · June 30,2022

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