Friday, January 21, 2011

Business Tips: Developing a Business Plan

by Dr. Cheryl Cottle

Many small business owners take their business idea from a concept to implementation without writing a business plan. Common reasons why some business owners don't have a business plan is because it can be a time consuming task, which also requires some research and know how. Others identify the cost of outsourcing someone to write a plan as yet another reason for not having one. There are also those who see a business plan as something that only larger businesses do or only required when seeking financing.

A business plan can be perceived as a daunting, formal approach to business that takes too much time to conceptualize, thus it is often neglected as a valuable guide to entrepreneurial ventures. Thus, rather than devoting the time to getting an overview of their business, many choose to learn as they go; responding to events as they occur or on a need-to-basis. This reactive approach to business development means that you are jumping head first into business; however, you can face many pitfalls that can ultimately require a great deal of time and resources to change.

While an entrepreneur has been defined as "one who takes risk," and rightfully so risk taking is indeed a great entrepreneurial quality; it is also prudent to reduce risk since it can negatively impact the cost of operating and managing your business. A proactive approach to business development will help you to define a business path and serves as an invaluable tool for achieving your goals.
Here are some helpful ways that a business plan can help your business.
  1. Define your business goals and objectives
  2. Will help you to identify your target audience
  3. Enable you to identify the best business model for your business
  4. Assist with cash flow forecasting
  5. Enables you to better understand the business sector of your business
  6. Identify the skills needed to manage and operate your business
  7. Identify the technology needed to manage and grow your business
  8. Gain valuable information about your competitors
  9. Develop your marketing plan
  10. Identify and develop your branding strategy
There are many resources available for small business owners that will guide you on how to develop a business plan. While a business plan can be a very large document that requires a great deal of details, you can also develop one that will simply serve as a road map to where you will like to take your entrepreneurial vision.


About the Author
Dr. Cheryl Cottle is the founder and chief consultant of Cottle's Professional Consulting. Dr. Cottle is an education and business development consultant, and has written several post for Crafted Spaces. She holds a Masters degree in Instructional Technology and a Doctorate degree in Education and Computer Applications. She has worked as a consultant for over ten years and is also a social media expert, who works with individuals and organizations to achieve their professional and business goals. Dr. Cottle also provides women entrepreneurs with valuable business development resources through her CPC Women in Business group and other initiatives.

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  1. Great tips! You've definitely convinced me to put together a business plan. I've linked up to this on my blog -

    1. I'm glad that this post was helpful to you. Thanks for the visit and referring to this post on your blog.


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