It is the era of social media and of course, an era that has made it easier for everyone to start a business. Unlike Bill Gates who started Microsoft in a Garage or Zuckerberg who started Facebook in a dormitory, quite a number of businesses are springing forth on social platforms like Instagram, Facebook Twitter and what have you.
Those days, dropouts or employees-turned-entrepreneurs, like Jeffrey Preston Bezos, the founder of Amazon, need a laptop, internet connectivity and website to start their businesses. These days, these hippie generation entrepreneurs only need a smart phone, internet connectivity and an account on any social platform to birth new businesses. Not a bad idea for running a business without an office, which I predicted many years ago. But unfortunately, many of these new age businesses may die before their third year. Why you may ask? It is because a lot of them are setting up businesses without definite plan.
Just what is a plan? According to Google, which was a PHD research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, a plan is a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something. A plan is a blue print; a written document that highlights how to move from point A to B. In business, it is not just some sentences scribbled on a piece of paper, journal or diary. Neither is it an architectural drawing that depicts a proposed building. It is called business plan.
The likes of Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg may have launched their businesses without a comprehensive business plan, but that is not an endorsement for you to start yours without one. Back then, most of them were teenagers who were exploring and not really cut out for business. If you are cut out for business and not just exploring the new age media, then you need a detailed business plan.
A business plan is as important as the business itself. Although I am not from that school of thought that will tell you to fold your arms and do nothing while working on a business plan, I believe that you should launch out if you can. However, you need to have a business plan to guide you on your journey to your business haven.
A business plan is like a road map needed by the entrepreneur him or herself to start, manage and grow the business. It is not just a document you need to raise money. Wipe that thought off your mind first. Before you start thinking of how to approach investors and raise funds for your business with your yet to be written business plan, you must understand that you need it as your road map to help you find the direction of your business.
A business plan is more like a compass that tells the direction of your business. As the entrepreneur, you need one to help you understand the different areas of your business. Like the industry, market survey, target audience, marketing plan, required management structure, and financial analysis. You need a business plan to help you see the big picture of your business in facts and figures.
Yes, in business you don’t just assume your business is just another lucrative venture; we create assumption in business based on facts and figures. And these facts and figures are part of what make a business. For example, you don’t assume there are five million people in a particular geographical location who need your product. Rather, your sales projection should be based on your market survey or research. And that is an essential part of a business plan.
Like I said earlier, we have great entrepreneurs who started their businesses without a business plan. They were ready to learn and relearn on the game and make mistakes that weren’t necessary but costly. With a comprehensive business plan, although it is not a guarantee for business success, your mistakes will be minimal. So, before you continue on your business journey, I think, you need a business plan.
Alfred Ade-Ijimakinwa, Africa’s number one small business expert, is the founder of BusinessIQ online magazine, the fastest growing and largest circulating free business magazine in Africa. To reach Alfred Ade-Ijimakinwa for consulting or speaking engagement, email: firstname.lastname@example.org