The short answer is “yes” and the long answer is “yes but, depending on the size and niche of your business, it does not always need to be a long dissertation.”
There are many articles and websites covering this topic so I am only going to try to help you navigate through the maze. Two great sources of information are SBA.gov (the official website for the U.S. Small Business Administration) and SCORE.org (business mentoring that is free and confidential).
I have to admit that when I hear the phrase ‘business plan’ I do not get warm, fuzzy feelings. Quite the opposite, I start to get tense and a little nervous. Why? Because it sounds like punishment – you have to write a business plan.
So the first step is to realize that it is in your best interest to write a business plan. It will help you to define your goals and the steps necessary to achieve your goals. It will force you to spend time thinking about the future and how to get where you want to go!
Ken Yancey, the CEO of SCORE since 1993, wrote a blog post last December entitled “A Small Business Plan for the Future” that gives a great response to our initial question: Is a business plan really necessary?
The SBA website has a Business Plan Tool to help you get started. SCORE has a Business Plan Template for a Startup Business that I just downloaded. I want to complete the steps in the SBA’s Business Plan Tool before I start on the actual plan. I hope to do that some time over the next few days. I’ll let you know how it goes.