Monday, May 25, 2015

A "Small Business Plan" - What is It?

Believe it or not, in the relatively modest universe of business planning, one of the most frequently searched keywords in this market is the term "small business plan." So what is going through the mind of the people who search for this phrase? Is it:
  • "I want to know about plans for a small business" or
  • "I want to know about small business plans for my company"
Since the size (or length) of the plan prepared by companies, both large and small, is usually determined by factors other than the size of the venture, we thought it might be interesting to comment on when it is appropriate to write a small business plan, short biz plan, extended executive summary, comprehensive business profile or whatever else the planner may choose to call the document.Indeed, there are occasions when a detailed full-length business plan is not necessary for the intended audience or purpose. But, before we go any further, it is important to emphasize that every successful business should have a full-length, well-documented plan that is updated at least once a year and any changes are communicated to the company's constituents (employees, customers, etc.).
An abbreviated, or "small" business plan is most useful when it is not necessary for the audience to read certain parts of the full-length document. For example, your suppliers and strategic partners probably do not need to have a great deal of detail about your products, target market or competition. There is a good chance that they already have intimate knowledge of these matters. You can bet, however, that these parties will be very interested in your Marketing and Sales section and in particular, the size and use of your marketing budget.
There also are occasions when you may not wish to share sections of a full-length plan with another group of individuals. For example, you may wish to reserve your detailed financial information for only your senior managers and your bankers.
In some instances, a company may not have a plan and it needs one quickly at the request of an investor or other interested party. While it is always better to have a full-length document to show the reader how well you have planned your business, it is certainly easier and more practical to pull together a "small business plan" in this situation. A 7-12 page plan may do the trick.
Just remember that no matter the length or depth of your plan, it will always be reflective of the time and effort that was put into its preparation. Most importantly, it will have your name on it so be sure it reflects well on you and your company.
Scott Pollov is a Business Plan Coach, Consultant and Writer with BizPlanIt. BizPlanIt is a consulting firm ( ) that since 1997 has assisted entrepreneurs and business owners in developing clear, concise and compelling business plans, financial projections and investors presentations that help them achieve their financing and growth goals. BizPlanIt's Virtual Business Plan ( ) is a unique and free resource that mirrors the major sections of a business plan and provides insight into the fundamentals of writing an effective plan for your company.
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