Monday, May 25, 2015

Small Business Plan - Who Needs One, Really?

A dentist in an affluent part of town had made a good living and accumulated a respectable net worth over many years of practice. Having become bored with the ease of making money in his profession, he was considering starting a retail business on the side.
He invited one of his patients, a business consultant, to lunch to discuss his idea. The business consultant accepted the invitation if for no other reason than to have the opportunity to show the dentist that he really could speak clearly without multiple injections of numbing agent.

The dentist's first question was very familiar. "How important is a business plan, really?" The 'really' underscored that he was hoping to learn that it wasn't important at all. To the contrary, the consultant shot back, 'How important is it for your patients to floss their teeth, really?' Ouch! Another injection please.
Not ready to give up, the dentist went on. "I am funding the business myself and will not need a loan and certainly not venture capital, so why bother?" Not to be taken off course, the business consultant advised, "Regardless of who might or might not eventually read it, your business plan is documented evidence that you have thought through your idea in a structured manner.
You have thought about your customers, your operations, your competitors and your finances. Having done so, you have then been able to express your idea in a way that is easily understood and compelling. When all you have is an idea, a business plan is the only evidence that exists that you can transform your idea into a successful business. Without a business plan, there is no evidence."
"'Okay, I am convinced", said the dentist. 'Where do we start?'
Jim DeLapa is the founder of He has launched or invested in numerous successful startups and played an active role in nurturing two of those from inception through being acquired by publicly traded firms. has a wealth of free information on how to write a winning business plan. The site can be found at
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