Collin Ray

Asked this question on 22/8/16 -Business Planning

Do I need a business plan?

In order to have a successful business, do I need to have a business plan?

Top voted answer
Lisa Ormenyessy

Lisa Ormenyessy Business Coach and Marketing Specialist at

Top 10% Business Coaching

Hey Collin,

Yes! There is a very apt quote by Benjamin Franklin that says...

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

That said, a business plan for finance, or to take to the bank is much different than a business plan for your own personal use; which again may different to what you might share with your team.

A better question may be "what kind of business plan do I need for my purposes".

John Eustace

Spot on Lisa!
You are not "in business" if you haven't developed a plan to be in one.

Brett Elliott

Brett Elliott Enterprise Strategy Consultant at

Top 30% Business Planning

I have written over a dozen business plans and offer documents for emerging enterprises.In my opinion, a business plan is a sales document. (It might sound strange but hear me out...)You need to sell yourself on the idea of the business; developing conviction in, and commitment to your enterprise, its principals, its structure, and processes, as well as be comfortable with the risk profile for you as the founding sweat equity partner. If you are the business owner and director, you are the principal stakeholder that needs to be sold on the enterprise you are undertaking. If you are sold on the business and 100% committed the roll out process outlined in your business plan, you can sell it to other stakeholders, which may include sweat equity partners, investors, and early stage customers.They aren't necessarily going to want to read your business plan, but you will need to be able to answer the key questions a well-written business plan will provide.A business plan provides a structure to flesh out all the nuances of the enterprise, test assumptions, reduce risks, and zero in on challenges and opportunities. It also provides the foundation thinking from which your website, sales tools and branding material are drawn from. It will also provide essential content for your offer document (if raising capital by selling equity).However, as a business owner, particularly if early stage, your focus is going to be sales, so don't let the writing of a business plan become a form of procrastination that holds you back from getting out there and sellnig your product or service.

Tania Willett

Tania Willett Owner and PR Consultant at TJW Public Relations

Top 30% Recruitment

A business plan is very important. It provides structure, acts as a point of reference and much more.

However, I also believe that it's important, particularly for small businesses and start-ups, to not get too caught up with getting that business plan perfect before you start acting. Ideas, concepts and strategies change over time, and that change usually comes about through trial and error. It's ideal to go out and test the market and see if there is a real need for a business, service, product or concept. Then you can regularly check in with your business plan and adjust accordingly.

Melanie Gray

Melanie Gray Managing Owner at

Top 10% Accounting

It's always worth doing a business plan. How will you know what you want to do and achieve? It's a lot clearer when it's on paper. A two page of hand written notes might be all you need to start with. Dedicated at least 1/2 hour to start with and braindump. The more you plan, the more likely you are to succeed. Good luck

John Eustace

John Eustace Principal / Communications and Media Strategist at

Top 10% Offline and Direct Marketing

Do you need a business plan! If you needed to ask this question, than maybe there is no point Colin. Serendipity or failure are the only other options, it is a no-brainer.

Roland Hanekroot

Roland Hanekroot Founder at

Top 10% Business Management

Hi Collin,

Just came across your question.

The simple answer is Yes... As I say: "A business without a business plan achieves everything in it"...

but the trick is that all business plans were not created equal.

First you need to decide what the purpose of your business plan is. If the purpose of the plan is to impress the bank to give you a loan, the document you need to create is very different from a plan that is meant to help you focus on your priorities for the coming year.

Also, You need to understand that an effective plan is never about the document (Unless is it created to impress the bank), but it is always about the work that goes into created the plan. Plans are guesses at the best of times, so often the document will be out of date the moment you've created it. but the work that goes into creating the plan is invaluable.

Hope that helps, I can go on and on about planning, and I often do... let me know if you have more questions



Brian Dorricott

Brian Dorricott Startup Guide at

No. You don't need a business plan.

However, that does not mean you don't need to understand all the elements of what is required to put a business together and make it work. Yout still need to be able to understand the problem you are solving for customers, how to make your product/service, how your customers will find you, how you are unique, how everything is financed, etc.

Having a business plan is useful for finding funding and proving to others that you know what you are doing.

However, it can simply be bullet points and pertinent details. The best one I've seen was just 5 pages (and yes, they did get funding from Business Angels off the back of it).