Recently, I attended a SCORE.org Business Planning webinar and thought it might be beneficial to provide a bit of an overview for you. If you feel this might be a webinar you would like to take, then there will be a link for it at the bottom of this article.
The first point tackled in this webinar is peoples’ general perception of entrepreneurs is they don’t plan, they only act. It is believed that “fly by the seat of their pants.” It may have been that way before, but things are different now. Because of the unpredictability of the economy, and generally bad condition, business planning is more important than ever.
Now, most banks require a well thought out business plan in order for you to be considered for funding. If you walk into a bank without a business plan, you’ll have a much harder time proving to them that you’re serious about your idea. Banks are in the business of investing, not gambling (barring some banks actions in recent history).
Looking into your business plan
A business plan accomplishes many tasks, but the first one you’ll see is a direct challenge to what you believe about your business. The nature of a business plan is to predict your businesses success or failure. Don’t be surprised if one or all parts of your idea seem to be failing your business plan.
The webinar states that you business plan will help you to understand your company’s
- Customer Base
- and future plans.
That is all extremely important information to know about you business or future business. Anyone who skips a business plan, is trivializing the importance of knowing this information.
Researching and Writing a Plan
According to the webinar, you should anticipate spending several weeks or even months on your business plan as it is a detailed look at your company. If you want to start a business, and invest your time and money, this shouldn’t be a problem.
The webinar makes an excellent point in that it will not be uncommon for you to have multiple versions of your business plan depending on your reading audience, so be sure to take that into account. Don’t be tempted to skew any of the data your research turns up. Not only are you doing your reader a disservice, but you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Don’t make empty claims. Be prepared to prove any claims that you make within your business plan. If you are unable to, then you’ve undermined your credibility, and the credibility of the business plan.
One thing I really enjoyed about this webinar was the inclusion of case studies. In college, I’ve always enjoyed when the text books included case studies of real companies that I’ve worked with or purchased products from. It makes visualizing the concept much easier when you can apply it to a company you’re familiar with.
The case studies they include are not a long tedious read, so it is a nice touch to make the webinar more interesting. The case studies definitely help to highlight the importance of business planning.
The Nuts and Bolts of a Business Plan
The most important part of this webinar is that it covers the nuts and bolts of a business plan. They go over the elements present in all business plans. They talk about your product offerings, your place in the market, your target markets, and your marketing strategies.
My Assessment of the Business Plan Webinar
While the webinar doesn’t delve too deeply into the specifics of a business plan, I think it is an excellent primer for you to get your feet wet. It takes a relatively intimidating subject, and explains it piece-by-piece in layman’s terms. I view business plans as integral to the success of a business, and free tools like this are an excellent way to expose you to the concepts.
Once you have completed the webinar, be sure to click on the “Worksheets” icon in the lower right corner of the webinar for more information that you can use when developing your business plan. If, at any point, you hear words that you’re unsure of, there is also a “Glossary” Icon in the lower right hand corner that brings you to a fairly in-depth glossary of terms used.
If after watching this webinar, you want more information, then I urge you to read our article “Successful Business Planning and Your Market” which links to many excellent resources or to browse around SCORE.org for more Business Planning resources.
Link to webinar: Business Plan Webinar