5. When should a Business Plan be written? When would a Strategic Plan be better?

Business Plans have great value for two types of business situations. The first use for a Business Plan may occur when you are developing the business and seeking a loan or cash infusion later in the business's life. The second situation where Business Plan is appropriate is when an owner seeks to fund the business by investment capital. I informally used a business plan template when developed my own business. Sections of the Small Business Administration's template helped me get grounded with all the ideas I had for my business.

At all other times, I recommend the Strategic Plan. A Strategic Plan is your guide for getting your business from today to the vision you have for it in the coming 1 to 3 years. Much like a project plan, there are specific areas that are developed such as a budget, a schedule, and who has the responsibility to get a particular task accomplished.  But unlike a project plan, a Strategic Plan has mission and vision statements and can include identifying the business values. Once you know your mission, vision, and values, it becomes much easier to choose the direction for your business which sets the tone for the Strategic Plan development. For small businesses, this does not have to be a long process or a cumbersome plan. I can help you to make your vision attainable.