I’ve been having this discussion on Linked In about whether a start up company needs a business plan or not. If you ask any Ivy League MBA you will probably hear that you absolutely do need one. And you need to spend thousands of dollars to have someone smarter than you put one together.
But if you ask my friend Oliver who owns a print shop or the dog groomers around the corner or my acupuncturist, they would tell you they never had one. I’ve run 3 businesses and have never written a formal business plan. One of them is an international manufacturing company and I’ve never had a business plan for it. Once I had already been in business for years I was planning to expand and needed to raise money. That’s the only time I have put anything down on paper, but it still wasn’t a business plan, more like a presentation with corporate bios and projections of how many would be sold, etc.
I took that presentation out of the closet and read through it. 90% of what was in it wasn’t even true anymore. None of my employees are with me anymore because of the downturn in the economy. So, what I thought my business was going to be, which was sales reps and full time employees, wasn’t even close to what I ended up with. Now I have distributors who are independent and simply buy the product from me and get marketing and PR support. [Read more…]