How important is a WRITTEN business plan?

22 replies
I know we have different levels of warriors here. If a person is just starting out and wants to build a substantial ($1000 per week or more) online business, how important is writing a business plan? Is there a level of income that a business plan becomes more than just an option?

According to the SBA (small business administration) it takes about 400 hours to research and write a plan to get funding. I think that most of us are not looking for funding so can that time be shortened? What is essential in the plan and what can be omitted from the SBA template?
#business #business plan #important #plan
  • Profile picture of the author svetod
    I wouldn't think of the business plan too much, but take some action faster!

    Any questions - just let me know!
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    • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
      Originally Posted by svetod View Post

      I wouldn't think of the business plan too much, but take some action faster!

      Any questions - just let me know!
      Did you answer the poll?

      Wow.

      So you think taking fast action without a plan is more important?

      Are your intentions to build a business or just make some quick money? :confused:
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      "May I have ten thousand marbles, please?"

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      • Originally Posted by Jill Carpenter View Post

        So you think taking fast action without a plan is more important?
        For someone who's starting out, you do NOT need a business plan at all: fast and non-stop action is more important than a 20-page essay on whatever business plan you might dream of.

        The business plan comes LATER, once your business is already running and generating an income, so you achieve sustainability, expansion, efficiency, risk-diversion, funding, etc.

        But as a beginner? nah! focus on generating that initial momentum!
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  • Profile picture of the author ShariyfClark
    I've tried time and time again to "just take action" without having a plan in place and I always hit an invisible wall in the process. You should plan your work and then work your plan.

    Having a plan for your business crucial. Anybody that tells you that you don't need a plan either can't plan themselves or they don't have an interest in your success.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marketing Fool
    I've been building successful online businesses full time since 1996...I've never done a written business plan in my life...
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    • Profile picture of the author ShariyfClark
      Maybe not but I'm sure you don't just get up and wing it neither. I'm certain you have a flow to your business and a flow to how you do business.
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    • Profile picture of the author binaryrack
      Originally Posted by Marketing Fool View Post

      I've been building successful online businesses full time since 1996...I've never done a written business plan in my life...
      Thanks for your reply, I'm sorry to say I don't know anything about your business. Would you mind defining successful? I'm looking to have a consistent business, i.e. earning $1000 per week or more? Are you able to do that without a plan?
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      • Originally Posted by binaryrack View Post

        I'm looking to have a consistent business, i.e. earning $1000 per week or more? Are you able to do that without a plan?
        Income has nothing to do with a "plan". Income has got to do with traffic X conversions , and you don't need a plan for that.
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      • How do you plan on making $1,000 a week?

        Is that revenue or profit?

        What are your costs?

        How many sales a week would you need to achieve this goal?

        How do you plan on getting those customers? Cost of getting customers?

        Do you know that people want what you're offering?

        What needs to get done today, tomorrow, next week, etc?

        Is your business idea feasible?

        --------------------

        If you know the answers to all of these questions, then you already have a business plan. If not, make one. Action without a plan is just a learning experience.
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        • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
          Originally Posted by Jill Carpenter View Post

          Did you answer the poll?

          Wow.

          So you think taking fast action without a plan is more important?

          Are your intentions to build a business or just make some quick money? :confused:
          From the null content "contact me" post, I'm guessing that he just wants to make some quick money - from the OP. :rolleyes:

          Originally Posted by Anonymous Affiliate View Post

          Income has nothing to do with a "plan". Income has got to do with traffic X conversions , and you don't need a plan for that.
          So you're saying that the important thing is to do any random thing to generate traffic to any random offer and pray for a conversion?

          There are two types of business plans. There's the plan you show your banker or the SBA when you want to borrow money. And there's the plan you run the business by, which you may never show to anyone else.

          A beginner doesn't need the first one. They, perhaps even more than someone who has been around the block a few times, need the second type.

          That initial business plan might only be one page long. It should be a description of what you plan to offer, who you plan to offer it to, and where you are going to find those people and how you plan to approach them.

          That plan is for the new business owner's eyes only, unless he needs to share it with others who will need to understand the vision to do their part. It's also subject to change as necessary. I've never had one of these plans survive the first year intact.

          Charging off to "just take action" is like finding yourself lost in the woods and charging off in a random direction just to be doing something. Back when I taught Hunter Ed for Nebraska, we taught the kids a rhyme to use if they got lost. "Never panic. When in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout." Once they got that nervous energy dissipated, they could think about their situation and take planned action.
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          • Profile picture of the author fin
            I think it's important to stay flexible when you're starting out.

            It's hard to come up with a business plan when you don't know if it's going to work. Will you be able to make any money as per your plan?

            It's easier to try a few things and pivot. Once you find something that works it's time to come up with a plan. You'll then know you need to do W + X + Y if you want to reach Z.

            Without any data it's like shooting in the dark.
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  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    Extremely important. It gives you DISCIPLINE and FOCUS. It also clues you in if you are wasting time chasing ghost opportunities.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rory Singh
    Yes you need a good business plan. But where does a new person get it? I love affiliate marketing because it can be very lucrative and challenging.

    The key is to find a good system with a good plan in place. Then like the first guy said above, take consistent action and don't quit until you start getting results.

    Results are:

    Targeted traffic / visitors, leads, and eventually sales.

    Most people quit any venture if the last results don't come first, fast and furiously.
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  • Profile picture of the author MKCookins
    Of course you need a plan. Just like an offline business -- you need to treat your future online business the same way.

    One of the most important task in the very beginning and determining what your profitable niche is going to be. Once you figure that out, you then need to determine where these people who are interested in this subject matter hang out.

    After this you need to really understand your audience. What is there major problems, what is it they are wanting more of -- or to get rid of fast and easily.

    You need to then set up a good sales funnel that can filter the people who want to hear from you and the people who do not. Provide the people who are interested with massive value -- then promote high quality products to further help them with their problems.

    Lastly you need to have a traffic plan. Pick around 3 methods you think will enjoy -- and keep at it until you start seeing great results.

    So yes, I personally have a plan written down each day to accomplish two things. First, how to get more subscribers, and second how to get more sales.
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  • Profile picture of the author john12
    You can probably find some business plan template online, and just fill in your specific details. It can be very useful with certain types of business where you are looking for funding or business grant. But with regards to online marketing, a simple plan of action as opposed to a formal business plan is all you need to get started. Taking action is the key.
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  • Profile picture of the author dadamson
    A business plan is essential to your long term success.

    Can you make money without it? Sure.

    But unless you have a sound business plan you are not going to reach your full potential as an internet marketer.

    A business plan should be well researched and targetable.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cobaki
    If you want something that will last, creating a business plan is a HUGE must. Taking actions right away, if you end up being unlucky, will just make you feel stuck. Creating a business plan can be time-consuming while entering a business without it can be a shortcut. But that is only applicable for the first step. After that, you will no longer know what move to make.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ghoster
    That's like asking: how important is a parachute?
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    On the whole, you get what you pay for.

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  • Profile picture of the author RuthRNM
    My view is that it's absolutely essential. When I started out in IM, it was one of the first things that I did, and it encouraged me to think about areas that hadn't even previously crossed my mind. As John stated above though, there are two types. This was for my own personal planning process rather than seeking funding from a bank or finding investors. No one has ever seen my business plan, and I enjoy looking back at my first draft now and again and realizing just how little I knew back then and how much I've achieved since.

    I go back fairly often and update it, and I still find the process really useful.

    We all know that we need to overcome the shiny object syndrome and actually get down to business, but there's not much point just 'doing stuff' if it isn't a well thought out path that we're following.

    Having a business plan also helps you to think of IM as a long term business venture rather than just a get-rich quick scheme. Which, of course, we all know that it isn't!
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  • Profile picture of the author ReapingGrim
    Thing is, you need to know what to put in your business plan. Only way to do that is to experiment first. Learn from your mistakes and write them down until you have your foolproof formula.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by ReapingGrim View Post

      Thing is, you need to know what to put in your business plan. Only way to do that is to experiment first. Learn from your mistakes and write them down until you have your foolproof formula.
      But if you don't know what you are trying to accomplish and how to measure success, how will you know you made a mistake or what you might learn from it?

      There is no such thing as a foolproof plan. There are plenty of fools out there ready to prove it...
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      • Profile picture of the author Fredbou
        One of the best things I did many years ago was to complete a certificate course in Business Management, which entailed preparing a business plan.

        A few years after that, I needed some capital and the bank asked for a business plan. Not a problem!
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