Business Plans

Often the first act of entrepreneurship is formalizing a business plan for a prospective company. Business plans, which serve as something of a roadmap for how a founder will turn an idea into a full-fledged business, typically include information like an executive summary, a market analysis and financial projections.

Business plans can be vital for entrepreneurs and business owners interested in lining up a bank loan or attracting other stakeholders such as investors. And though a plan may change over time, entrepreneurs and owners often say the process of mapping out how a company will operate and who its customers will be is invaluable.

Still, as the lean startup trend has taken root in recent years, debate has arisen over whether entrepreneurs actually need business plans. Many investors and others within the entrepreneurial community suggest that in a startup, time is of the essence. And since a business plan -- and often the business itself -- will surely change anyway and it might be of little use to put in the effort. According to some, it's better to simply go and do, and then based on an owner's progress, raise funding later, should that be necessary. 

Today's Most Read

News and Articles About Business Plans

Let Your 'Story' Frame Your Business Plan
Starting a Business

Let Your 'Story' Frame Your Business Plan

Don't think of it as a formal document but as a collection of your stories, combined with concrete goals.
Tim Berry
Two Weeks to Startup: Day 4. Write Your Business Plan
Starting a Business

Two Weeks to Startup: Day 4. Write Your Business Plan

In today's installment of our series to help you launch a new venture, you'll put your concept on paper.
How Can I Hire Someone to Help Write My Business Plan?
Starting a Business

How Can I Hire Someone to Help Write My Business Plan?

Tim Berry, president of Palo Alto Software Inc., responds to a reader seeking advice on finding a low-cost writer to help with a business plan.
Tim Berry
Starting a Business

A Great Business Plan Begins With Engaging the Customer

Entrepreneurs need to spend less time at their computer imagining their new business and more time with real, live customers.
Myth of the Business Plan
Starting a Business

Myth of the Business Plan

Writing one is largely a joke. Seriously.
An Introduction to Business Plans
Starting a Business

An Introduction to Business Plans

Why is a business plan so vital to the health of your business? Read the first section of our tutorial on How to Build a Business Plan to find out.
Business Planning for the 'Lean Startup'
Starting a Business

Business Planning for the 'Lean Startup'

This next-generation strategy calls for planning--and revising--as you go.
Tim Berry