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

How to Evaluate Your Startup Like a VC
Startups

How to Evaluate Your Startup Like a VC

The are six factors that investors will focus on when evaluating your business. Know them by heart.
Steve Tobak
3 Questions Every Business Owner Needs to Ask Themselves In July
Business Plans

3 Questions Every Business Owner Needs to Ask Themselves In July

With summer in full swing and the start of the third quarter, it's time to take an honest look at your progress.
Matthew Toren
What a Teen's Summer Job Can Teach Us About Good Business Practices
Lessons

What a Teen's Summer Job Can Teach Us About Good Business Practices

Lessons come from everywhere -- even that kid selling ice cream from a boat.
Jonathan Long
Write a Winning Business Plan With These 8 Key Elements
Business Plans

Write a Winning Business Plan With These 8 Key Elements

Before you launch your company, create a document that will serve as its foundation.
David Ciccarelli
Richard Branson on Why Compassion Is a Competitive Advantage
Doing Good

Richard Branson on Why Compassion Is a Competitive Advantage

Business used to be a cutthroat world where the only thing that mattered was profit -- but that's changing quickly.
Richard Branson
Business Plans

5 Steps for Creating a Long-Term Plan for Your Startup

Having a clear vision of your company's long-term trajectory is essential to ensuring its success.
Georgia Travers
Shark Tank's Robert Herjavec on Great Business Pitches and Why Sales Reps Need to Be Chameleons
Leadership Qualities

Shark Tank's Robert Herjavec on Great Business Pitches and Why Sales Reps Need to Be Chameleons

The serial entrepreneur and investor explains how company plans should be framed around customer needs -- and his sartorial choices.
Robert Herjavec
Facing Startup Uncertainty? Try 2 Different Ways to Plan for the Future.
Business Planning

Facing Startup Uncertainty? Try 2 Different Ways to Plan for the Future.

New business owners often rely on prediction or creation logic -- and sometimes use both.
Peter S. Cohan
The 4 Pitfalls Small Businesses Face
Mistakes

The 4 Pitfalls Small Businesses Face

Launching and running a company is no walk in the park. Be aware of these challenges before you jump into starting a business.
JT Ripton
Don't Go Too Lean. On America's Main Street, Business Plans Still Work.
Business Plans

Don't Go Too Lean. On America's Main Street, Business Plans Still Work.

Don't kid yourself. For most new firms launching outside Silicon Valley, developing a startup strategy is essential.
Sabrina Parsons
Your Mission Statement May Be Utterly Useless or a Gold Mine
Mission Statement

Your Mission Statement May Be Utterly Useless or a Gold Mine

Make yours meaningful by defining goals and specific strategies for customers, the enterprise and owners. Or skip one if there's no business purpose for it.
Tim Berry
What Happens to Your Business If You Die?
Retirement

What Happens to Your Business If You Die?

What happens when you want to retire and stop running your business? Here are a few tidbits of advice on how to keep your company growing, even when you are no longer the boss.
Melanie Spring
The Lie Entrepreneurs Tell Themselves and Others
Starting a Business

The Lie Entrepreneurs Tell Themselves and Others

Entrepreneurs often seem like they are so put together – their plan is on target, they are doing amazing and life couldn't be better. But many times that couldn't be further from the truth. And that is okay.
Tom Kulzer
How Do I Build a Business Plan? (Infographic)
Business Plans

How Do I Build a Business Plan? (Infographic)

Take a look at this infographic for tips on how to write a great business plan.
Nina Zipkin