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

Why Your Business Needs an Operations Plan
Starting a Business

Why Your Business Needs an Operations Plan

If you're sailing your boat without a rudder, you're going to lose control when the water gets rough. A growing business needs a sound operations plan to survive.
Lean Startups Need Business Plans, Too
Starting a Business

Lean Startups Need Business Plans, Too

Lean business planning doesn't mean no business planning. The formal written business plan has long been obsolete. A real business plan should grow organically, with regular review and revision.
Tim Berry
7 Ways to Weigh Your Start-Up Risks -- and Reduce Them
Starting a Business

7 Ways to Weigh Your Start-Up Risks -- and Reduce Them

Starting up is obviously a risk, which can make jumping right in scary. Here's how to minimize those risks to boost your entrepreneurial rewards.
Adam Toren
How to Craft a Business Plan That Will Turn Investors' Heads
Starting a Business

How to Craft a Business Plan That Will Turn Investors' Heads

When asking anyone to help fund your startup, you'll at least need a business plan first. Here's what it should include.
Matthew Toren
When the Product Is the Marketing, and Vice Versa
Starting a Business

When the Product Is the Marketing, and Vice Versa

Sometimes the product itself is the marketing. In those rare cases, businesses can thrive without organized marketing.
Tim Berry
Startup Basics: How to Master the Fundamentals
Starting a Business

Startup Basics: How to Master the Fundamentals

Stick to these four proven principles to keep your business growing -- and successful.
Brad Sugars
The Business Model for Disruption
Starting a Business

The Business Model for Disruption

For groundbreaking companies like Twitter and Pinterest, business plans take a backseat to growing traffic. Thanks to the excitement over the expected Facebook IPO, it's starting to feel like the dot-com boom all over again.
Tim Berry
Good Nite Lite's Adam Nelson on Growing Without a Business Plan
Growth Strategies

Good Nite Lite's Adam Nelson on Growing Without a Business Plan

Entrepreneur Magazine's Emerging Entrepreneur of 2011 shares growth strategies that helped his startup succeed.
Teri Evans
Sit Down Now and Write That Business Plan (Opinion)
Starting a Business

Sit Down Now and Write That Business Plan (Opinion)

If you're serious about building a successful enterprise, you'll need a business plan. But don't let that stop you from starting.
Scott Shane
10 Business Plan Words Every Manager Needs to Know By Heart
Starting a Business

10 Business Plan Words Every Manager Needs to Know By Heart

If you're starting or running a business, you'll need to know this list of essential business planning words.
Tim Berry
The Top 10 Business Plan Mistakes
Starting a Business

The Top 10 Business Plan Mistakes

If you're thinking about writing a business plan, consider this list of common mistakes people make and expert advice for steering clear of them.
Tim Berry
To Make Business Planning Less Daunting, Let's Call It Something Else
Starting a Business

To Make Business Planning Less Daunting, Let's Call It Something Else

We need new vocabulary for business planning. Just don't call it a 'business plan.'
Tim Berry
Planning for Next Year? Get a Fix on These Numbers First
Starting a Business

Planning for Next Year? Get a Fix on These Numbers First

Figure out the metrics that drive your business and you'll zoom ahead of the competition.
Brad Sugars
How Winning Contests Helped a Startup Beyond the Launch
Starting a Business

How Winning Contests Helped a Startup Beyond the Launch

Kris Appel launched and developed her medical device company using the cash and services she won in business plan competitions
Michelle Goodman