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What Can a Business Plan Do for You?

Many people think that the only reason to develop a business plan is to convince potential lenders or investors to provide financial backing. This view is a little short-sighted, however. A well-developed plan can serve as one of your most important management tools. A good plan will provide a blueprint and step-by-step instructions on how to translate your idea into a profitably marketed service or product.

Remember that no two business plans will look alike. There are a number of key considerations that will play an important role in shaping the content. These considerations include whether you're writing the first plan for a new business or business opportunity, or a plan that updates or supersedes an already existing plan.

Obviously, your business's position in the life cycle will have a significant impact on the type of planning that's needed. An ongoing business might require a plan that relates primarily to a new market that it wants to enter, or a new product that it wants to introduce.

Our discussion of the value of a business plan addresses the issue from two angles: