As with anything in life, a considered and documented plan is a key to success. No, a plan in your head – “I have an idea in mind” – is not good enough! Yes, you may be lucky and the idea in your head may work out, but there may be many issues that may not have considered that come to bite you. So, you are strongly urged to prepare formal business plan, even if it is for a small, once-a-week market stall. This is not just an important first step, it is a crucial first step. Yes, you may be successful without a written business plan, but with a business plan – we
assure you – you will be more successful, less stressed and be more organised.

Planning is about identifying the issues that are important to your business success, then contemplating – thinking deeply about – these issues, writing down the issues, identifying the pros and cons of the issues, as well as your considered (and sometimes gut-feeling) views of the issues, prioritising them and coming up with a considered or researched response to these issues (this is what I will do), including a rough estimate of costs. Each response may have several parts to them. For example, if you realise that you need to market your new firm, then you may need to consider the ‘how’ (it could be social media, a website, brochures, business cards, positive word-of-mouth or posters). However, each of these need to be unpacked and each may take on a separate discussion of its own.

Do not get fixated on the budget until you have documented your plan. Your plan will give you an indication of how much you will need. First the plan, then the budget. Yes, you may find you do not have enough money, but then you could revisit the plan and find ways of cutting costs, or starting smaller.