Why you should complete a business plan in 2016

Think of business plans as a map for your startup’s future. You may not know exactly where you’ll end up, but you know where you want to go – and planning it out in a structured way can help you achieve those goals, rescuing you when you get stuck and reminding you that you have a strategy.

Business plans can be intimidating, time-consuming, and just altogether sort of boring. That’s why we decided to create a business plan that encapsulated the Virgin ethos of making things better. Our business plan has a simple structure – you just fill it out bit by bit, and there are videos you can watch if you get stuck or need some advice. Anybody can use this business plan and it’s relevant to all businesses, whether or not you’re applying for a loan. However, as a bonus, it doubles up as a Virgin StartUp loan application too.

Here’s why you should make completing a business plan one of your 2016 goals.

It makes things manageable

Having a clear plan with specific goals and objectives is way less scary than the big all-encompassing goal “Start a business”. Breaking your business into smaller pieces that you can tackle individually lets you take one step at a time, and keep things from overwhelming you. Whether it’s sorting out a logo, working out your finances or doing some market research, every bit is a step towards your goal – you don’t have to do it all at once.

It keeps you accountable

With a clear plan of action, you have no excuse not to do it. Seeing your whole business plan set out, and how manageable it suddenly seems, is a big motivation. You’re likely to be working at the same time as starting your business, as well as dealing with other commitments, and it can be really easy to let things fall to the wayside. Having a completed business plan makes it much more tangible.

It avoids problems down the line

It’s understandable to want to rush ahead and get your show on the road. But if you’re winging it as you go along, you’re going to miss things – and these things could be disastrous for your business. Mistakes will happen, and things never seem to work out as you expect. But if you have a business plan you also have a contingency plan and a way to deal with these problems as they arrive.

It forces you to be organised

You can’t be good at everything, and there are naturally parts of your business – whether finances, marketing, or day-to-day admin – that will make you want to rip your hair out, or bore you to tears. The temptation here can be to skim over these things rather than think about them properly. But you need to think about them properly. Doing a business plan requires you to devote time to working these tricky parts out, and in the process improves your skills in this area too.

It helps you stay realistic

Seeing all the figures and time frames laid out in black and white, and working through them,  gives you a better sense of whether your plans, ideas and estimated profits are going to work in real life. It’s tempting to overestimate things, but working with the facts means you’re less likely to get carried away – and more likely to make your business a success.

Get the Virgin StartUp Business plan