For those who want to start a business, grow a business or need to apply for financing, writing a business plan often feels like going to the dentist. You know it is good for you, but the process feels painful and something you very well want to put off as long as possible.
Business plans get this reaction because in large part they are:
- And not actionable
But business plans really are critical for the successful business owner.
In fact, multiple studies show that owners who create business plans are much more likely to be successful as compared to those who don’t.
For small business owners who wrote a business plan:
- 36% secured a loan vs. 18% of those without a plan
- 64% were able to grow their business, versus only 43% of those without a plan.
Which brings me to my book recommendation…
Hal Shelton has just released a new edition of his best-selling “The Secrets to Writing a Successful Business Plan."
First a word about Hal, whom I’ve had the extreme fortune to work with in many different settings. Hal has an amazing resume as a CFO (the kind who actually “gets” marketing and strategy), a board member (the kind who is helpful and rolls up his sleeves), an angel investor (the kind who is encouraging but practical and honest) and business mentor (the kind who everyone wants). With his resume and knowledge, Hal could easily dole out advice. But Hal approaches each entrepreneur and interaction with humility and openness. He is a great listener who absorbs information, asks insightful questions and then zeroes in on the main issues and next steps.
After helping over 1,000 business owners, Hal decided to write this book to help entrepreneurs he can’t meet in person.
It is clearly organized to get at the real questions a living business plan should answer:
- How will you pay yourself?
- How will you get customers?
- How will you get help?
- How do you find and qualify for financing or investors?
This latest edition now includes:
- The biggest issues for startups in their first 100 days, including setting your compensation, hiring staff and creating marketing programs
- Crowdfunding and the real implications with the new rules from the Securities & Exchange Commission
- The pros and cons of alternative funding solutions, including peer-to-peer lending
- More real-life examples of people putting these tips and advice to use – and succeeding.
- User-friendly worksheets to follow along and write your own plan,