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Making a plan

Do I need a business plan?

Maybe you own a trendy cake shop, and are looking to build your first website. Or maybe you have an awesome idea for a new mobile app. If your goal is to start or grow a business, you’ve likely been advised to write a business plan.

Challenges of writing a business plan

A business plan can take a long time to create and can lead to over-planning, distracting you from focussing on today, this week and next month.

[Tweet “The idea is only 5 percent of it – and the other 95 percent is about working your ass off.”]

Our advice

  1. Put a hard limit on the length of your plan – we’d recommend a single page snapshot.
  2. Start your plan today – dedicate 20 minutes to create version 1 of your plan.
  3. Review and refine your plan periodically.

What to include

Although you’ll likely tweak these answers as your business progresses, the great thing about keeping things short is that it’s easier to keep your plan relevant. A detailed, multi-page business plan is too laborious to maintain as your business evolves.

  • What problem does your business solve?
  • How is that problem currently being solved? List of competitors
  • What differentiates you from your competitors? Outline your USP
  • How will you measure success? List of key metrics
  • Who are your potential customers? Outline of target market
  • How will potential customers find you? Outline customer journeys
  • How will the business make money? List outgoings and revenue streams

Sometimes super successful businesses seem like they came from nowhere, giving the impression that success was instant. However, in most cases, there was often years of hard graft before the success arrived.

Enjoy your day 😊

Karsten Rowe signature.

Published by Karsten Rowe

Karsten is a product design manager, with over 15 years of industry history. Based in San Francisco. Focused on teams, UI, UX, and design systems.

2 thoughts on “Making a plan

  1. A valid point. However, I think you are jumping ahead a few steps. The process of writing down how the business works is valuable – you need to understand what you are pitching and gage who your prospective customers are before you know what a prototype looks like.

  2. Skip the plan and talk to as many prospective customers as you can. Refine the problem, build a prototype, and learn from those prospective customers. Don’t be afraid to charge them for your prototype. Learning quickly is your most valuable asset in the early days.

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