The "Accidental Entrepreneur" Plan: Believe it or not, it happens quite often. An impulse, a hobby, or a passing notion turns into a business without warning. One day you're handing your extra back_yard tomatoes or homemade cake to the neighbors, and before you know it you're filling out the forms for a booth at the local farmer's market. Perhaps you create a unique bit of hand_crafted jewelry and wear it to school or work, and then find your phone flooded with messages like, "Where can I get one?" and "I'll pay you to make one for me." When you're writing a business plan in a situation like these, you need to address a few issues the intentional entrepreneur has already pondered. The first is do you really want this idea to become a full_blown business? Certainly it's flattering when you realize there's a market value for something you were doing anyway, but that doesn't always mean you should launch a business. A lot of accidental businesses form around fads or seasonal items, and may not be robust enough to function as year_round, money_making, enterprises. Next you will need to carefully examine what actually goes into your offering. How many hours does it take to create those one_of_a_kind bracelets? How much does it cost to bake a dozen of your special recipe cookies? How much research goes into "whipping up" a website? Making tangible goods requires space. Do you have room to grow enough squash to actually generate profits? Are these numbers you could sustain beyond the occasional personal or family use of your product or service? The business planning process can be very helpful to "accidental entrepreneurs" as it allows you to decide which ideas are best left as hobbies and which ones could provide some real cash flow.
So, why is business planning so crucial? In a word, it provides "clarity". Investing time to develop a plan provides precise clarification of the company vision to both employees and customers. In addition, it provides a mechanism to gauge the results of the business and provides the foundation for future growth plans. In the long haul, it enhances the company valuation through fiscal responsibility, which provides the story of opportunity to any future investor or employee. In short, the benefits of planning allow the company to articulate a common vision to align resources and make an efficient use of investment dollars. A company that is perceived to be a "well_oiled machine" is attractive on many fronts _ both externally with investors and internally with employees through job satisfaction and increased tenure.