Business Plans are a Distraction _ Depending on what sort of business plan you're writing it could take from a day to a week to write. That's valuable time you could be spending actually creating and trying out your business. I'm all for knowing exactly what you want from your business and creating one which supports the lifestyle you want. But let's not be getting goals and plans mixed up here. You should definitely have goals, and you should definitely be tracking your progress against them. However kidding yourself that you know at the very beginning exactly how you're going to achieve them isn't going to help, because you can't possibly know without experimenting first. Allow yourself to be flexible, experiment and work out what takes you to your goals the faster. That's a much better use of your time than writing a rigid plan that'll be out of date a week after you wrote it. I know my views on this might be a little controversial but I feel it's only right that I share my thoughts with you. The time you save by not writing a lengthly plan will allow you to concentrate on more important things, like making your business actually happen. Now my guess is, if there's one thing that's been annoying you the most as you read this it's probably that if your business needs external funding then you do need a business plan. I agree, if you have no choice then you have to create on, that's obvious. If this is the case for you then write whatever your potential investors want to hear, as long as it sounds realistic. Don't spend forever on it though because when your funding's in the bag you should put you business plan in your bottom draw and start the real work, figuring out what actually works and doing more of that.
A plan like this would show you how much sales your business would need to do, what your fixed and variable expenses would be, what your material cost, labor cost and profit would need to be to provide the income and profit margin you want. You can see pretty quickly if it's possible for you to get your business to that level. I don't know of any better way than to have your business give you the income and profit you want. What's neat is you can determine what you want your income to be and your profit to be over the next few years and develop a plan that can show you exactly what your business would need to do to give you that income and profit. And with just a little more data you can actually determine how many customers you would need for each year you plan for and how many leads you would need. From that you can actually determine what size market you would need and whether your market is big enough to supply those leads that could be converted into customers.