The "Back of a Napkin" Plan: It is the source of entrepreneurial legend and lore, the million_dollar idea that was hurriedly scribbled on a bar napkin. Yet, for most potential business owners this option for business planning remains a fantasy. However, like any myth there is a tiny grain of truth inside. A quickie business outline can work as a launch plan under the right circumstances. If you need to get going quickly to ride the wave of a fad before it fizzles, then fast, bare_bones planning may be all you've got time to execute. This works best when you've already got the infrastructure in place, perhaps from previous projects or an established business, and you can simply shift energy and resources to the new idea. When you, and your partners if any, have all the core skills and industry knowledge you need to start right away without seeking experts, napkin notes may be enough to get going. Let's say you are already an expert in technology and social media. Then you, and your team, probably don't need a detailed plan to start developing a new app. You will draw on your knowledge and experience, and you understand that you might need to go back and do some more detailed and formal planning later. Certainly when you reach the point where you are looking for investors or lenders, you will move beyond those first casual notes. Until then, drawing upon your expertise can allow you to quickly jump into the market and perhaps gain a competitive edge by using a minimalist plan.
A business plan is simply a plan of what your goals are for the business, and how you plan to go about accomplishing them. Some people refer to it as a vision for your business. I like to refer to it as a blue print or a road map to accomplishing your goals. Your plan should be spelled out in clear and defining terms and be kept simple. It should be a written document and used as a tool in managing the business. A plan should include but is not limited to the following: 1. A statement of your business purpose 2. A description of your company 3. The goals of your company 4. The structure of the company (sole_proprietorship, partnership or corporation) 5. The product or service that you are selling 6. A market analysis of your product or service 7. Resources spent (time and money) 8. A financial plan to include financial statements 9. Information about the managing principals in the company 10. How you plan to manage and operate the company