I teach that you should seek to learn from competitors; obviously never copy another business's idea or what they are doing, but you can absolutely learn from their mistakes or see what they are doing and discover ways to improve it. All of that analysis belongs in your business plan: make sure you have your competitors under the microscope and make sure that is a solid chunk of your plan. That is some of the best research and information you will gather about what will make your business successful in future.
The reality is no matter how much you work with things in your head, no matter how confident you may be and how much you think you already have a great vision for your business, there are so many great reasons why you should get it down on paper.
The business plan serves several purposes: Enables the entrepreneur to think through the business in a logical and structured way and to set out the stage in the achievement of the business objectives ; Enables the entrepreneur to plot progress against the plan ; Ensures that the resources needed to carry out the strategy and the times when they are required are both identified ; Preparing the business plan ensures that the entrepreneur has thought through the crucial aspects of the venture ; It is a means for making all employees aware of the business direction ; It is an important document for discussion with prospective investors and lenders of finance ; It links into the derailed, short-term, one-year budget.
A business that makes sense and is going to be sustainable in the future is one that has that clear vision within which all the smaller parts contribute to make it successful.
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