Harvard Business School Business Plan Template

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“One area in which business plans often fail is in the accuracy of assessing the weaknesses and threats of the plan,” says Boyer.

“It's often what you don't know or didn't consider that can doom a plan.” For example, he points out that while having a correct understanding of the current regulatory environment is important, it’s not as important as the potential impact of pending regulations being considered for the future.

Even if you end up enlisting the help of a professional business consultant, you’ll still need to be closely involved in the planning and writing process, so here are some of the most important ways a business plan can help you succeed.

You probably already know who you’ll be targeting with your product or service, but without a business plan you won’t fully understand how you fit into the market, what your priorities should be and the challenges you might face.

Starting a new business is always a bit of a gamble, of course, but during the planning stage it’s better to be realistic than optimistic.

“In my experience, the single largest reason a business plan fails is that those creating the plan under-calculate the time and cost that will be required for the plan to break-even,” says Boyer.Having a business plan will put everyone on the same page and prevent any misunderstandings early on.A well-written business plan will provide your business with the structure it needs to run smoothly by laying out what your priorities should be and the actions you’ll need to take.Determining your goals and objectives will point your business in the right direction.Goals tell you where you want to take your business and objectives show you how to get there, so in order to determine your objectives, you’ll first need to decide on your goals.So how much detail you should include in your business plan may depend on your reasons for writing it.Here are some of the initial steps to take when writing your business plan.A business plan can have a number of different purposes, so before you begin writing and researching, you should know why you’re writing it and what you hope to accomplish with it.“The challenge for most business plans is to clearly and specifically identify what the plan's purpose is and what it is not,” says Boyer.For instance, if one of your goals is to have a certain number of new clients or customers by the end of the year, your objectives might include creating a customer referral program, revamping your website and blog, or hosting an online competition to gain a greater following on social media.If you want your business to succeed, it’s important to take the time to identify not only its potential and strengths, but its weaknesses too.

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