To get your business where you want it to go, you need a map to follow,
which is what your business plan is all about. It starts with a description of
your current situation; describes your future plans; defines your opportunities; and details the financial, operational, marketing, and organizational strategies you’ll follow to achieve success.
Take a minute to think of your company as a ship about to set sail on an
ocean voyage. Your business plan defines your destination and the route that
you’ll follow. It details the supplies and crew you have on board as well as
what you still need to acquire. It forecasts the cost of the voyage. It describes
the weather and sea conditions you’re likely to encounter along the way and
anticipates the potential dangers that may lurk over the horizon. Finally, your business plan identifies other ships that may be attempting to beat you to your destination.
The same kind of planning is necessary back on dry land. To navigate a new course for your company, you need to start with an assessment of where
your business is right now — in other words, what current business situation
you want to address or overcome. You need to define where you want to
arrive and what strategies you’ll follow to get there.