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One of the most vital (yet often dismissed) building blocks of a successful business is planning. The market is rife with examples of businesses failing from a lack of adequate planning and prelaunch preparation.
The planning process becomes even more paramount if you’re raising capital or taking on significant risk (such as bootstrapping a venture yourself or leaving a full-time job). Planning is vital, and here’s why:
1. To avoid mistakes: Planning helps ensure you’re going down the right path. Ask yourself these questions: Do you have enough capital? Do you have employees and partners with the right skills? What is a realistic time frame for when you will be able to sell your product or service and generate revenue? Addressing these issues in the early stages will save you precious time and money.
2. To make sure everyone’s heading in the same direction: You’re probably not building a company by yourself. You’ll have staff, partners and advisers involved — and a plan helps get everyone involved on the same page.
3. To develop a game plan: At a startup, execution is everything. During the planning process you’ll need to set priorities, establish goals, determine resources required and measure performance.
4. To raise capital: Investors need to see a business plan before they decide whether they will invest or not. Like investors, lenders will want to see a business plan too.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail,” said popular time management author Alan Lakein. For more information, visit www.trinet.com/startups.