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6 Easy Steps to a Simple Practical Business Plan

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6 Easy Steps to a Simple Practical Business Plan

By Tim Berry, Guest Blogger
Published: May 26, 2010

So you wonder whether you want a business plan for your business. You've heard that business plans are about raising money, perhaps, and it sounds like it might be hard to do. You don't have that MBA degree or CPA certification. So thank goodness, you don't need it. What a relief.

Here's my suggestion:

  1. Take some time to think about your business strategy. Think about what's unique about you, what you do best, and what you like to do. Think about what others want you do do. Then think about whom you want to sell to and what types of people. And apply strategic focus; think about what you're not doing. Remember, you can't do everything. Strategy is focus. Write it down, for yourself, as simple bullet points. Do just enough to help you remember. Leave it on your computer.
  2. Promise yourself you're going to have a review every month. Set the day for the review ahead of time.
  3. List your important assumptions.
  4. List important dates and deadlines; what is supposed to happen when. Consider your strategy as the long-term goals and directions, and these are steps to make that happen. Make a list you can manage, short and sweet, of key dates. Make sure you know who is responsible for each deadline.
  5. Do a sales forecast. Break it down into some meaningful units, even if they're like hours or days or trips for a service business, and average price and average cost per unit. Do it for 12 months.
  6. Do an expense budget. Include payroll, and include your own value, even if you're just taking a draw on profits.

    Now that didn't take long, did it? Now you have a business plan. Be true to your promise to yourself and keep the schedule to review planned vs. actual results every month, and then you have a planning process.

    And suddenly, without that much effort, you're managing your business better and controlling your own destiny. And see: it wasn't that hard.

    About the Author:

    Tim Berry
    Tim Berry

    Guest Blogger

    Founder and Chairman of Palo Alto Software and, on twitter as Timberry, blogging at His collected posts are at Stanford MBA. Married 46 years, father of 5. Author of business plan software Business Plan Pro and and books including his latest, 'Lean Business Planning,' 2015, Motivational Press. Contents of that book are available for web browsing free at .


    Helpful with advice like this. University now not important, important is their ability
    Hello, I am trying to do a business plan for a start up Assisted Living Care that only holds 5 to 6 residents. This plan is a project for school. Does anyone have any ideas? I need to get started and it is due soon. Since it is a start up, I am trying to look at small businesses such as the ones done at owner's home to get ideas. It seems overwhelming.
    Tim, this is a great short article, but what exactly do you mean by "important assumptions"? How much consideration do you give to consultants and how their services overlap your software?
    Its really very nice and informative post. its must read before start planing of new business because in this article all the thing like time, budget, own value, profit and many other are covered.
    Thank you So much this helped me more then you know. and I appricate it.
    Those are indeed excellent tips. Starting a business is a lot of fun, but it certainly comes with risk. Thank you for taking your time to share these tips.
    Thanks for sharing the experience
    Very good article, many thanks
    The tips are very good to try. Yes, I think a college degree is not essential to start a business, such as Robert Kiyosaki quote "People are always looking for great opportunities, the poor are always looking for a job" those words makes me think that the business was such a fun game, but it should play it seriously.
    This post was edited to remove a commercial link. Read our discussion policies for more Community best practices. Free Ringtones For Virgin Mobile


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