Developing a business plan is hard work and at times a daunting task for business owners. However, business planning can help move any company or small business forward. "Why write a business plan?" you may ask. There are many reasons why writing a business plan is essential to any owner. “All businesses should have a business plan because this allows entrepreneurs to brainstorm ideas that they would like to implement and how to accomplish them,” says Scott Pietreface, owner of the Fumatore di Sigaro Premier Lounge and Cigar Shoppe in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. 

Think of a business plan as a blueprint for a home. What can help keep the house up and steady? What makes a blueprint for a house successful? As for businesses, what can help a business stay steady and up and running? Also, how can a business increase profit? What can help make a business a successful one? The answer is preparation and the development of a business plan. Business plans are excellent tools for communicating the company’s vision, mission and goals to investors, customers and even employees. Also, writing a business plan will improve a business's chance of success by guaranteeing that owners pay attention to financial details, such as budgeting. Rieva Lesonsky, author of "A Business Plan Doubles Your Chances for Success," points to the findings of a recent survey: “The study indicated that the type of entrepreneur who completes a business plan is more likely to run a successful business.”

Pietreface spent 2½ years developing a thorough business plan. “I always had a vision of what I wanted the business to look like, but didn’t know how to get there,” he said. The business plan laid everything out for Pietreface, as it has done for many other business entrepreneurs.

With every company comes a competitor, and establishing a business plan provides business owners with strategies to differentiate their products. This allows them to better market their business to customers more effectively than the competitor. Also, business planning is a critical time process because it allows entrepreneurs to test “what-if” situations and create backup plans just in case the first plan turns out a little differently than expected. The plan shows a business’s strengths and weaknesses, forcing entrepreneurs to create a timeline of events that must happen. Also, plans can help provide organizational tactics for business owners and help entrepreneurs survive over time.

“Fail to plan, then you plan to fail,” Pietreface concludes.

Your area Missouri SBDC can help answer questions, offers training and one-on-one appointments; reach out to a location near you.

The Missouri SBDC is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

Elaine Quitos contributed to this article.