I am sure you have heard the debate- Is writing a business plan really necessary? Is a one-page business plan all you need? Maybe it is because of this lesson I saw my parents learn or my innate desire to go into situations with as much information as possible, but I think no matter what you are trying to accomplish- any new business venture or business expansion should most definitely write a business plan. If for nothing else, for your own information and the time saving benefits it will produce.
I come from an entrepreneurial background. My parents ran a food distribution company, called Frank’s Fresh Foods, out of our house for over 20 years. They enjoyed a lot of success in those years and had many wins with their business. Ultimately, however, the end came when my parents had to make the hard decision to declare bankruptcy and close the doors.
Neither of my parents were formally trained in business and “back-in-the-day” entrepreneurs did not have all the great resources that we have such as Pacific Community Ventures (which helps businesses with volunteer advisors) or Oakland Business Development Center (which provides loans and follow-up support services to small local businesses) or 9 Week Business Plan Workshop (which helps support entrepreneurs to create their own business plan for any stage of their business).
My parents simply went with their intuition and guessed about what their business needed to grow. I think the intuition thing would have been fine but a few years before they declared bankruptcy they had decided it was time to expand and opened a warehouse in San Francisco where they took on an additional rent, more employees and all the additional strain of having to be in several places at once.
This is the point where it would have been incredibly helpful to have taken some time and written a business plan. This would have been the point where, had they slowed down and used some realistic numbers, they would have most likely seen that it simply was not feasible to maintain profitability if they expanded. Or perhaps they would have discovered in the process that if they changed their business model or decided to focus more on a higher-margin product that they could have kept their doors open.
At MeetGeraldine, in addition to the business plan workshops, we also offer brand and business strategy sessions which can also help our clients to hone in on goals and strategies.
Contact us today to set up a complimentary 45 minute consultation and see how we can support you in smart growth!