Do I need a business plan?

Yes…every small business owner and entrepreneur should have a business plan

At Pathway WBC, we help entrepreneurs at every stage of business achieve success. From those who have just an inkling of an idea to established owners looking to hit the $1 million mark in revenue, we see a common trait among the most successful entrepreneurs: a solid plan.

Let’s take a look at why every entrepreneur needs their own solid (but flexible) business plan.

A clear business plan will help you:

  • Fully understand why your business exists and how it functions
  • Explain your business to customers and investors
  • Strategically plan for growth through funding or hiring
  • Ensure profitability through understanding goals, pricing and distribution
  • Market your message more clearly to potential customers

However, a business plan also serves your business in many more less obvious ways. A business plan will help you set specific objectives for you and your team, will help you share strategy and decide if you need to hire, and even guide whether to lease or buy a space or purchase assets.

a goal without a plan is just a wishBecause business ideas evolve and change, your business should be a live document, regularly revisited and revised. This is exactly the reason we use the business planning software “LivePlan” in our Embark Cohort and the “Lean Canvas” worksheet in our Discover Cohort.

LivePlan software enables entrepreneurs like you to keep their road map in front of them, manage the future and support the decisions every business owner must make. Most importantly, a clear but flexible business plan will help you manage your cash flow (the number one reason businesses struggle or fail). Many businesses fail, not because they are unprofitable, but because they ultimately become unable to pay their debts when they are due. As part of your Embark Cohort membership, you get a 6 month subscription to LivePlan, so your work stays with you after you graduate!

The Lean Canvas document helps entrepreneurs clarify their idea, investigate their target audience, and explore revenue streams. In the Discover Cohort, members will complete the worksheet together over seven weeks and conduct market research to outline steps to start their business.

The Embark Cohort is seven weeks long and classes are on Thursday nights from 6pm-8pm. The Embark Cohort is great for those ready to launch or already in business who need structure and help with projections and financials. Here are the dates for the Embark Cohort for 2017:

  • Embark 1: COMPLETE – meet the Embark 1 Graduates in this blog post
  • Embark 2: IN PROGRESS – Thursday, April 6 through Thursday, May 11
  • Embark 3: Thursday, June 15 through Thursday, July 27 (skips week of July 4)
  • Embark 4: Thursday, September 7 through Thursday, October 19
  • Embark 5: Thursday, November 2 through Thursday, December 14 (skips week of Thanksgiving)

The Discover Cohort is also seven weeks long, but classes are on Monday nights from 6pm-8pm. The Discover Cohort is great for those new to owning their own business who have an idea, but want to learn business financial fundamentals and explore their target market to test their idea. Here are the dates for the Discover Cohort for 2017:

  • Discover 1: IN PROGRESS- Monday, March 27 through Monday, May 8
  • Discover 2: Monday, June 12 through Monday, July 31 (skips week of July 4)
  • Discover 3: Monday, September 4 through Monday, October 16
  • Discover 4: Monday, November 6 through Monday, December 18

Learn more about all our cohort levels on our membership page or take our short quiz to see which cohort level is right for you.

Ready to apply for a Pathway Cohort? Email Tara Houston to join or come to our next Blue Sky workshop for just $5!