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Elements of a Successful Business Plan

Share Your Story: The Business Plan: A Relic or a Necessity for Today's Entrepreneur?

By Akira Hirai

Name, title, company, website

Akira Hirai, Managing Director, Cayenne Consulting, LLC

Describe your business

We help entrepreneurs build successful ventures.

Do you have a written business plan?

Yes, but it's written for internal use, not for an external audience.

If you have a business plan, do you refer to it often?

Weekly, in one way or another. For example, our competitive positioning and value proposition portions of our business plan are embedded in our marketing collateral and website. We review these materials regularly to ensure that our message is clear and consistent. As another example, we review and update cash flow projections at least monthly. Finally, we are continuously reviewing our service offerings to ensure that we are serving our customers as well as we possibly can. These are all elements of a solid business plan, even though they don't all reside in a single centralized document.

Advice

A formal written business plan, whether in traditional "narrative" form or in the form of a pitch deck, is generally only needed if you are approaching a third party (e.g., certain investors, lenders, strategic partners, or potential buyers) who specifically request it.

Mitchell York, About.com Entrepreneurs, says:

The author offers some very useful articles on the subject of entrepreneurship and business planning.

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