Planning For Success in a New Business

Any would be business operator is usually exhorted on the various discussion lists to “do a business plan.”
I have sometimes joined that exhortation but when I was called on to write a book on retailing I told my co-author “I’ve never had a business plan.”
He then took me through how I had started a couple of businesses, and managed to justify his own “always have a business plan” position. He claimed I had had quite a detailed plan in each instance — it was just that I had not written it down! So, as a writer, the one thing I have never written down, is my plan for success. Fortunately, more of those businesses have gone according to plan than those which have not.
You will need a formal plan if you are going to borrow money. However, even then a business plan can be drawn up on the back of an envelope.
A nice restaurant I used to go to had paper tablecloths and marker pens in a glass on every table because the owner said her original business plan was drawn up over a meal in another restaurant and she had to appeal to the manager of that restaurant for some paper to write it down.
What is often overlooked, whether you write down your plan or not, is to include, in advance, what you will consider to be failure. (“I will have failed if I do not publish two books in the first six months, sell 1000 copies or not be within a few hundred dollars of breaking even in the second six months”).
Too many people struggle on because they attempt to justify the changed circumstances.
There’s no reason why a “business” plan can’t be that within 12 months “I will have published Uncle Joe’s memoir, sold 20 copies and he’d added me to his will”.
You could probably carry that one in your head.