Saying a business plan is not just valuable, but a necessity, is sometimes hard to grasp. All too often, people assume they can slap together an idea, call it a business plan and that be good enough. In reality, business plans are viewed as essential. To help drive that point home, there are literally hundreds of competitions, both large and small, each year in the US alone which are focused solely on business plans. Some even hand out cash prizes, one that totals a staggering $100,000! How is that for valuable?
Business plan competitions are held by universities, government agencies, townships, cities, states, business organizations – nearly any type of business oriented organization you can think of! They are not only looking for a clean plan that covers all of the major components of a solid plan, but good copy, accurate information, a sleek layout and something innovative. It may seem easy, but when big money, internships and even scholarships are on the line, there is nothing easy about it.
If you still have any doubt as to the value of a business plan, ask yourself this – Why would MIT offer $100,000 in their competition? Why would Harvard, Stanford, the State of Wisconsin, and the Enterprise Center all have business plan competitions that draw in hundreds and even thousand of entries? Why would the Rice business plan competition award over $1 million in cash and prizes?
The answer is actually very simple – a business plan is essential. Without a business plan there is no direction. With no direction there is no hope of financing. Without financing there is no expansion. Conducting business without a business plan is like treading water – at best. Because competition for funds and market shares will always be tough, having the best business plan will always be a goal and a key to success.