Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The necessity of a business plan

First and foremost, I would like to wish everyone, including your loved ones, a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. May this coming year bring you health, joy, happiness and prosperity.

To give you a little background about myself, I am a practicing lawyer, graduate from the Montreal University. My areas of practice revolve around business law, commercial contracts, real estate law, franchising, leasing, family law and immigration. I have worked for several years in the financial industry being exposed to major commercial transactions among Canadian nationals and multi-nationals. Before becoming an attorney, I’ve studied business at the John Molson School of Business where I had the opportunity to learn a great deal about business and entrepreneurship and most importantly meet outstanding professors and fellow students. I am passionate about the field of law and finance and hope that, through my blog postings, I could bring these two fascinating worlds together in clear and simple terms accessible to the general public.

Now that I’ve gone over some of the housekeeping material, I would like to discuss briefly the main subject matter: the necessity of a carefully elaborated business plan for business start-ups. In today’s business and commercial environment, every market player faces tremendous competition and must carefully devise strategies and plans of action to overcome such harsh realities of continuous cut-throat rivalry in each of their respective industries. This is especially true for new entrepreneurs starting a new business having little market visibility, market share and capital resources. For a new company to survive through the launch phase, the entrepreneur must fully understand the nature of the industry, the competition, the target market, consumer behaviour etc. Most importantly, an extensive reflection must be done on his or her own capabilities and limits. This test is more commonly know as the SWOT test (Strengh, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats).

Facing such strict competition, one powerful tool available to an entrepreneur starting a business is a “business plan”. The preparation of a business plan is paramount in the launch of a new business, or to revise or even to remodel an already existing business plan, and must not be overlooked or taken lightly. The entrepreneur must take the time necessary and mobilize the necessary resources in the research, elaboration and preparation of a business plan. This process will allow the entrepreneur to conceptualize in more concrete terms all internal variables of the business model (Strengths and Weaknesses) and all external variables of the business model (Opportunities and Threats), namely perform the SWOT test.

Many tools are available on the Internet and several organizations provide support to those starting a business. I recommend that you fully make use of the facilities available to you in order to avoid any unnecessary hurdles to overcome on the way when they could have been prevented in the first place. An entrepreneur by nature will rather spend more time in what they do best which is the creation of a product or offering of a service and may, as a result, underestimate the value of a business plan. This is one mistake to avoid. One advice that I can give you is that once you have determined that your idea may be commercialized, do not cut corners and neglect the process of researching and writing your business plan, unless there’s a state of necessity whereby time will render your idea obsolete if you do not commercialize immediately.

Some may say that one can write a very fancy business plan but not have the skills and abilities to implement an idea or a concept and that an entrepreneur’s true talent lies in his or her ability to execute and not write. I on the other hand say that a business plan need not be a fancy document, it is the product of a carefully researched and thought out plan of action allowing entrepreneurs to not only sell the idea to themselves and others but to better execute and implement their idea.

If you have any questions in connection herewith, please do not hesitate to share your comments.

Amir Kafshdaran

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

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Vern said...

Friends of ours that have online businesses in general haven't been hit very hard by this whole downturn.

Business plans are necessary, and, though a bit of a pain - will help you in the long run. We created one with the help of a lawyer when we first started.

Starting a business in this economy is possible, and I've been doing my best to help get the word out to people on how to go about it. Starting a new business soon? 5 questions for you, along with the answers of course. Starting a business now is the best time you could start a business - because you're getting started. You're acting... making a decision and acting.

Good luck to you and your law practice... Have a great day! Vern

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Alfred Siliano, esignatures said...

In my opinion, having a business plan is extremely valuable. It will serve as a map showing you where you are today and where you want to go. It gives you focus and knowledge on where you're going.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the good words.