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Writing a business plan is a time-consuming task. As a small business owner, you already have too much on your plate, so it can be difficult to find the time to write it—especially when it comes time to smooth it out enough to share with others.

Your small business plan also requires honest self-assessment, which can be hard to face for some people. That being said, it’s an absolutely vital piece of documentation for the overall success of your small business. In fact, no business owner should be without one.

Here are just some of the myriad scenarios in which writing out a small business plan can be beneficial.

Starting a New Business

For years, you’ve longed to own your own business, to have the freedom to determine your own schedule and pursue your passions without having to answer to anyone. Before you start that business, however, you need a business plan in place: a simple outline that will tell you key facts about your business.

A solid business plan will help you shape your goals for your new business and measure your successes, as well as planning your financial outlook for the coming months and years.

Obtaining a Loan or Securing Funding

When you’re ready to obtain a loan or secure funding from investors—whether it’s time to get a new business off the ground or you’re working on a long-term project—you’ll need to pull out your business plan. Your business plan is the ideal tool for sharing information about your business goals and your potential prospects—not to mention letting investors know whether or not you’re a good risk to take on.

As you create your business plan, you’ll also get a better idea of what funds you really need in order to make your dream successful, which means you’ll be less likely to either ask for too much and overspend or ask for too little and end up short before you reach your goals.

Staying on Track

You’re scaling your business for major growth in the coming months—but in order to do that effectively, you need to understand what your business really needs.

A solid business plan will help you stay on track and ensure that your current actions are aligned with your big-picture goals—not to mention giving you a better idea of exactly what needs to be scaled, from your insurance to your cyber security, in order to effectively manage your business’s growth.

Increasing Your Marketing

Many small businesses find that a time comes when they need to get more serious about their marketing efforts. As you create your business plan, you’ll discover plenty of information that’s invaluable to your marketing team: your real target audience, your specific buyer personas, and the goods and services that you need to highlight in order for your business to be successful.

Your business plan will also give you a better idea of where to find your customers in order to market more effectively and give you a window into the budget you have available for marketing.

Just Do It!

Your small business plan has value for what it is, but the greatest value is in the act of creating the plan. As you write your business plan, you’ll evaluate your business, get to know more about your market, and deepen your understanding of your own goals—all of which can help you more effectively scale your efforts to reflect your real aspirations, rather than heading off down a rabbit trail or getting caught up in the minutia of daily business operations.