When to write a business plan

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. I when to write a business plan entrepreneurs become more successful.

Whether you’re starting or growing your business, you need a business plan. Your plan will provide the roadmap to achieve the success you want. The question shouldn’t be IF you write your plan, but how to write a business plan that will take your company where you want to go. Your business plan is essentially your answers to a comprehensive list of questions. The first and most important question is this: where do you want your business to go? Stated differently, what do you want your business to look like in three, five or even 10 or more years? What level of revenues and profits do you have at that time?

Likewise, your business plan should answer these questions for a shorter time period, particularly one year. That is, what are your business’ goals for the current year, and what must you accomplish to make the year a success. What trends are affecting them and do these trends bode well for your future success? Competitive Analysis: who are your competitors and what are each of their key strengths and weaknesses? In what areas will you have or gain competitive advantage?