Having completed the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from Purdue, I feel like I have some insight into what it takes to start a business. By no means am I saying I know what it is like, as I have not done so myself. Working in this entrepreneurial fellowship has given me an inside look at some high growth start-ups, including the one in which I work. I have gained exposure to the experiences of some real entrepreneurs my age, as well.
A professor I had for an entrepreneurship class stated very simply the importance of a business plan when he said, “If you take the time to write a business plan thoroughly, you are already way ahead of the countless idiots that are trying to start a business.” In 4 years of undergrad business and entrepreneurship classes, I had written over 5 business plans for different fake start-ups. I can’t emphasize enough how much they assist in the preparation of the details we never even think about.
When you have what you think is a mind-blowing, earth shattering, whale of an idea for a business, the last thing that crosses your mind is how you get out of that business. It wasn’t until I wrote my first business plan that this concept materialized. It seems like a “dark” thing to think about, but having a well thought out exit strategy will come in handy not only if the business fails, but if another mind-blowing, earth shattering, whale of an idea comes to mind, and you need to now focus your energies there. This is just one example of a detail that a business plan will force you to think about.
So what am I getting at? Business is a lot more complicated that most people that go into it realize. There are all sorts of administrative and legal considerations that never cross your mind until they present a obstacle. Unfortunately for a lot of business owners, this point in time also represents a critical failure from which recovery of the business has slim hopes. A business plan helps to hedge against some of these unforeseen circumstances. If starting your own business is among your list of career opportunities, don’t even try to do it without writing a business plan first!