No. We cannot provide guidance if you are starting a franchise because the franchise company will have a training program specifically designed for their business.
This depends on the type of business you’re starting.
Investors are usually looking for a business that will grow very fast so they can get a return on their investment. Investors are usually looking for a 1000% return on their money. That is, they want their return to be ten times the money they put in.
Lenders want to have confidence that you can do what you say you can do. Thus, your plan must be practically watertight. You must know your market research, have a good marketing plan, have financial projections that make sense, and a product or service the lender believes customers will buy.
A partnership is as intimate as a marriage. It can be a good marriage or a bad one depending entirely on who you choose. Veterans are especially vulnerable to mistakes in choosing partners because we might trust each other more than is warranted. Do not think that because you’d trust a buddy in battle you can also work with them in business. Those are totally different arenas, no matter how many business books you read that talk about business as war. Business is not a war. Keep that in mind when choosing a partner.
Financial projections are predictions of your business’s financial performance: how much you’ll make in sales, how much your costs will be, and how much your expenses will be. (There is a difference between costs and expenses but the difference is not important at this stage.)
They are a necessary part of your planning. And your projections must be based on the market research you do.
There are two basic projections you must have: cash flow projection and income projection. (Some people call the income projection a profit & loss projection.)
If you are trying to raise money from lenders or investors, then you will definitely need a plan. No person or institution will give you money unless they have confidence you can repay them. It’s that simple. The plan is how you convince them that you can do what you say you can do.
But a better answer is when you were in the military you had a plan for important operations. You called it an “op order” or an “ops plan”. And the reason is obvious. It increases the chance of the operation succeeding. A business plan is an op order for your business and it’s meant to prepare you for different contingencies and situations.
The short answer is “not necessarily.”
Some entrepreneurs start “cottage” businesses without a business plan. Many states have laws allowing you to run a small business from home without getting special zoning permits. This is very popular for food businesses, like baking and catering.
Other small businesses get started by selling at craft markets or farmers’ markets. These are low-cost ways for you to test-market your product. To do this you don’t need a full business plan. But…if you are successful and you wish to get more money to open a physical location or buy more inventory or anything else, you will need a business plan as explained in the previous question.