What Are Good Ways to Turn a Business Idea Into a Business Plan? 1

This is my answer to a Quora question, What are good ways to turn a business idea into a business plan?:

Think of a business plan as a collection of interconnected modules. There’s strategy, market, milestones, tasks, measurement, review schedule, projected sales, costs, expenses … some people like verbiage, some prefer just the core concrete specifics.

Start anywhere you like, whether it’s the sales forecast (my personal favorite) or something more fuzzy like mission or vision, and jump around through different modules … your business plan will always be a work in progress, never something finished, so don’t stop time to develop it, develop it now and then forever. And if you’re more comfortable with numbers, do some of the key numbers first. Or, if you’re more comfortable with concepts, think about describing your core strategy, mission, vision, and so on first. Just get going.

You can find a lot of Q & A here in Quora about what to include, how to do it, and there are a lot of different opinions. That’s a reflection of truth, because the phrase “business plans” means a lot of different things to different people.

I urge you to think of it as a plan, as in what’s going to happen, and why, and who, and how much, rather than as a document. It lives on your computer. And the document, speech, slide deck, or whatever else you use to describe it isn’t the plan, it’s the output of the plan. It’s a snapshot of what the plan was on the day that you did that particular output.

View answer on Quora

About the Author Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry. Follow Tim on Google+ Read more »

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