Over the past 8.5 years that I have worked for Palo Alto Software in technical support, I have coached thousands of our customers on the importance of a business plan. Explaining how it can help create a road map for your business as well as assisting you with sustaining a positive cash flow, a basic of business planning.

Lately, I have been thinking of starting up a small home based business of my own. Something to do in my spare time for a little extra cash.  Even after eight plus years of encouraging others to start one, I didn’t even think of creating a business plan.

I was making the same mistake that a lot of the people I have talked with over the years had been making. I was trying to rush to the finished product before I had even gotten started with some of the fundamentals. Things like- what my start-up costs really were or who I was going to purchase my raw materials from to get the best price. I didn’t even have a simple mission statement (Something that defines what my company wants to do).  I was too busy worrying about things like turning my spare bedroom into a mini-warehouse and setting up my website. Things I would need to do, but not before I had a better idea if the idea was sustainable.

This isn’t really a plug for our software, Business Plan Pro (even though I will be using it), but rather a reminder.

Start by defining what your end goal is and put together a road map of how you plan to get there before you waste time and money going in endless circles.

Curt Barnes
Systems Administrator
Palo Alto Software

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Curt Barnes
Curt Barnes

Curt is the Systems Administrator for Palo Alto Software in Eugene, OR. You can follow him on Google+.