If your business is not-for-profit, what is the point of having a business plan? This is a question (or complaint!) we hear a lot. Perhaps as a non-profit, you are obliged to have a business plan, whether it be to apply for funds or as a requirement from your stakeholders. But try not to think of it as an obligation that you ‘have’ to do. Having a business plan can be a legitimately useful tool for running a business – whether that business is for-profit or otherwise.
Here are some common arguments against writing a business plan, and our reasons why you should:
I don’t have time to write a business plan.
No? Or do you just feel that it’s not important enough to make time for? A well-thought-out business plan will ultimately save you time (and money) by preventing you from going off in the wrong direction and laying out a roadmap to help you achieve your goals. It really is worth investing a bit of time on. Also, a business plan needn’t be very long, so there’s no reason why it should take a long time to write one.
Nobody will read it anyway.
You might be surprised. Those who need to know the information contained in your business plan will be reading it. Stakeholders, donors and other interested parties may also read it. And any employees your organisation has should be reading it because it’s useful for all staff, regardless of their level within your business, to be aware of your goals, targets and plans.
I don’t know how to write a business plan or where to begin.
As mentioned above, a business plan doesn’t need to be very long, or complicated. In fact, a popular model, the Lean Canvas, has your entire business plan on just one page. It’s very achievable, even for someone who has never written one before. There are also a lot of free resources online you can turn to for help.
Alternatively, if you need some help writing a business plan that is practical and actually works for your non-profit, get in touch for a quote!