I have often said that if you don't have a business plan, you don't have a plan for your business. The commonly quoted statistic is that half of all new businesses fail in the first year and as I embarked upon my own tour into the world of self-employment, the notion that I wouldn't be able to make a go of it and would have to give up after only one year really brought me up short. Like a lot of potential new business owners, I did a lot of research as I was preparing for my new venture and I kept coming back to the same recommendation - a Business Plan was an essential component of any well-run business and it might be just what new business start-ups need to get them past those first rocky years towards long-term success. Moreover, if you are a potential business owner who is intending to apply for any type of financing, it is a mandatory requirement of all traditional lenders like banks as well as venture capitalists.

If there is any doubt in your mind about whether or not you need a Business Plan, I highly recommend doing your own research and I believe that you will discover what I did. A Business Plan is a vital component of any well-run company and if you started your company without one, you need to find the time now, right now, to get one written. You may be thinking to yourself that you are so busy just getting things moving, finding new clients, keeping current clients happy, earning enough income to pay the bills, and keeping all the plates spinning, that you just can't possibly find the time to sit and write a Business Plan. But you must or you will likely find yourself dropping those plates one by one in the coming months or years and, sooner rather than later, you may find yourself dusting off your resume and joining the ranks of those looking for jobs.

This article will feature information on what a Business Plan is (and isn't), why you should have one, the commonly accepted components of a Business Plan, and some ideas and techniques to get you on your way to writing your own company's Business Plan. In addition, it will also look into strategic planning not only as an essential component of starting and running a business, but as an excellent means to tease out the starting points for your new business and help you to target your market niche and perhaps even determine if your venture is doomed to fail and needs to be scrapped before you begin.

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