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To Give Your Business the Best Chance of Success: Write a Business Plan

A business plan is an important strategic tool every entrepreneur should have in their arsenal. A good business plan not only helps you (the entrepreneur) focus on the specific steps necessary to make your business idea succeed, but a business plan also helps you achieve (and measure) both short-term and long-term objectives.

Take for example building a house as compared to starting a business.

If you wanted to build a house, you wouldn’t walk over to an empty lot and just start nailing boards together. Starting a business without a business plan is just as risky.

Yet, unlike a house, a business isn’t built to be static.

We often make the mistake of thinking of a business plan as a single static document that you write when you’re first starting the business and then set aside; something to check off the to-do list and be done with.

But in actuality, the business plan is so much more valuable than you might know! As the business changes over time and develops, you may want or need to have multiple business plans depending on the direction the business is taking.

During the growth or expansion phase of a business, a well-written and completed business plan is critical for forecasting revenues or raising additional capital.

And, if you decide to sell or close your business, a professional business plan can be a plus as it will transfer strategies and timelines to new ownership or provide direction for dissolution of the company.

Writing a business plan is time consuming, but it’s essential if you want to have a successful business that’s going to survive past the three-year mark.

The process of writing a business plan really can help you to objectively clarify where your business is going. Writing a business plan also will help ensure that you pay attention to the broad operational and financial objectives of your business. The process ultimately will assist you in making a smoother business startup transition with fewer unforeseen problems.

The exercises of budgeting and market planning will help you define your target market, your unique selling proposition, optimum pricing strategies, and outline how you intend to sell and deliver your products to customers. In addition, your budget for implementation will assist in determining your startup and operating capital requirements.

Whether you’re starting a small business or exploring ways to expand an existing one, your business plan is the number 1 most important tool to help guide you in your decisions. Let it be your roadmap to success.

For more information on writing a business plan, download this Business Plan Template from SCORE.

Sponsored by the City of South Haven, South Haven Chamber of Commerce, and Lake Michigan College.

Congratulations to Gregory Shelton of Grand Unique Laundry for receiving his first loan through Northern Initiatives. With help from his SCORE mentor, Cheri Bales, Gregory did a fantastic job on developing his business plan and showing real entrepreneurial spirit. We wish you much success, and look forward to your upward movement. You are a wonderful role model.

—Gregory Shelton of Grand Unique Laundry

I appreciate your ears for listening, your eyes that see my vision and your heart that makes you who you are.  I thank you for your time. You are making a difference.

—Shawntel Lindsey, Director, The Artbor Community Connections Center

The WMed Innovation Center is a perfect environment for innovation to grow and become a successful commercial enterprise.


WMU Business Connection logo

Whether you are seeking a research partner or want to enlist the help of student groups in developing business plans, or just looking for ways to engage with WMU, the Business Connection office can find the resource to help move your business forward.


A loan (from Local Initiatives Support Corporation) helped expand our cafe to triple our seating, add a kids space, increase much needed staff work areas, and make other improvements to the space.


MEL logo

The Michigan eLibrary (MeL) is the State of Michigan’s digital library. It has excellent resources available to Michigan residents at no cost.


Western Michigan University’s Starting Gate helped me take an idea and transform it into a much more attainable reality. Whether providing talks with investors and business owners or accountability, the ultimate goal is helping your business succeed.

—Peter Shutt

Kalamazoo County Land Bank logo

The Kalamazoo Land Bank did robust community engagement around the vision and gave us something to work with that was solidly desired by people in the neighborhood. Having a vision meant we had to protect it. That’s something I thank the Land Bank for. It was difficult. It didn’t make anything faster or easier, but we got a better project in the end as a result of it.

—Matt Hollander

Buy Local logo

Buy Local Greater Kalamazoo is a hard working grassroots group focused on the greater Kalamazoo community and its small businesses. Their events and networking opportunities are the best!

—Cheri Bales

SBDC logo

Michigan SBDC is a great company providing top notch service to local businesses all over Michigan. The consultants are professional and the student workers contribute with excellent work!

—Martin Herman Sorensen