How to Write a Business Plan
When to Write a Business Plan 
From Concept to Reality

A good business plan is the scaffolding that supports your business idea as you move it from concept to reality, taking it through the following steps:

  1. Identify or create the business concept. This is the "aha" stage of the business lifecycle. Here, entrepreneurs first conceive of their business ideas. They might jot notes on a paper napkin, run their ideas past friends, or start looking around on the Internet to see if anyone has tried the idea before.

  2. Refine the business concept. At this stage of the game, entrepreneurs start to do some real research and analysis to examine the feasibility of their business ideas. Along the way, they make discoveries or spot opportunities that help shape and define the business concept.

  3. Develop the business plan. Now entrepreneurs put pen to paper. In the process of writing a business plan, entrepreneurs further refine their ideas, craft roadmaps to business success, and work to develop a persuasive case that their product or service is the "next big thing."

  4. Obtain funding. At this stage, entrepreneurs use their business plans to convince potential investors and creditors that investing in their business concept is a good idea. Entrepreneurs need to raise the money not only to get their businesses off the ground, but also to keep them afloat while waiting to earn big profits.