• Planning is a critical and important component of ensuring the success of a small business.
• Some form of formal planning should not only accompany the start-up of a business but also be a regular (annual) activity that guides the future direction of the business.
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• Many small business owners are reluctant to formally plan. They can produce many excuses for not planning.
• Businesses may have to raise capital from external sources— bankers, venture capitalists, or angel investors. Each type of investor will expect a business plan. Each type of investor will be more or less interested in different parts of the plan. Business owners should be aware of what parts of the plan each type of investor will focus on.