In fact I would encourage you to really screw things up… on paper, because when you do it on paper you’re much less likely to screw things up with real money, with your house as collateral, employees that need to be paid and on and on.
Let’s think about the plan for a moment. There are two reasons why you need one. First, it’s your own personal road map. It allows you to give everything a dry run, on paper, so that when your put your money where your mouth is, you’ll know what’s going on.
Second, it says to investors, bankers and potential partners that you’ve thought everything through and they will get their money back.
While a business plan does have a formal layout that you should aim for it in the final draft, it’s not the kind of thing you write from start to finish. Even logic tells you that while you may put the Executive Summary first, you can’t write a summary until you have something to summarize. To make the process easier, dive in with what you know and try to complete it from the inside out.
Just keep in mind, it’s suppose to be hard and it’s suppose to be the place where you work out all the details before you get too far. You’ll find dead ends and numbers that don’t jive and all those other frustrating points along the way.
So when you get that feeling like you’d rather just wing it, don’t. Remember, it might suck for the moment, but not as bad as it will when your business is in a downward spiral. When it gets that bad you don’t have time to stop and research a course of action. But when you’ve followed dead ends and have already sifted through a mountain of data, you’ll get to answers quickly and have a much better chance of survival.