editors note: this month we are posting our top ten MOST ASKED questions students list when they are in our Image Business Start Up course.

Why would you create a business plan?

It took me the first two years of blindly managing my business before I realized the power of having a plan on paper.  Once I committed my plans to paper a focus came and my business started to take shape much quicker.  I do not advise that you start a business without a structured, well thought out and developed plan for growth.  Creating a business plans helps one to focus on the who, what, where and why of the business.  It gives the owner of the business a focused intent and establishes the steps to take to achieve success.

A business plan is also required if you are seeking any kind of financing or financial backing.  Creating a business plan establishes the sales, profit (or loss) goals for the business and outlines the steps needed to achieve those markers.  A really good business plan will also include any strengths, weaknesses, opportunities or threats (S.W.O.T. analysis) to the current business model, to the future growth of the business and to its long term success.

A business plan is also a way to measure the growth and success of the business once it’s been active for a while.  Going back to review the plans you made for the business gives you a checks and balances picture and can then help you to take steps to adjust for increasing marketing and therefore increasing sales. My business plans used to be one year in length, now they are thirty days maximum and sometimes I do weekly plans to keep my business goals in check.

Next week we review the question "What are the tools a fashion designer can use to market, promote and sell their work?"