How long should it take to write a business plan and how should the time be allocated?
Some useful answers to these questions can be gleamed from an ongoing survey being conducted by PlanWare amongst people who have prepared written business plans.
Based on over two thousand responses, more than one-third (38%) of the respondents spent less than a month on their plan; a similar proportion (37%) worked on their plan for 2-3 months; and the balance (25%) spent several months on the task. More detailed analysis of these findings indicated that:
- The elapsed time to prepare comprehensive plans was considerably longer than that for basic plans.
- Over one-third of all plans compiled within an elapsed time of one month were used to seek bank loans or approvals from shareholders/directors, or they were compiled for internal/personal use.
- About one-third of all plans used to raise venture capital/equity took least three months to research and write.
The survey also showed that the task of actually writing the plan was usually the least time consuming part of the planning process as almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents spend more time researching than writing their plan. For a fifth (21%) of respondents researching and writing times were about equal. Only a small minority (16%) undertook little or no research before drafting their plan.