Pick the profile that best describes YOU:
o You live by your “to do” list
o Part of the fun of a vacation is planning it down to the last detail
o If I asked for your birth certificate and social security card you’d march without hesitation to your filing system, delivering the originals plus two copies
o In your world, most projects require an electronic document and a three-ring binder at the minimum
o You plan with eagerness. You execute with reluctance.
o With regards to research some is good, more is better, and even more is best
o You take a different path home as often as you can just to keep life interesting
o You wake with a bright idea, talk about it with a friend at lunch, and by dinner you're looking to launch.
o No one can set their watch by your schedule. One day you're up and productive before daybreak. The next day you lounge in bed all day munching on Skittles and laughing at Arrested Development on Netflix
o When someone uses the word discipline you hear punishment
o You trust luck. You're confident of success and know with certainty you'll overcome any obstacles.
It’s probably pretty obvious that if you identify with Profile A you'd never consider taking on something as important as a business without first planning and then penning a business plan.
On the other hand Profile B likes the notion of the free-spirited entrepreneur that fearlessly faces the marketplace finding opportunity and adjusting strategy on the fly.
In my humble opinion the answer is no; there is no right or wrong.**
How you decide to start your business is based primarily on personality. For some personality types, business is matched to planning. For others it’s matched to action.
Neither bootstrapping nor business plan guarantees success in startup. Go with what makes you comfortable and keeps you excited. What’s important is not HOW you start but that you indeed START.
Beyond startup? Now that’s another story entirely.
It’s so much fun to read online and in business print about all those renegade, swashbuckling companies that within just a few years of startup are fat with capital and marketshare that never took the time to plan. As a matter of fact they sometimes boast there was no planning.
But I know those stories don't give us the whole picture.
At some point in the life cycle of the business, to seize the competitive challenge and scale the business takes a focused, strategic, executable business plan based on historical data, business fundamentals and creative understanding of the market.
I guess the good news here for Profile B is somewhere down the road when the business is crying out for a plan you'll probably agree that a plan is in order. And if you don't want to write it you can always hire help.
*It’s worth mentioning the term bootstrapping historically was used to describe how the business was to be funded. Bootstrapping now seems to ripple out and frames a much larger entrepreneurial picture that includes a philosophy and actions based on that philosophy
**I'd be remiss if I didn't mention one caveat. If your business idea has high liability (anything involving children for instance, anything that requires a license, etc.) or tons of your money is invested (whatever that means to you) then you might want to take a stab at scribbling something down for your own protection. Just a thought. . .