Consider all the variables so you don’t rush into anything and test your assumptions.It’s crucial to understand the market you plan to enter.Find out who your competitors are, analyze their cash flow and profit margins, and research technological developments in the industry that might be game-changers.Accomplishments like those illustrate the importance of preparation for entrepreneurs starting or expanding their own businesses, especially since only half of all startups survive their first five years. entrepreneurs were known for their careful strategy. Rockefeller, the oil magnate whose name became a byword for wealth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, often talked about “our plan” when he was developing Standard Oil Trust. government, its descendants—Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Conoco Phillips—still dominate the industry today.The secret: Not only is having one often a prerequisite for lenders and investors, it’s a road map that helps owners identify both risks and opportunities in their markets so that they’re prepared for both. Rockefeller’s strategy was corralling what had been a haphazard oil supply that often outpaced demand and hurt producers by keeping prices low. “Business planning helps entrepreneurs work smarter, stay alert for roadblocks, test new ideas, stay motivated, help align expectations with stakeholders and investors, and even reduce stress,” wrote Robert Price, executive director of the Global Entrepreneurship Institute, in an article on the organization’s website.You’ll want to include how much you need right now as well as how much more you might need over the next five years.A critical point is how you plan to repay borrowed money to creditors (if you opt for debt financing) or, alternatively, generate returns for investors.Business plans serve as the framework for your company and provide benchmarks to see if you’re reaching your goals.In my experience, they are key to helping you think through your business and keep you on track.It Only Takes 6 Steps to Plan Your Success Franklin’s preparation paid off.Today, he’s remembered not only for signing the Declaration of Independence but for researching electricity, serving as the U. ambassador to France and founding the University of Pennsylvania.