“No plan survives contact with the enemy” Moltke, Chief of Staff for the Prussian Army.
Imagine you’re a marine and your mission is to move supplies from point A to point B. You have your route mapped out and begin your mission only to find a series of land mines in your way and cannon fire hailing down on you. This is the point where you need to “pivot” and throw the original plan out the window. If you’re stuck in the planning mentality, and oblivious to whats going on in real time, you’re as good as dead!. The same goes for business.
Business plans are great, as are five year forecasts, and all the other hogwash business speak the denizens of MBA land have unleashed on us. In all seriousness, you really need to have an innovative business model. You don’t need to recreate the wheel to be a successful small business owner, you just need to create a superior experience for your customer. What about your model is sustainable and innovative? That is what I think separates phenomenal businesses from the mediocre.
For the formalities involved in writing a business plan please see Brad Feld’s exhaustive analysis here; http://www.feld.com/wp/archives/2006/01/business-plan-the-company.html