Having volunteered with SCORE and Micro Mentor in this venue for several years, I am convinced that the value of a business plan as a means to assess and manage risk is the principal answer to "how to be successful".
I urge small business to test the water, and try out the business model before launch by taking it through the proof of concept offered at the links below.
I have heard many critical of business planning say that it is cosmetic, drives more work than it is worth in terms of obtaining financing and similar commentaries.
The fact remains that among the 5,000 plus cases I have handled in the last 7 years the vast majority of those who plan succeed and many who fail to plan do not.
I ask the simple question, "How are you going to do it if you cannot plan it?"
I have not met many small business owners who have enjoyed the business planning process in answering my question but I have not met any who have regretted it once they have completed their plan.
This is especially true when the plan yielded a road map they had confidence in, a communicative vehicle to slide with confidence across the table to a banker or an investor and a risk reduction process of genuine value.
Writing A Business Plan
Sample Business Plans
Courtesy Of Kenneth Larson