You have a great idea for a business and want to take the plunge and start it. You know you need to thrash the idea out in a business plan, with executive summaries swirling around in your head. When you try to write your operations and management plan, your rough notes seem inadequate.

You do what many potential entrepreneurs before you have done – put your idea on hold and go back to your nine-to-five slog. While business plans are essential in certain instances, you should not let your fear of drafting a formal one stop you. All you need is a way to plan what works for you. We speak to two entrepreneurs about their experiences with formal business plans.

Not to do

Bheki Kunene made a name for himself as an entrepreneur after starting his business, Mind Trix Media, in 2009. He has since received an award for his work with youth from Stellenbosch University.

A formal business plan was never an essential for Kunene because he started his business by bootstrapping. “Everything was self-financed. Even now, I don’t have much debt. While you do not grow as fast, it still works.

“I did not have a formal business plan, but I still knew what I wanted to achieve and had a strategy in mind. At that time, a formal plan was a bit too much for me,” he says.

Kunene assures other entrepreneurs that he too found the concept of a formal business plan extremely intimidating. “It would have taken lots of time to write a formal plan when I already understood what I wanted and how to get it. It was hugely intimidating and I didn’t think I could stick to it.”

A traditional business plan would not have suited Kunene’s business or the way he runs it. “I feel a five-year business plan is not realistic because things are always changing. You will never stick to the plan. Anything can and will go wrong and you should be able to adjust. It is better to think of it as a game plan, rather than a formal business one.”