While business plans and resumes can be a pro forma exercise (if not an overrated required effort), the process of developing and writing them can be hugely beneficial.
Many prospective investors won’t read the whole business plan (just skip to the financials) but they want to see that you have one.
Many employers either won’t review a resume until they’re really serious about you or, if it’s a big company, it’s a computer that scans for keywords.
Some experts urge you to not count on the business plan document to be the end all key to acquiring funding and definitely recommend you don’t plan on mass mailings and online postings of your resume to lead to a job offer.
With all of that said, the process of developing these documents can be hugely beneficial because the effort forces you to think-through who you are and what you’re offering.
I’ve written business plans and resumes and in each case it was the process of doing so that was instrumental in my eventual success (or decision to pivot).
In the case of a business plan, you’re forced to consider the questions and objections of potential investors. Often they are very good questions. Filling in the blanks of a business plan template (such as these templates from Business News Daily and Forbes) may lead to considerations and critical needs you had overlooked or need further effort. This becomes a checklist.
A resume requires much, much more effort than just a chronological review of your job history. It’s truly marketing you in a resume format. You must consider who your audience is, what their hot buttons and “push backs” are and address them while using key words, buzz words and sought after attributes and do it in the up-to-date style that employers are looking for.
The beauty of both is that they force you to develop responses in an appealing and compelling way. In doing so you discover more about who you are and what you have to offer. How you’re going to pull it off or your value to a potential employer. Part of both efforts is discovering and developing your pitch, how you will overcome objections and put forth your best attributes.
The key to successfully undertaking these efforts is to be brutally honest and really (and I mean really) challenge yourself. Present your responses to a trusted friend or colleague who will put themselves in the role of investor, employer and play devil’s advocate.
So don’t just go through the motions. Use the motion to find your way, overcome shortcomings and showcase your best arguments. The sum of the effort is greater than the end document.