Business Plan Tips & Resources for Entrepreneurs

Business Plan

Image: betadaily.com

There is great debate as to whether entrepreneurs should have business plans.  Although they are required for people seeking business loans, you should still have one even if are not seeking financial assistance at this time. Keep in mind that you may need a loan in the future, and the foundation of your plan will already be laid.

A written plan helps you define what you are offering, who you selling to; and how much you need to sell to make a profit.  Some people get intimidated by the thought of preparing a business plan.  While it does take time to write, you don’t have to complete it all at once.  Remember, a business plan will never be final.  You will continually revisit and revise your plan as your business continues to evolve and grow.

In the early stages of planning, your document should clearly define your product and service offerings; target markets; marketing strategy; and financial plan.

There are a few things to keep in mind as you write your business plan.

  • Your business plan can be as few as five pages as long as you address the above-mentioned essentials.
  • You can’t be everything to everybody, so market research is essential.  Just because your product or service appeals to several groups of people doesn’t mean they want it or are willing to pay for it.
  • If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  Research is crucial.  You need to study the market you want to serve and the industry you want to enter.
  • Revisit your plan as often as needed.
  • Your market research and financial plans are the most important aspects of your plan.
  • It doesn’t have to be overly formal.  This is your plan. It can be as informal as you want as long as you understand what you mean.
  • Use images to help visualize your goals and plans.
  • Write any thoughts about your business that comes to mind. This is your place to see what works and what doesn’t.
  • You are in business to make money.  If you want to be charitable, start a nonprofit. If you don’t like taking people’s money, make your activities your hobby.

Check out books and sample plans to get you going, but use them as resources only.  Do not try to fit your business into someone else’s model –  even if you have the same business.  Their dream is not your dream; therefore, you will get frustrated trying to make it fit.  All books on business plans are not good books.  Go to a local bookstore or library to review a few and select two or three that work best for you.

The following sources can help you through the business plan writing process and make it less intimidating.

Organizations that support small business owners

Business Plan Resources – (Just click on the links and they’ll take you directly to the resources)

Market Research Resources
These books can be found in the reference section at the library. Most cannot be checked out.  However, you may luck up and find them on an online bookstores at a fraction of the cost.

Print Directories

  • Directory of Associations / Directory of Tradeshows
  • Sourcebook of Zip Code Demographics
  • American Market Place
  • Small Business Sourcebook
  • Best Customers – Demographics of Consumer Demand
  • Survey of Current Businesses
  • Industry and Trade Outlook
  • State and Metropolitan Area Data Book

Online Resources

  • Reference USA
  • ABI/Inform
  • ProQuest
  • Census – Business Census

Above are just a few tools to get you started on your business plan writing journey.  If at anytime you feel stuck, contact one of the organizations listed to speak with a counselor. If you need assistance with your marketing or financial plans, they can help you with those, too.  The Write Design Company can help edit your plan, conduct market research or brainstorm ideas.

Good luck on your entrepreneurial journey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *