13 Steps to Writing Your Business Plan ~ Introduction

May 4, 2009 at 6:43 am 3 comments

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License

Having a business plan is like having a lighthouse on the dark treacherous waters of small business ownership.  Without one, you could be lost at sea, or worse: shipwrecked.  Every business should have one to know where you’ve been and to know where you are going.  Your chances of success are far greater with a plan than without one.

Do you have a business plan?  If so, when was the last time you revised it?  If you don’t have a plan, why not?  If you’ve never written a plan, or if it is in a dark file in your basement, there is no time like the present to start.

In the next 5 weeks we are going to write your business plan. Throughout our planning, we will be referring to resources from SCORE.  SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business” is a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and the formation, growth and success of small business nationwide. SCORE is a resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).  Their resources are valuable, easy to use, and FREE.  (If it’s free, it’s me!)

This is what SCORE has to say about writing a business plan:

The real value of doing a business plan is not having the finished product in hand; rather, the value lies in the process of research and thinking about your business in a systematic way. The act of planning helps you to think things through thoroughly, to study and research when you are not sure of the facts, and to look at your ideas critically. It takes time, but avoids costly, perhaps disastrous, mistakes later.

It typically takes several weeks to complete a good plan. Most of that time is spent in research and rethinking your ideas and assumptions. But then, that is the value of the process. So make time to do the job properly. And finally, be sure to keep detailed notes on your sources of information and on the assumptions underlying your financial data”

We’ll be covering the following elements of the business plan, broken down into 13 steps in the next 5 weeks:

  • Executive Summary
  • General Company Description
  • Products and Services
  • Marketing Plan
  • Operational Plan
  • Management and Organization
  • Financial Information
  • Appendices
  • Refining the Plan

If you’re a little intimidated by this project, don’t be.  By collaborating on this as an industry, we can become stronger businesses and a stronger league of professionals. We’ll coast through this and you’ll have a business plan of which you are proud.

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Entry filed under: 13 Step Business Plan, Plan It, Strategy.

Insider to Insider: Stacy Reeves, Owner of Stacy Reeves Photography Writing Your Business Plan, Step 1: The Executive Summary

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Christine Banning  |  May 7, 2009 at 9:02 am

    Thanks for writing about SCORE as a resource. I work with SCORE and wanted to add two resources to your conversation.

    1. 60-Second Guide on Biz Planning. Short & helpful tips.
    http://www.score.org/60_guide_business_plan.html

    2. I love your comment, if it’s free it’s me. SCORE advice is always free & confidential. Start-ups & biz owners can get 24/7 advice at
    http://www.score.org/ask_score.html

    Hope this is helpful.

    Reply
    • 2. Michelle Loretta  |  May 7, 2009 at 9:18 am

      Hi Christine! Thank you so much for your comment! And, thank you for those wonderful resources! SCORE truly is a great tool for small businesses. Do you mind if I repost the 60-second Guide on our blog? Those are some great tips!

      Reply
  • 3. Aeleise  |  May 7, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Thank you so much for this series. I have been procrastinating in writing my business plan. iIt couldn’t come at a better time.

    Reply

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