Writing a business plan (to include the necessary research required to write a thorough and, ultimately, beneficial business plan) is the first step when thinking about starting a business. A business plan is the foundation of your business and will help make your business run as smoothly as possible. Lenders, potential investors, and other business professionals will want to review your business plan, especially if you are trying to get a loan. Even if you aren’t seeking financing, a business plan is your blueprint for success. It’s hard work to write a business plan and can take a considerable amount of time and energy, but it is well worth the effort. Statistics show that a business plan can make a significant difference between a business thriving or dying.
You should consider your business plan a living document that is always changing to address decisions and issues from both external and internal sources. You should review it often, but most especially after major changes or unexpected issues occur that impact the growth and development of your business.
A typical business plan has the following components:
- Business Description/ Products and Services
- Executive Summary
- Financial Analysis
- Market Analysis
- Marketing Strategy
- Organization and Management
There are a number of federal, state, and local websites, resources, and organizations that can assist you as you prepare your business plan. These organizations can offer advice, counseling, and training.