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What is a business plan?

Why A Business Plan?

A business plan is a step by step guide to your company, product, and information. The business plan shows previous results, ideal strategy and future forecasts. It is a guide to where the company (or product) has been, where it is going, and how you will get there.

The tip is to first, take a breath. You want to begin with your key points, or drivers, of the business. What is the product? What does it do? Why does it stand out? Who will buy it? Why will they buy it? How much does it cost? What are the resources? How will these resources grow? How will the business manage risks?

Answering these questions will prepare you and your business for making the actual business plan.

   

When Do I Need To Write A Business Plan?

There are many successful businesses that do not have a business plan. You will need a business plan if you are planning on getting bank or government loans and grants. You will need a business plan if you are seeking venture capitalists and investors. You will especially need a business plan if you are applying for a SBA loan (www.sba.gov)--it is a requirement for this type of loan.

   
Should I pay for a business planning consultant?

Pay or Do It Yourself Business Planning.

Tailored business plans can cost a few hundred dollars or thousands of dollars, but that does not mean that you HAVE to purchase a tailored business plan.

You may want to purchase a tailored business plan if you have done the recommended Web research and are still not sure how to proceed. You may want to purchase a business plan consultant if you are looking at high up front capital (this is found especially in manufacturing and financing industries).

You may NOT want to purchase a tailored business plan if you are developing a service industry, or a small business that does not require a massive up front investment.

The decision to choose a writer or consultant for your business plan should be based on the following questions:

Do you have the TIME to write a business plan?
Do you have the ABILITY to write a business plan?
Do you lack the MONEY to pay for a business plan?

If you answered yes to any of the above, do not hire a consultant. Instead, search for simple, easy to navigate templates and outlines that will assist you. If you find that the business plan is taking too much of your time, energy, and ability, then look into hiring a consultant. Many will be happy to simply edit your business plan at a reduced price.

There is a plethora of business plan outlines and templates that are free and located on the Internet. A simple search in any search engine will bring you literally hundreds of thousands of consultants, templates, outlines, and so forth.

The Small Business Administration has several guides to writing the business plan at http://www.sba.gov/index.html

The Center For Business Planning has several business plan templates I have enjoyed using
http://www.businessplans.org/

   
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Ray Lokar