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It's definitely not the most exciting part of starting a business. In fact, if you're like a lot of entrepreneurs, you're probably going to find yourself pulling a few all-nighters to get one done before heading into your first pitch for funding.
Because that's the thing--your business plan is a pretty important.
Any funder worth his or her salt wants to see it right off the bat. Moreover though, a solid business plan is a living document that will continue to guide your efforts as your business grows. A lot of those mistakes most of them, in fact are the result of poor planning.
Bad location, a marginal niche, having no specific user in mind, raising too much or too little money--all of these issues can be prevented or at least mitigated with good planning. Creating your business plan is more than just getting your ideas down on paper for potential funders to see.
It's an exploratory process in which you can evaluate your options, test your assumptions about your idea, and even discover new opportunities.
It might even lead you to kill off aspects of your business before investing too much time or money in them. That doesn't mean you have to bust out Word and start the plan from scratch.
A template is great--you probably aren't doing anything that hasn't been done before, so it provides a proven structure for your plan. Pretty much everything on it can be customized. Check out these comprehensive business plan templates you can download for free to get you started: Score's Business Plan Template for Startups Score is an American nonprofit dedicated to helping entrepreneurs get their companies off the ground.
Its template, available as a PDF or Word download, asks a whopping questions and is generic enough to customize for most types of businesses. The Refining the Plan resource that comes with it is helpful, especially if this is your first crack at writing a business plan.
You can go back in and edit it as needed, so don't worry about having everything ready the first time you sit down to tackle it. Even broken into sections, it's a long document and a bit of a slog to get through, but it produces a professional-looking and useful business plan. This is particularly helpful if your idea isn't fully fleshed out and you know you have homework to do--it prompts you for information.
Some funders are going to want to see a lot of detail, but you can provide that in appendices.
A business plan should take time and a lot of homework, but if you've already done that, LawDepot's template is a decent choice. It walks you through getting started, marketing, product, competitive analysis, SWOT, and more, with a window below the input fields to show you the plan as you work away at it.
You can download it free with a trial subscription, but you'll have to remember to cancel it within the week if you don't plan to continue using it. It contains 10 broad sections, including market analysis, management and organization, etc.
A second download on the same page is an Excel file to help with your financial projections.Find breaking business news & commentary from Minneapolis, St. Paul, the Twin Cities metro area and Minnesota. The SBA connects entrepreneurs with lenders and funding to help them plan, start and grow their business.
We support America's small businesses. The SBA connects entrepreneurs with lenders and funding to help them plan, start and grow their business.
Boards and CEOs are more tech-savvy than they once were, but they still don't always know the best questions to ask CIOs. With the push for digital transformation they need to be armed with the right questions at the right time.
Measurable - Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal.
Then you need to make sure that your materials – your pitch deck, executive summary, and business plan – answer ten critical questions. Conversely, if you find yourself including a lot of material that isn’t directly related to one of these ten questions, you may be better off leaving it out of your documents.
Top 10 Toughest HR Questions: Asked and Answered. Menu Search Go. Go. Finding a Job. Job Searching Career Planning You Can Develop a Successful Human Resources Department Business Plan. Essential Information for Hiring Your Employees. The Balance Small Business The Balance Careers is part of the Dotdash publishing family.