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How can I learn more about writing a business plan?

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When starting your own business, you will need to create a business plan. A business plan is a summary of how you or your business intends to become organized and how you plan to implement the activities necessary for the business venture to succeed. In a business plan you will set objectives, establish priorities, and provide for cash flow. It is a written explanation of your company's business model. It is like the map and compass for your business.

A business plan is one of the first steps you will make as a new small business owner. A good business plan will give a blueprint of how the business is to work and have a basic timeline to follow to meet all of the requirements to be successful. You will find that your business plan will quickly become outdated and will need to be changed as time goes on. For example, you may find that you cater to a certain niche in the industry better than your competitors. You will probably want to change your plan according to your audience as well. You may need to change your plan in order to target different funding organizations. Be flexible and capable of changing the plan when needed.

Business plans can be used internally in a business or externally. Internally they are used for things such as management and production. Externally they are used for things such as to get funding, appeal to investors, and for certifications. One of the most common uses is to get loans. If you are going to fund your business yourself, then your business plan can be written on a napkin at the local restaurant. However, if you are going to get a venture capitalist or the bank to fund your project, then you will need a well written plan and need to present your plan properly in order to convince these potential business partners that you know what you are doing.

There are many sources you can go to in order to find information on how to write a business plan. Some of these sources include:

  • Public library or bookstore: Look in the how-to section or business section. Free examples of business plans can be found at the public library. Hundreds of books have been written for this very purpose. All have the basic information, but all have different layouts that appeal to different learning styles. Many of these books will not only have examples, but they will have instructions on how to write the plans. These are a great resource because they will bring up ideas that you may not have thought of before. For example, if you are going to open up a burger joint, you may not have realized that you needed to meet certain city codes in order to serve food. These example plans will be a great place to start.

  • Internet: From any search engine, type in something like "how to write a business plan", "how to develop a business plan" or "free business plans" and you will get more results than you can handle. You can even narrow your search down to the particular industry you are trying to get into. For example, if you are working in the food industry, you should be able to look up `free restaurant business plan' and get multiple hits on that search alone. Some websites will try to sell you courses on how to develop a business plan step by step and others will just outline the basic components for you. This will be an invaluable resource as you start creating your own business plan.

  • Business peers: Talk to other small business owners to see how they wrote theirs. Too often, people look at others as competitors and not peers. You will be meeting these other business owners in the industry as you work on projects together making bids and in other places. You will need to work together to lobby lawmakers in support of your business also. For this reason, you will each need to support each other. Just ask and you may find that they are willing to give you copies of their business plan for you start creating your own.

  • Professionals: There are companies out there that will create a business plan for you for a fee. Whether or not you choose to take this route, you may want to at least consider having others look over your completed plan to make sure you are not missing key information. Make sure that those you choose to review your business plan can do so objectively.

In summary, a business plan is a summary of how your business will function as an entity. You will want your plan to be professional. There are many sources for you to look to to find information on creating your business plan. Use them all and create a best fit for you..

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Posted by DF
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