The Importance of Planning Ahead!

You’re convinced you have the perfect formula for a successful business. Your entrepreneurial spirit is fired up. You’re ready to get started. Now all you have to do is convince others so you can make your dream a reality.

Most experts agree that before embarking on a new business venture, you need to create a business plan. The U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) calls this tool “…an essential roadmap for business success.” It’s an important and necessary first step so do your homework. You want your plan to be detailed, concise and focused, and—most importantly—reflect your ability to succeed.

Just Do It: Jotting down your initial ideas on the back of a napkin may not sound like a business plan, but it’s a start. Just be sure to take the next step and turn those initial notes into a solid strategy. Here are suggestions from SBA regarding key items to include in your business plan:

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Market Analysis
  • Organization & Management
  • Service or Product Line
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Funding Request
  • Financial Projections
  • Appendix

More Resources: For more information about what’s needed in your business plan, check out the SBA website – it’s filled with resources, articles and forms specifically tailored to small business owners. For more help, enroll in a business class at a local community college or sign up for an online business course.

Don’t Forget your Network: Reach out to entrepreneurs and small business owners in your network. Ask if they’re willing to discuss their business plans with you. Once you’re satisfied with your own plan, ask a seasoned professional to take a look at it. Don’t be shy about asking for feedback… you may just spark the interest of potential investors and / or clients.

Do you have a business plan? How has it helped you?

What happened in April? Find out now! Visit last month’s Business Forum – Harness the Power of Networking to Grow Your Business – and our poll, where we asked how do you network to grow your business. The results are quite interesting!

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