Tuesday, September 27, 2011

To Write a Business Plan or not to…that is the Question

Planning your success

Most small business owners dread the task of writing a formal business plan which contains financial, marketing, and planning strategies. The research indicates that a significant percentage of business owners start their enterprise without a plan. In recent years, however, the SBA and SBA lenders have been asking for business plans with varying levels of detail, depending upon the financial institution they are working with.

In most cases, small start-ups neither want to develop a business plan nor can afford to pay an accountant or consultant to do so. Rather than giving up on the business plan or paying a consultant, you have the option to work with your local SBDC. While you will still be responsible for developing the plan, the SBDC consultants can provide expert guidance and coach you through the process.

Business plans should not be an obstacle in starting or improving a business. The fact is that business plans are an excellent management tool and increase your probability for success. Business plans offer key advantages, such as:
  • Helps entrepreneurs consider the validity of the assumptions related to the business venture
  • Helps people to decide whether to start a business
  • Helps prospective owners identify how much financing is needed
  • Helps owners evaluate strategies and set goals
  • Develops pro-forma statements
  • Develops an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT)
  • Promotes research of viable target markets
  • Provides a financial framework so lenders can make lending decisions
In fairness, business plans have a few drawbacks. They are time-consuming to prepare, especially if great detail is required. They may be costly to prepare if an entrepreneur lacks planning knowledge and pays a consultant for their services. And most damaging, creating a business plan may present an obstacle that prevents entrepreneurs from starting their business.
Don’t let a business plan hold you back from realizing your dream to start or improve your business. The SBDC conducts monthly business planning workshops in addition to one-on-one consulting services.
Register for an upcoming Business Plan workshop at NO COST: http://sandiegosmallbiz.com/calendarNewOriginal.html

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