Business Plans

Question: I'm thinking of writing a business plan -- how do I go about it, and why is it important? Business Plan Resources The article, "Business Plans Build Good Business," April 2004 Intercom magazine (pp 38 to 42) by Bette Frick. See the resources on page 39. The book, "The One Page Business Plan" (ISBN 1-891315-09-9). It's a workbook that provides a series of exercises. The end product is a one page document that includes: vision (what are you building?) mission (why does this business exist?) objectives (what will you measure?) strategies (how will this business be built/expanded?) plans (what is the work to be done?) The book, "Simplified Strategic Planning" by Robert Bradford The CIC SIG's online book Business plan software -- cost is $100. The document at http://www.anz.com/australia/business/toolkit/toolkit.asp (An Australian bank’s Word document) Business Plan Templates on Web Sites Information Mapping Microsoft Business Plan (also see their Excel templates for cash flows, profit/loss projections, start up needs, and break even analysis documents). SCORE (www.score.org). One member took a SCORE class where they give you all the basics on what a start up company needs to think about. The class was only $40 and offered through their local public schools one night a week. The member thought the course was worth the fee just for the tax information. The Small Business Administration (www.sba.gov) Thoughts & Comments on Business Plans Some members stated that their business today is very different from that original plan -- nonetheless, it was a good way to organize plans and thoughts at the beginning of a business. Some members do a business plan and budget each January. "The planning forced us to look at our core assumptions every year, as well as at the financial structure of our business. We would analyze which types of projects were making us money, which not. We could see how our administrative expenses stacked up against our income and project expenses. The budget allowed us to plan for capital expenditures. The plan encouraged us to rethink our initiatives and plan money and resources for them. Usually the plan became the blueprint guiding our sales and marketing efforts, and suggested how we needed to structure our sales commissions for the coming year." "There's no real place in business plans for the .com bubble bursting, or what happened to the economy when 9/11 events tanked it. There is also no real place for those sudden insights that show you what you really should be doing, how to do it better, faster, and dramatically different, or the fabulous net add of great employees. There is no accommodation for gradually figuring out who you are as an owner."