The Business Plan
You’ve probably read or heard this saying before (which seems to be a restatement of a quote by Benjamin Franklin):
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
This is definitely true of starting or running your own business. Though it’s important to recognize a business plan must be flexible to meet changing needs, the document is incredibly valuable in helping you define the vision for what your are doing and where the opportunities and challenges are. You should keep the document updated as you go along with your business–keeping it current to planning 3-5 years out.
There are two ways to complete this assignment. One is using a free online tool from the Small Business Administration. The other is using Word. It’s your choice. Pick one option and follow it.
Option 1 – SBA Online Tool (Recommended Option) This link is not working at the present time – The SBA does not have an online tool to help write your Business Plan. But the link still has many very good options to help you. I will be going over this in our live lecture during week 2.
Go to this site: http://www.sba.gov/business-plan/1. If the site doesn’t take you to the start page, go to the business plan info from the SBA in the Readings and Tools and you’ll see a blue square on the right side that lets you click to start the too. First you’ll need to register. Your registration will allow you to come back any time and update your business plan. After you register, you’ll go to the first screen–your cover letter.
NOTE on Navigation: Near the top of the screen you’ll see options for the steps. You can jump through in any order. Please remember to click the “Finish Up” tab before you leave so you can save your work and get a copy.
For the dropbox, submit the PDF of your business plan with the required sections completed.
Option 2 – Word Version
Create the basics of your business plan in Word. You’ll create an outline and then add in the pieces we ask for below. While it can be productive–depending on your writing and planning style–to quickly write at least a little in each section off the top of your head to get started, for the sections we ask for in assignments, the expectation is you will put in some real effort, do some research, use a calculator, whatever is needed to thoroughly respond to that section. The success of your future business depends heavily on your ability to be thorough and prepared. We want to help you with that and this document is the instrument we can use together to accomplish our goal of your successful business.
Use the headings from option 1 above (1-7) and then fill out sections 1, 3, 4, 5, and some on 6.