A business plan is the vehicle by which you conduct the research for your market, decide which individuals to involve in the sales of your product and validate your revenue and expense financial forecasts. It is the means by which you will convince first yourself and then others who can help you that your company has a road map to success.
New entrepreneurs should go to the SBA web site at Writing A Business Plan that guides them through the business planning process. They should follow the site presentation and note the factors to consider in starting a business.
You can find examples of business plans here:
Sample Business Plans
Entrepreneurs can also choose a counselor at the third link below who is experienced in their industry and that they feel can help them. They should their plan out on the counselor. The counselor will put on a banker's or investor's hat and give them a reaction, then make suggestions to improve the plan and how to communicate it to a financial institution.
Above all - PLAN --- to Succeed!
If you can't plan it how are you going to do it --- or convince a financial source you can?
Finally take advantage of the assistance available through your nearest SCORE office. You can learn more about SCORE here: SCORE
Most SCORE volunteers have been in business and know the practical ways to assist, but a structure is needed for that communication as well.
A business plan fills the bill.
Here’s some additional tips to help you through those first days of your small business …..
1. Do not promise what you cannot deliver
2. Do not overextend your resources and get a poor reputation for poor performance.
3. Do not tell the customer what he or she wants to hear. Tell them what they need to know. They will respect you for it.
4. Network constantly on professional sites such as Linked In. Hit the "Answers" feature and accumulate an "Expert" rating from your peers in your field.
5. Blog like there is no tomorrow. A blog is quite different than a web site. Provide good, solid information free of charge and use blog searches for synergistic businesses to team with. Teaming is an absolute necessity these days.
6. Be prepared to provide information, samples and valuable service gratis as a marketing tool. Introduce yourself and then immediately engage the client with your presentation tools available to bring your expertise to whatever topic they are interested in. Let them take you where they want to go with their concerns and their needs. Apply your presentation tools and expertise dynamically on the fly in a sincere manner to those concerns and needs and you will be in demand for follow up business.
7. Quote and bill what the client can afford and grow with him (in content and resources).
8. Be dedicated to working yourself out of a job with a specific customer and having your client take over by training him. He will remember you and recommend you to 10 others.
9. Remember growth is a function of persistence and foresight. Know where your market is headed and get their first - then write and speak about your success indirectly by helping others. Demonstrate humility and a satisfaction in helping others succeed. They will find ways to give you credit. There are ways of tooting your horn without making peoples' lights go out.
10. Word of mouth advertising from pleased clients is a sure ticket to success.
Take to heart the above insights and your experience starting a new small business will be easier … and more successful …. Than those who don’t.