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Business Plans?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
How many of you have had to draw up business plans in our life - for whatever venture - and how did you go about getting started? I'm at a point where I'm pretty much ready to make a go of making a rough first attempt to see how it comes out, before I go about making a few more and then of course the final copy to send to investors and banks etc. Did you seek help from ouside professionals? If so, how much did that cost? Where did you find them? Were you satisfied with the results?

Getting started is the tough bit... the easy bit is staying on top of things. What kind of advice can you give me? Anything is more than appreciated! Any little hints that you think I might find useful - for example, "When looking for investors in a cattery, don't ask a record dealer" or something.....
post #2 of 4
I did a business plan before pursuing my sole proprietorship, and it was a great help just in terms of making me really sit down, calculate monthly expenses, what was needed to start up, what my goals were for that first year..and I tracked how I was doing in meeting those goals, monthly, for that first year.

I used a template that I *think* was part of Microsoft Office (don't hold me to that) as well as created an excell spreadsheet of anticipated monthly expenses - what my budget would be.

It really helped me focus on who I expected my customers to be, what I was doing (general, niche store, what the focus/direction would be).

I was not going for investers or a loan, but I still consider this as a necessity to do before opening one's own business.

Sorry this isn't very specific, hope it helps a bit, and best wishes to you!
post #3 of 4
I've written several. I usually start out by looking around for other business plans and finding one that conveys the same kind of information I want to convey. Then I use the format as a starting point. I usually end up rearranging things and shifting things around before I'm done, but it gives me somewhere to start.

Here are a few resources on business plans:


Hope this helps.
post #4 of 4
As part of my severance pkg I was given a 3 month contract with Right Mmgmt Consultants. I have been working with the small business person. He also recommended a marketing plan. In addition he advised me to read such magazines as Fast Company and Inc. I have purchased some start-up books that have some generic info.
I have Steps to Small Business Start Up 5th ED by Linda Pinson and Jerry Jinnett; The Small Business Start-Up Kit 3rd ED by Peri Pakroo & The Business Startup Checklist and Planning Guide by Stephanie Chandler.
In my case with Landscaping I also have books specific to that field.
In my situation my business is starting out as a "hobby" business as I have other means of income. I have a low overhead but my biggest expense will be advertising and insurance this year!! I am also in a seasonal occupation.
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