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You can function without a business plan for a little while, but at some point you will know that your business needs direction and goals. It will also be painfully necessary when you go to your bank for a loan. Better to have a plan before starting your business, but now is always a good time to start.
My company learned that we needed a business plan the hard way. We started the business using our best guess and a lot of luck. Now I've completed the 12 week process and am almost done with the plan. I called my competitors to try and learn about their company, and now I am much better informed. The class that I took also put me in touch with a number of new leads and other new business owners. Some of these businesses are using my services. This alone will pay for the money that I spent on the course.
What parts are in a business plan? Find out what the recommended parts to a business plan are by clicking on this link.
I decided to take a class through a private foundation, but there are other resources for writing your plan. First, visit your local library and check out some books on business plans, and sample business plans. These books will give you a starting point. Second, contact your local SCORE office for free information and classes about writing business plans. These services are free and are a wealth of information from retired executives that just want to help you out. Third, you could hire a business consultant to help you write the dreaded article. I really don't recommend this, there is much to be learned from this exercise. Fourth, you could buy a software program to help give you structure to your written document.
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