This post is the first of a six-part series on some recommended steps to launching a startup business. However, there is no one way to start any business, so you should always consult multiple sources on what your business may need before you start it.
What is a Business Plan?
In short, a business plan is a plan for what you want your business to become and how you will get it there. It generally outlines the first three to five years of your business. Not only does a business plan help you identify the direction you want your startup to go in, but it allows you do so in a more tangible way that is understandable and approachable by other people.
Why Do You Need a Business Plan?
A business plan helps other people to understand the purpose and goals of your business. Once people understand your business, you can use your plan to obtain access to important financial resources like investment capital and loans. Access to capital means you now have the means to continue launching your startup.
What Goes Into a Business Plan?
Depending on your needs, you can write either a lean startup plan or a traditional business plan. A lean startup plan covers high-level items and only the key elements of your business, and takes as little as an hour to write. On the other hand, traditional business plan is very detailed, comprehensive and takes a considerable amount of time to write.
Where Do I Start?
Well, a good place to start is with the Small Business Administration’s guide to business plans (see the references at the end of the article). Another helpful tool for people residing in Ohio is the Small Business Builder from Gale. To access it, you’ll need a free library card from the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County. You can then go to Research>Business Resources>Research & Information>Business Plans and you’ll find the Small Business Builder. Click, sign in using your library card number and you’re all set to start using the free and intuitive tool for planning your business.