A business plan is an important tool for all business owners. The business plan provides new business owners with a framework for the business to get started and helps established business owners achieve organizational goals. The quality of the business plan will determine whether or not they will be eligible for funding from prospective financial lenders. Preparation and research are essential components to producing a good business plan.
Before writing your business plan, the United States Small Business Administration advises consideration of the following core questions:
What service or product does your business provide and what needs does it fill?
Who are the potential customers for your product or service and why will they purchase it from you?
How will you reach your potential customers?
Where will you get the financial resources to start your business?
After you have answered these four questions, you are able to begin preparing for and writing your business plan. The following links can help you research, write and prepare your business plan:
Business Plans Handbook
Business Plans Handbook is part of a collection of resources in the Gale Virtual Reference Library. It offers specific examples of business plans in full-text format. (Note: This database is subscribed to by the St. Charles City-County Library District. Anyone who wishes to use this database must have a St. Charles City-County Library District card.)
Doing Business in Missouri... The Business Plan
The University of Missouri Extension Service website has an excellent guide on writing a business plan. This website also has specific business information guides, tools to calculate financial aspects of a business, legal considerations of small business start-up, and more.
SBA Small Business Planner
The United States Small Business Administration Website provides comprehensive information for writing, researching, and preparing a business plan. From the "Small Business Planner" section of their website choose "Write a Business Plan" under Step One. Sample business plans and an interactive business plan writing exercise are also a part of this website.
SCORE Business Plan Template
The Service Corp of Retired Executives has an extensive site ready to help you begin your business venture. Included in this site are "Templates & Tools" which includes many documents to meet your business needs. One of the templates you will need early on is the business plan template.
The St. Charles City-County Library District also has a selection of print resource guides on starting various businesses. Many of these guides are published by Entrepreneur Magazine. When searching the catalog for business plan resources you may want to do a subject or title keyword search using one or more of the following terms:
Small Business Planning
Clicking on the link above will take you into the library's catalog. Once in there, you may browse the subject listings or begin a new search. Clicking on this link will take you out of the Business and Public Management section of our website.