Develop Your Business Plan Online
This program is designed to help you build your business plan for a new small business;
You work on ten modules, one at a time, to complete key sections of your business plan; look for the menu bar at the top of each page and choose the module you need to do next. Normally it's best to work work in a linear fashion, covering in order:
Products and services,
Bookkeeping and accounting,
Legal and insurance,
and, Your business plan.
Take a brief test at the end of each module to confirm your understanding of the sections. This will take you to a link to go to the worksheet for that module;
Submit your worksheets and receive one-on-one, confidential help with your specific situation (an SBDC counselor will respond to your work and make recommendations);
Get the help of an SBDC Small Business Counselor to help! Click here to sign up online for assistance from an SBDC counselor
Talk with your Counselor at set times or whenever she is available via Chat option;
Participate in trainings and sessions with other small businesses at on-line conferences set up periodically; go to www.maricopa-sbdc.com (go to events) for a list of current offerings;
When your plan is done, start working with your counselor on implementing your plans.
Choosing the best business for you
If you have not recently purchased or started your business already, I ask you to consider two things before making a choice on what business to start. First, look at what you are already good at. You are the sum total of all your experiences to date, and you should consider building upon that experience base to start your new business. This will obviously help make you a better businessperson in that particular field, especially if you choose a field where you have had direct experience already doing that job. For example, you are working as an auto mechanic and choose to start your own shop. The linkage between skills and business is usually not that direct or obvious, however. If you like working with your hands, and are particularly good at building things, you might consider starting your business in the building trades. If you currently are unhappy at your job, it is wise to reconsider your skills and decide on something that will make you happier.
Secondly, and most importantly, do what you like to do. Starting a new business is a difficult undertaking, and the one thing that will keep you going when times get tough is a love for the business. The expression ďlife is too shortĒ applies to those who have not found a career they love. You simply must consider the task at hand and whether you are suited to the business. For example, if you love working on cars in your spare time you might consider opening up an automotive service shop or something dealing with car parts or fixup.
What is your entrepreneurial potential?
There are certain traits that successful small business people exhibit that have proven to lead to a higher probability for success for starting a new business. These traits are described below. It is not necessary that a person have all of them to be successful, but it is helpful to consider how you might overcome a weakness in an area. Perhaps hiring an employee with those strengths, or even a partner, might help mitigate a concern when one of these is missing.
Entrepreneurs are self-starters: You must be willing to get up in the morning without the alarm, and keep going strong all day. If you donít have the spirit, no one else will be as concerned with the success of your business as you.
Entrepreneurs like working with people: People skills are important with any job, but are critical to your success with your own business. If you are wanting to start a new business because you donít like the boss, think twice. As a business owner, you will have more bosses than you ever realized. The customer, the IRS, the City, etc., etc., etc..
Entrepreneurs are good leaders: As the small business owner you are the one who employees, vendors and customers look to for leadership. You must be willing to lead the parade, with a smile on your face, even when times are tough and you donít feel like it. The chain of command suddenly becomes less important than the mission of your business. And you are the one in charge.
Entrepreneurs Take Responsibility: The game of pass the blame has no place in the world of the small business. It really doesnít matter. You are the owner, and the customer sees your name on the sign, holding you responsible. The price for not being so is failure. You must be the type who likes to take charge, and can see things through to their completion.
Entrepreneurs are good organizers: You must learn the skill of making plans and thinking things through before committing your precious resources to a project. The small business has limited time and resource, and a well-organized person who manages their time and resources well will be more successful in the long run.
Entrepreneurs are good workers: You need to develop good work habits in the world of small business. Often, you are the production staff, accountant and supervisor all rolled into one, which demands that you are able to stay on task and get the job done.
Entrepreneurs are good decision makers: The small business owner often has to make more decisions more often than the manager of a large corporation. You donít have the luxury of time, numbers of staff or high-priced research to help you with the decision, either. The customer may be waiting in the lobby for your price quote.
Entrepreneurs can be trusted: In small business your word is your bond. And in smaller, rural communities you donít have the luxury of being able to generate a new customer for every one you take advantage of who doesnít return. Customers, vendors and government officials who are important to your business are able to spot someone who is not totally honest relatively easily.
Entrepreneurs can stick with it: The most important piece of advice for the start-up business is: never, never, never, never, never, never, never give up. Iím not talking about lost causes here, but the average business will have at least two to three opportunities in the first year to call it quits. The successful small business person has learned to overcome these urges, and find ways to solve the problems, thereby improving the business in the process.
Entrepreneurs are in good health: The foregoing nine traits are enough to require a person to be in good physical condition to be successful. Successful small business people seem to be tireless in their pursuit of the interest of the business.
If you still want more information on your entrepreneurial potential, the Small Business Development Center has a self-survey available for clients that allows the individual to determine their strengths and weakness as they apply to running a small business. This survey takes about two hours, and could help you learn a few things about yourself, as well as what traits you might need to work on in making your business more successful.
Click here to complete the questionaire.
Ready to move forward? Let's look at the type of entity to choose (legal structure)