Small Business Planning

Whether a start-up or a growing business, an entrepreneur or small business owner needs to have a plan to build their business. Having a well defined business plan is fundamental to achieving success. A well thought out plan will save time and money in the long run. However, business planning requires an initial time investment that many small business owners often can not allocate. A business plan also requires knowledge of the competition and detailed information about business areas which the entrepreneur may not have the experience to address.

To overcome some of the hurdles associated with business planning one can take some initial steps that will help move the process forward. First, use a blank business plan template and fill in information in each section with the key points that are known and identify the areas where knowledge is lacking. From that point forward the entrepreneur has in front of them both their strengths and their weaknesses. Formalizing those points in writing is a key step to eventually obtaining what is needed for a strong business plan. The next step is to resource externally via a range of resources--- whether it is hiring an employee, seeking a partner, or finding a mentor or consultant.

Networking whether online or out in the field can be very helpful to business owners in filling in business plan gaps. Networking is a fairly easy way to identify individuals and resources without much commitment. Once a resource or individual is identified take the time to qualify their experience and skills. Build the relationship gradually through some low level projects that test them and which will lead to greater involvement. Over time the gaps in the business plan will be filled or firmed up, making it more of a refinement process as opposed to becoming a stressful exercise in writing that usually has limited value.

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