Starting a Business

Starting and managing a business takes motivation, desire, talent, research, and planning.

To increase your chance for success, take the time up front to explore and evaluate your business and personal goals. Then use this information to build a comprehensive and well thought ┬Čout business plan that will help you reach these goals.

two businesswomen working together

The process of developing a business plan will help you think through some important issues that you may not have considered yet. Your plan will become a valuable tool as you set out to raise money for your business. It should also provide milestones to gauge your success.

A business plan precisely defines your business, identifies your goals, and serves as your firm's resume. The basic components include a current and pro forma balance sheet, an income statement, a market evaluation, a growth and exit strategy, and a cash flow analysis. It helps you allocate resources properly, handle unforeseen complications, and make good business decisions. Because it provides specific and organized information about your company, a good business plan is a crucial part of any loan application.

The importance of a comprehensive, thoughtful business plan cannot be overemphasized. Much hinges on it: outside funding, credit from suppliers, management of your operation and finances, promotion and marketing of your business, and achievement of your goals and objectives.

Despite the critical importance of a business plan, many entrepreneurs drag their feet when it comes to preparing a written document. They argue that their marketplace changes too fast for a business plan to be useful or that they just don't have enough time. But just as a builder won't begin construction without a blueprint, eager business owners shouldn't rush into new ventures without a business plan.

Before you begin writing your business plan, consider four 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?

Many resources are available to help an entrepreneur who is just getting started. The links below will provide you with more detailed information.