Why Write a Business Plan ?
Writing a business plan is difficult and time consuming and you may be tempted to farm it out to someone else. In a word: Don’t. Your business plan not only provides you with a way of explaining your business to others and a road map of your future, but the act of writing it will help you to clarify your ideas. Your business consultant from the University of Scranton Small Business Development Center will work with you to guide you through the process of writing your own plan.
Start your plan with a mission statement. This should be more than a basic “I will sell widgets” statement. It should instead state the grand scheme of your business. Rather than just selling widgets, perhaps your mission is to “Market a full line of sturdy, affordable widgets that will fill every widget need existing today.”
The Scranton SBDC has lots of resources available to help you with your business plan, from books to software to free information from the government. Take advantage of these resources and take your time. This plan will be the foundation on which you business is built.
Remember, most businesses don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.
So first off, ask yourself:
Is there a need for this type of business?
Just because you’ve never seen a business like the one you want to open doesn’t mean it’s a niche waiting to be filled. Could be you’ve got an idea without a market. If you can’t find any similar businesses in your area, you might question whether your idea is in the right place at the right time.
If you do find similar businesses in the area, some questions to ask
Can I do a better job providing this service or product than these
Is the area saturated with this particular type of business?
Is there something different that I can provide to make my
business stand out from the competition?
Can I afford to start this business?
It takes money to start a business and, unless you have a rich relative ready to finance you, that money isn’t always easy to come by.
A service business is least expensive to start up. Next costly is a retail business, then wholesaling, then manufacturing.
A good rule of thumb if your looking for financing to start your business is to have 30% of the total project cost in liquid assets. Banks typically will only finance 70% of a new project cost, and they will want collateral for that amount. Because it is a new business it is considered risky, so banks will want to see that you are willing to take a risk just as they are.
The most import thing to remember when attempting to finance your business is you will be required to have a good credit history.
Smart entrepreneurs open businesses they already have some expertise in. This doesn’t mean, however, you have to open a business identical to the job you want to quit. Perhaps you are passionate about a hobby that would lend itself to a small business. (A wood-working shop? A fishing guide service? Could you build a better something or other than already exists for your hobby?)
Also think about what skills and personality traits you would bring to a business. If you never met a person you didn’t like, then you have at least one quality it takes to succeed in the service industry. If you’re super-organized, you might have a career in helping other people get organized, or maybe you could be an event planner. If you’ve got a magic touch with animals, perhaps there’s a kennel in your future.
Finally, be sure to think about what you most enjoy doing. Starting your own business is tough and time-consuming and if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t succeed.
Funding support and resources are provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Department of
Community and Economic Development; through a cooperative agreement with the U. S. Small Business Administration,
and through support from the University of Scranton. All services are extended to the public on a non-discriminatory
basis. Special arrangements for persons with disabilities can be made by calling 570-941-7588. All opinions, conclusions
or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.