Business Planning and Development

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Old 06-07-2011
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Default Do I really need a business plan?
I am so confused. I understand the reason behind a business plan and why its needed, but everytime I try to write it out I go blank. Maybe I just don't know what I'm doing when it come to a business plan. I have looked it up and got a templete and guide, but I just can't get to words right or know what to say since I have no idea what to put on it. I need help.
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Old 06-07-2011
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Default Re: Do I really need a business plan?
Hi Lori,

It sounds as if you're really struggling with doing a business plan but it's great that you've made the commitment to do one.A couple of tips that might help is that unless you're using the business plan to get financing from a bank, it really is something you're doing just for you and your business. Don't worry so much about doing things right but concentrate more on what is right for your business. There also are some sites out there that offer simplified versions of business plans that also might be easier to help get you started.

There is also a thread here about business plans, good luck!
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Old 06-07-2011
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Default Re: Do I really need a business plan?
I think it's important to write one, even informally, in order to help define the vision and goals of your business. Instead of trying to formulate clear, concise thoughts why not brainstorm at first and literally write whatever comes in to your head. It doesn't have to make sense right off the bat, just unload ideas. You must have some kind of vision or ideas about how you want your business to grow and why you are doing it, so start with that. Once you have something on paper you can go back and refine it. I found by doing this, it unearthed thoughts and ideas that I hadn't first considered and helped to give my business a clearer purpose and direction. Definitely worth the effort. Good luck.
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Old 06-07-2011
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Default Re: Do I really need a business plan?
I'd add to the good comments here that a biz plan is a map that shows where you want to go and how you're going to get there. So the first thing to do is to get really clear on what you want (e.g., how much money do you want to make, where do you want to live, what do you want to achieve, etc.). Once your dream is down in black-and-white, then the rest of the plan is a matter of specifying what you will do to get there.
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Old 06-07-2011
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Default Re: Do I really need a business plan?
Also, be sure to check out today's conversation on our Facebook page in response to your thread.
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Old 06-07-2011
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Default Re: Do I really need a business plan?
I agree with Linda. Don't start off worried about form. Just brainstorm and take notes.

It's incredibly useful. I was near launching when I got an offer for some short-term work that I couldn't refuse. When I returned to my own business I was able to use the plan to get back to where I was. When I start getting cold feet about something, like spending money for advertising, my plan reminds me that I budgeted for it. It also reminds me of the schedule of advertising that I have planned and what industries I will target each advertising cycle.

I was able to get free help writing my plan--invaluable! Check out your area to see if anything is available from SCORE or some small business organization.

Good luck,

Leanne
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Old 06-08-2011
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Default Re: Do I really need a business plan?
You should have a plan, however detailed or not. This will help you see what areas need to be fleshed out and give you a guide to success. Most people write there plans and forget about them, however they should be a living document to use as you grow.

You plan does not need to be formal but should address your target, ideal client, competition, services, budget and most importantly marketing. I also include a section in mine for professional development.

SCORE or the SBA is a great place to start however check out local colleges to see if they provide any type of entrepreneurial services. I am lucky to live so close to Pittsburgh where we have some great colleges and the big ones have different types of entrepreneur programs that provide mentors, education and development.
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Old 06-09-2011
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Default Re: Do I really need a business plan?
SCORE huh? I will have to check them out. I need some assistance as well with coming up with a business plan.
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Old 06-09-2011
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Default Re: Do I really need a business plan?
I found this checklist extrememly helpful to get the thought process moving along: http://www.virtualassistantforums.co...checklist-1666 After I had worked on the checklist, I was confident enough to write a business plan. I found one online and used the parts that were relevant to my small business.
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Old 07-05-2011
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Default Re: Do I really need a business plan?
Thank you Chela for posting this link. As someone who is new to this I am also nervous about the plan and love the idea of having this checklist to keep me focused.
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