Starting a business? Take my word for it — you don't need a business plan. Oh, and while we're at it, I have a nice bridge I can let you have at a very good price...
Well, you don't have to have a business plan — maybe — if you have plenty of cash and don't mind doing without a few things. But here's what the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) website suggests as why you might want one: We'll Need to See Your Business Plan..."Many factors critical to business success depend upon your plan: outside funding, credit from suppliers, management of your operation and finances, promotion and marketing of your business, and achievement of your goals and objectives." (More information is available here.)
Of course sometimes there are other things you can do with your business plan. Like compete in our SIBL New York StartUP! Business Plan Competition (in 2011, the top prize on offer is $15,000). Right now we're in the final stages of the 2011 competition, and expect the winners to be selected soon. They should be announced around September 12th. And the whisper on the street is there will be another competition for 2012 (check our website after mid-September for important dates and other information).
So where do you start? Luckily there are lots of books which will explain how you can draft your business plan. In the NYPL collection, we have many circulating books on that topic. Just search our catalog to get a list and, if you feel like it, come on down to SIBL and browse these titles.
In addition, we have some series of "start-up" guides, their titles beginning with phrases such as: How to Start and Manage....; Start Your Own....; How to Open and Operate....; How to Start a Home-Based....; and Start and Run a..... Besides background information about a type of business, these books offer help creating a business plan, including in some a template or example business plan.
But the best business plan resource we have, the one we recommend most often, is the set of model plans from actual businesses found in the Business Plans Handbook, a multiple volume set of books here at SIBL. These business plans are also available online in the Small Business Resource Center database from Gale (available from home with an NYPL library card). This series provides an extensive selection of different types of businesses, many of them suitable for the budding entrepreneur. Whether or not they find an exact fit for their own business idea, most of our readers are able to use these to find a plan very close to the kind of business they are considering. So... give it a try.
Resource: Two pages from a model business plan for a pet sitting business. Visit Small Business Resource Center for a complete version of this plan.