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Need Help Building a Business Plan? SBA's Online Tool Can Help You Get Started

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Need Help Building a Business Plan? SBA's Online Tool Can Help You Get Started

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: December 13, 2012 Updated: January 3, 2014

Having a business plan is a must for small business owners, but finding the time to put pen to paper often means putting them on hold until the very last minute, such as right before that big meeting with a loan officer or bank manager.

But business planning does not have to be that way.

Every smart entrepreneur and business owner should already have a firm grasp of key information about their business and on what will influence the path they take and decisions they make over the course of 1-3 years.

Putting this information together into a concrete plan is essential if you want to secure a business loan or outside financing, of course.  But the planning and mental exercise of writing it down is just as important to the success of your business. Writing a plan will not only help you succeed, but it will open your eyes to what it’s going to take to get there.

One of the big challenges for smaller businesses is actually building a business plan. What format should it take? What numbers should you pull together to demonstrate that you have a rock solid financial foundation?

SBA has just launched a new online tool that can help.

“Build a Business Plan” Online Tool

To simplify the process, SBA has just launched a new “Build a Business Plan” online tool that guides small business owners through the process of creating a basic, downloadable business plan. The great thing about this tool is you can build a plan in smaller bites, save your progress and return at your leisure.

To use the tool, you’ll need to be a member of the SBA Community (register here) and then log in. The tool offers a tab-based step-by-step guide that lets you enter information into a template for each section of the business plan, including market analysis, company description and financial projections. The tool is secure and confidential and will keep your plan on record for up to six months. You can also save, download or email the plan at any time.

Business Plan Tool

Business Plan Tool

Business Plan Tool

Discuss Your Plan with a Small Business Advisor

Don’t forget: you can also use your completed business plan to discuss your next steps with a mentor or counselor from an SBA resource partner such as SCORE, a Small Business Development Center or a Women's Business Center.

Then be sure to keep your plan fresh, revisit it, and measure progress against it. As your business grows, your plan – and your benchmarks for success – will grow with it. 

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About the Author:

Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Comments:

Building campaigns through SBA quite effective, I have used and get pretty good results.
it was about time to have this online tool! keep them coming!
It is amazing to note this. Thanks for sharing the information with us.
All successful people men and women are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, that goal or purpose.
i am just wondering if this would be enough to get it work for really raising money? wouldn't investors realise that you are using a tool to get your homework done? Might do it for a loan tough
This looks great. I would like to give this new tool a try. It looks very simple.
very good!   This post was edited to remove a link. Please review our Community Best Practices for more information about how best to participate in our online discussions. Thank you.
This is fantastic! Lots of good elements to implement. The fact that it saves it on a server is great in which you don't have to finish it in one setting. I started writing it on paper and man what a mess. My ideas flowed out of me like water. Sheets of paper were filled instantly then I would branch off on another idea making me go to another piece of paper in a binder. I just started writing a business plan and I didn't have a clue what was involved. I was overwhelmed with all the variables. Once I started to write expenses I soon realized that it takes a lot more money than anticipated. Now I understand why a business plan is so important. As one advisor told me "If you fail to plan, to plan to fail". Jim Eves Automotive     This post was edited to remove a link. Please review our Community Best Practices for more information about how best to participate in our online discussions. Thank you.
It was great to get to know about this helpful tool. I think that successful business plan is extremely important for any business, it’s the basic, that’s why it’s necessary to pay enough attention to that. Some young entrepreneurs do not care enough of the business plan and it’s a mistake, because when you are going to start the business you should focus on every small detail, especially financial. Include different monetary questions like where you will get cash to buy all the necessary things and think of expenses you new business startup require from you. Iris     This post was edited to remove a link. Please review our Community Best Practices for more information about how best to participate in our online discussions. Thank you.

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