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

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

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: December 13, 2012 Updated: August 18, 2015

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.

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
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