A Business Plan can be the single-most important tool in getting your business off the ground. It will help you define your goals, keep you on target, get financing, manage your growth, and more. (See: The Parts of the Plan)
Because the Business Plan is so important, it is essential that you get it right. There is no value to a “fix it as you go” approach. Opportunities lost with early versions may not be available again.
There is a good supply of resources available to help you design and refine your Business Plan before it gets that final “stamp of approval.” Some examples:
- Self-Directed Research
Actual examples of business plans can be studied in business books found at bookstores and libraries – especially the business libraries of local colleges. The Web is also a good source of information.
- Meet with a Mentor
A mentor is someone with hands-on experience. They may be small-business owners, vendors, professionals, teachers, and so on.
- The U.S. Small Business Association (SBA), through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships, helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Specifically, the Small Business Planner section of its Website offers information and resources valuable at any stage of the business lifecycle.
- SCORE (Service Corps Of Retired Executives), a nonprofit group, has over 11,000 working and retired executives and business owners who donate their time and expertise as business counselors. They provide free and confidential business advice, counseling and workshops for both start-up and in-business entrepreneurs. The local chapter is: SCORE Philadelphia #046
105 N. 22nd Street 1st Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (215) 231-9880
- The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (PA SBDC) has a network of 18 university-based centers and more than ninety outreach locations. Two of its local centers are:
- Entrepreneur Works offers entrepreneurs one-on-one technical assistance, business training and networking opportunities.
111 S. Independence Mall East, Suite 810
The Bourse Building
Philadelphia, PA 19106
- Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians (WCNP) provides training opportunities including English for Entrepreneurs, business development clinics, and one-on-one business advice, as well as connecting business owners to other resources.
1617 John F. Kennedy Blvd. 13th Floor Suite 555
Philadelphia, PA 19103
- The Women’s Opportunities Resource Center provides entrepreneurial training, business assistance, and access to business and financial resources, primarily to economically disadvantaged women and their families.
2010 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104