Consider the following four tips to improve your process before you begin the develop a business plan:
Assess Your Capabilities
Early in your business plan preparation process you should step back and assess your own capabilities to create the business plan. Remember that the writing process includes phases of research, strategy, financial planning, writing and revision. If you are weak in any of these areas, you can seek writing and consulting help to assist. Although contracting any type of outside help will mean spending money (which may be tight during this startup phase), it is a cost you cannot avoid if you need the help. The alternatives may be to create a plan which has no chance of getting funded or to never complete it in the first place.
Use a Template
If you resolve to work without the help of a business plan writer or consultant, at least start with a business plan template, or learn how to build a business plan. The template should start you on the right foot with a detailed outline of the business plan and a financial model to work within.
Don’t Be Afraid to Share
During the business plan development process, don’t be afraid to share your ideas and writing to date with friends, family, and potential mentors. Mentors can be other entrepreneurs, business owners, professors, or advisors at SBDCs (small business development centers). If no one else hears your ideas and gives feedback, you are developing your plan in a vacuum and perhaps with any reality check on your concepts. The chance of someone stealing your idea is very low.
Set Goals and Track Progress
Once you’ve outlined the sections of your business plan and mapped out the process of creating the plan in general terms, you should take the extra steps to create a schedule with goals for where you will be every day or week going forward. This type of schedule will depend to a large extent on whether you are creating the business plan part-time or full-time, but the intent is the same. You should be able to move yourself forward through this sometimes arduous process by breaking the project into small, manageable pieces.
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