Your Business Plan is a written document that spells out your business goals, why you think those goals are attainable, and how you intend to go about achieving them. Most importantly, your business plan should be a living document; something you continue to refine and update as your business grows.
Your business plan is a tool for communication, management, and planning. As a communication tool it will be used to convince others to commit resources, whether they are family, friends, or investors. As a management tool the plan enables you to track the progress of your venture. A good plan includes goals and benchmarks so you can compare your accomplishments to the projections you made. As the name implies, the business plan, is ultimately a planning tool used to spell out the steps your business will take to achieve success. Putting your strategy for success in writing also helps you think through potential obstacles and develop ways to for overcome them.
Hundreds of "how-to" guides have been written to steer aspiring entrepreneurs and existing business people through the process of writing a business plan. Some of our favorites include:
A number of organizations and resources in the High Country provide assistance in writing and refining a business plan:
Appalachian State University Center for Entrepreneurship
This center offers business startup workshops with mentoring and support provided by the university and local successful entrepreneurs.
Blue Ridge Business Development Center (BDC)
The BDC offers tailor-made training, business counseling services, incubation space, and flexible physical space in the form of offices, work stations, meeting facilities and potential small building sites. Free internet access is available.
Caldwell Community College Small Business Center
The Small Business Center Offers a wide variety of seminars and workshops to help small business be successful. Also available is a library of professional resources including books, pamphlets,magazines, and trade journals, as well as tapes, videos, DVDs, and CD-Roms.
NC Department of Commerce Business ServiCenter
Provides: One-on-one client consultations, Customized licensing including employer forms and business structure information, Referrals to local, state, federal agencies and occupational licensing boards, Identification of other business resources, and a small business ombudsman to resolve issues with government agencies.
Service Corp of Retired Executives (SCORE)
Offers counseling and seminars for entrepreneur education. Counselors are experts in such areas as accounting, finance marketing, management and business plan preparation. They guide clients through the logical, step-by-step development of a new business idea into a startup or an existing business challenge/opportunity to a plan of action.
Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC)
Business and development services provided include: management counseling and education, business research, government procurement, export financing, and technology commercialization.
U.S. Small Business Administration
SBA programs and services support you, the small business person. Learn about SBA-backed loans, government contracting opportunities, disaster assistance and training programs to help your business succeed.