The first step in starting a business should be planning. Just as a home builder won’t start a project without blueprints, you shouldn’t start a business without a plan. Putting together a business plan is something many entrepreneurs dread, but they can be fun to write, especially with the great software that is available today.
While many people only write a business plan because the bank won’t loan them money until a business plan is submitted, the real benefit is getting the ideas out of the entrepreneur's head and creating a roadmap of where they want the business to go.
There are three options to writing a business plan.
1. Write it from scratch - There are a number of free business plan templates that are helpful such as one from the Small Business Administration or our Business Plan Template.
For some inspiration to help you get started, take a look at these sample business plans.
2. Software programs – Software is available to provide guidance in developing a business plan. These programs provide guidance and samples from hundreds of industries to jumpstart the writing process. A few popular programs:
3. Hire a business plan writer - We recommend that the entrepreneur write their own plan as no one will write a business plan as well as the owner, but sometimes there isn't time to get it all done. Expect to spend $1,200 - $3,000 for a quality plan.