Starting a business – Step 3 (planning)

In Steps 1 and 2, I advocated getting lots of advice – from free publicly subsidized sources, from the internet, and from the marketplace. Now, I’m going to be an advocate for business planning. BUT – it is not necessarily a one size fits all deal. Simply put, a business plan is nothing more than a systematic, thoughtful consideration of the key aspects of your business, from marketing to capital, from costs to produce to employees. I recommend it first and foremost to do it for yourself. It also is a critical document and/or slide deck when you’re trying to raise money…either from a bank or investors. So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite resources for business plans and business planning:

  1. SBA – How to Write A Business Plan (SBA’s 3 min. overview video, embedded above)
  2. Wikipedia – Business plan (good written overview of what a business plan is)
  3. SBA/Palo Alto – Developing a Successful Business Plan (free online course given by Tim Berry)
  4. Sequoia Capital – Developing a Business Plan (three articles w/Venture Capital perspective)
  5. StartmeUpVideo – Examples and Best Practices of Business Planning (15 min. interview with Tim Gedeon)
  6. docstocTV – 10 Key Questions to Address: Business Plans (9 min. video on key bullet points of business plans/planning)
  7. UC Berkeley – How to Write a Business Plan (hour long video presentation from 2010 on nuts and bolts)
  8. SBA – How to Write A Business Plan (content hub for components of business plan; each section has other articles…good)
  9. SBA – Create a Business Plan (place to register to get access to SBA’s free Business Plan Tool)
  10. SBA – Two Sample Business Plans (two sample plans, have to cut and paste the first link, but it works)
  11. Forbes (Patrick Lull) – 10 Essential Business Plan Components (blog post, very brief overview)
  12. Inc (Elisabeth Wasserman) – How to Write a Great Business Plan (more detailed overview, further links allow to go deeper)
  13. Inc – How to Structure a Business Plan (content hub with links to 30 relevant articles)
  14. Inc – Business Plans (Pinterest-type links to all articles in Inc relating to business planning)
  15. Bplans – Business Planning Guide (Palo Alto Software’s content hub, 500+ templates, free tool, detailed instructions)
  16. Wikihow – How to Write a Business Plan (medium level of detail, 2 min. video overview)
  17. SCORE – Business Planning and Financial Statements Template Gallery (more than 30 resources)
  18. Entrepreneur – Business Plan Templates (20+ downloadable resources)
  19. Entrepreneur – Top 10 Business Plan Mistakes (self explanatory)
  20. WSJ – Why Business Plans Don’t Deliver (post on 5 most common flaws in business plans)

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