STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – A business plan is not only important for starting your business, it’s also an indispensable tool for helping you manage and grow your enterprise.
SCORE Staten Island, an organization providing cost-free mentoring and education to both aspiring and established entrepreneurs, describes a business plan as a road map for the operation of a company.
“A business plan is essential if you intend to request funding from outside sources,” said John Amodio, SCORE Staten Island first vice-chair and business mentor. “It spells out specific details about your business related to business concept, marketplace, and financials.”
The length of a business plan can depend on the complexity and scale of your business. Even short one-page business plans have purpose and can affect success, according to experts.
Despite the benefits, too many entrepreneurs make the mistake of not preparing a business plan.
“That’s not terribly surprising,” Amodio said, “because writing one can seem a daunting task. It requires time, careful thought, research, and patience as you define your business’s critical success factors and goals.”
If you are intimidated by the thought of writing a business plan, you should know the benefits are well worth the effort, SCORE Staten Island small-business advisers say.
According to Amodio and other expert business mentors at SCORE Staten Island, the value of a business plan isn’t so much in the document you create, but the discovery process you embark upon to create it.
“As you work on your business plan, you answer key questions about your business that you may not have otherwise considered,” Amodio explained. “That can help you recognize risks and opportunities — and better position you for success.”
To make writing your business plan less intimidating, SCORE Staten Island suggests the following four tips:
If you tackle it in smaller bits and pieces, the project will be more manageable. Schedule time to work on it.
You’ll feel less stressed about it if you reserve time on your calendar to dedicate to it.
Although business plan templates and software can’t do it all for you, they can save time. Consider using SBA’s online Business Plan Tool and the full range of free business planning tools and templates that SCORE offers.
As you work on the different sections of your business plan, ask a SCORE mentor or other unbiased business professional to review it and provide suggestions for improvement and clarity.
Even though writing a business plan will require effort, it doesn’t have to be a harrowing experience.
“Follow the tips shared here, and keep your eye on the prize.” Amodio said, “With a business plan, you’ll be better able to move your business in the right direction from the start and navigate changes more easily in the future.”
About SCORE Staten Island
SCORE Staten Island is dedicated to fostering a vibrant small-business community within its borough by providing cost-free mentoring and education to both aspiring and established entrepreneurs. Headquartered at 950 West Fingerboard Road., Grasmere, in the iconic Staten Island Advance Building, the organization is Chapter 476 of the nationwide SCORE, a nonprofit association and resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). For additional information, or to schedule an appointment, SCORE Staten Island may be visited at statenisland.score.org; telephoned at 718-727-1221; emailed at info@SCORESI.org, and visited on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SCOREofStatenIsland.