The Business Plan: Concept, Customers, Capital
What is a business plan?
Whether you are starting a business or working as an "intrapreneur" in a larger firm, you need to know
- What is your product and what are your goals?
- What and where is your target market and your competition?
- How much will it cost to realize your goals, and how will you get that money?
Writing a business plan can help you define and clarify the value proposition and core competency of your business idea. Writing a business plan involves researching the market and evaluating the potential of your idea. The length of the plan is not as important as its focus and clarity.
You can think of the business plan as "the 3 Cs" - Concept, Customers, and Capital.
Many guides to writing a complete business plan are available in print and online. The U.S. Small Business Administration has a guide to writing business plans and a tutorial to take you through the process on its web site (www.sba.gov). Local and regional Small Business Development Centers also offer materials as well as workshops and individual consultations, and can be found on the same site. These centers can also guide you through the process of legally establishing a business name and fulfilling licensing and tax obligations, activities that often vary by local and state laws.
The business sections of most bookstores and public libraries have many useful guides to writing a business plan.