2023 Business Success Begins with a Plan Now
5 Dec 2022
Have an idea for a fantastic product that would fill a need in your local community? Or can you offer a service that fits an unmatched need? Opportunities to start a business in Wadena County are being supported more than ever in 2023. But understanding where to begin is a primary reason entrepreneurs never get their start.
The best first step to take now is to write a business plan and get that idea moving forward in 2023. Now is the perfect time to start, as December is National Write a Business Plan Month. The Economic Alliance knows there are many terrific business ideas among the residents of Wadena County. The content below will help guide you through creating a business plan and provide access to the critical resources ready to help give direction, facilitate networking and navigate the steps to secure essential financing and other operational tools.
What Is a Business Plan?
A business plan precisely defines your business, identifies your goals, and serves as your company’s resume. It shows all interested parties — employees, investors, partners and yourself — that you are committed to building the business. Creating a plan forces you to think through and select strategies to propel your growth, including market research to support your plans. The essential components of a business plan include a current and pro forma balance sheet, an income statement and a cash flow analysis.
Why You Need a Business Plan
A business plan helps you properly allocate resources, handle unforeseen complications, and make sound business decisions. A good business plan is crucial to any loan application because it provides specific and organized information about your company and how you will repay borrowed money. Additionally, the plan can inform sales personnel, suppliers, and others about your operations and goals. A business plan is for more than just startups. It is a living document that needs to be updated annually as your company grows and changes.
Components of a Typical Business Plan
The following are some of the chief parameters of a quality business plan, based on guidelines provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for creating a business plan. Breaking it down into several components and working on it step-by-step can help make drafting a more manageable task.
- Write a brief statement on the business, including a mission statement, current location, staff and financial information
- Write a detailed description of the business, its goals, products or services and how they will resolve marketplace issues
Organization and management
- Discuss the ownership of the enterprise and the legal structure
- Skills and experience you or your staff bring to the business
- Explain the anticipated daily business management procedures
- Discuss hiring and personnel procedures
- Discuss insurance, lease, or rent agreements, and issues pertinent to your business
Marketing and sales
- Identify the customer demand for your product/ service
- Identify your market, its size, and locations
- Explain how your product/service will be advertised and marketed
- Explain the pricing strategy
- Include financial projections and funding requests necessary over a set timeframe
- Develop a monthly operating budget for the first year
- Develop an expected return on investment (ROI) and monthly cash flow for the first year
- Account for production estimates and delivery of products and services
- Summarize your business goals and objectives and express your commitment to the success of your business
Business plan resources
The Economic Alliance’s Business Planning resource is an excellent database of area experts in assisting entrepreneurs and small businesses with their business needs.
The North Central Region Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Central Lakes College offers confidential and free counseling for every stage of business development. Email the SBDC director Rebecca Rowe or call (218) 855-8145.
For additional assistance with your business plan, you can start by reviewing “A Guide to Starting a Business in Minnesota” from the Small Business Assistance Office of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
In addition to its Business Plan Tool, the SBA’s online, self-paced course on How to Write a Business Plan is an excellent resource for learning more about putting your business plan together. The course explains the importance of business planning, describes plan components and provides access to resources and sample plans.
Now is the time!
Whether you have an established business or expect to start one, a business plan is critical to meeting your goals. Once you have a draft of your business plan, review it with a colleague or contact the resources above. Once that step is complete, and if you require financing, make an appointment to review and discuss it with your banker. As the year progresses, review the business plan and decide if changes are necessary.
At the Alliance, we are committed to making our communities the best place to do business through a variety of resources to help you start, retain and expand your business. If you are interested in one-on-one business consultation, please email us or call (218) 837-5950.