Your small business plan template is a great way to walk through the planning steps and determine the resources needed to create your successful business.
We're continuing with our discussion about the free business plan template I've provided --
. . . This specific plan is a good option for small and/or home-based businesses who are not requesting financing, do not have extensive expenses, and/or are not pursuing a complex patent. Some of those business types definitely require a much more robust business plan.
As you plan for your small business, it is natural to want to focus in on "how much money do I need to get started?"
While money is certainly important, there are several other resources to consider. Some of the resources you may already have because you are already enthusiastic about your business idea and you want to invest the time, energy, and experience growing your business.
Here we're going to continue our discussion of how to fill-out the small business plan template from the previous pages. If you want to start at another section, click the links below:
As we work through the small business plan template, the next section we want to work on is identifying the specific resources we both have available and those needed to help our business be successful.
This is where you can identify specifically everything you already possess (which could be most of what you need) to start your business. And you'll also want to ask yourself,
"What do I still need to get my business started
or keep it operating through the year?"
The answers to this question will provide you with some direction in either starting your business or keeping your young business on the right track.
We'll discuss the resources section in reverse order since the answers to the various sections lead us to conclusions and the ability to answer the all important funding question.
As I've stated previously, I always leave the financial/funding portion of the business plan towards the very end of my planning process. This gives me the opportunity to fully organize my thoughts about what is really required throughout each section, figure out the costs involved, and then calculate the funds needed once I've thought through every aspect of my business.
Training is such an important asset for any business owner! One area of an effective small business plan template you'll want to explore is "What training do I need to get my business started or move it to the next phase?"
Your training needs may be in learning a specific skill, such as massage skills or dog grooming skills. In this case, you'll want to identify a school where they teach you how to groom an animal, what types of tools you'll need to provide this service, and allow you some "hands-on" time doing the specific tasks.
In addition, there may be
certifications and/or licenses required in order to do this type of
business. Determine whether you can obtain these certifications through
your training source or whether you'll be required to pass an exam
through a regulatory agency before you can open your business. Make
sure your training will appropriately satisfy specific education
requirements to obtain these certifications or licenses.
. . . Another type of training which could be helpful is learning basic business skills to ensure you understand how to operate your business on a day-to-day basis. It can be very common for new entrepreneurs to have a terrific skill, their customers want their products/services, but the new owner doesn't understand how to operate a business.
Of course, training may be formal through a community college, university (both online or attending campus classes), or online courses from a specialty school.
It may be as simple as volunteering for an organization to get experience or working with a mentor in an ongoing business to learn specific skills from someone who is already successful in your field.
And don't be intimidated by this portion of the small business plan template. It is a guide to help you identify next action steps. I personally have started a successful business while working on the required training for my business. Your energy will make it worth the effort! :)
As I plan my resource section on the small business plan template, I take a look at the equipment and products I'll need for my business.
For example, does your business require a computer/tablet/smartphone? Other office equipment or software? Specialty tools? If so, what do you currently have -- write it down under the Resources Available section.
you are in the process of personally designing a product to solve a
problem for your customers, you may want to contact a patent attorney
for legal advice. Keep in mind a small business plan template may not be
the correct tool for planning the patenting process and design
roll-out. This is generally a much more time consuming process -- you
may be able to use this format initially to get started and then move to
another format as you plan for your business.
In many cases, you may already be involved (in some capacity) with the industry where you're wanting to start your business. In this case, there's a good chance you already have some of the specialty equipment required to start your business.
Some small businesses, such as online business ideas, allow you to start your business with the tool you are on right now, your computer!!!
You may already own a vehicle, like a truck or trailer, which will support your new mobile or service business idea. Write down the resources you already have on your small business plan template.
. . . Or maybe you can find a used piece of equipment to minimize your start-up costs. One of my good friends purchased a used van for his carpet cleaning business when he started -- this was a terrific way to get him into the business with relatively low start-up costs. A new van could have cost him $20,000+ more to get his business started than what he paid initially! That's a huge savings for a small business.
Make a list of everything you will need to start your business, do some online research (starting at Business-Ideas-Connection), and other industry sites. :)
From my experience, I find it's easier to start small and not buy all the bells and whistles up-front. This was a lesson I had to learn -- I always wanted to 'buy everything possible' prior to getting started!
One of my first businesses, I got caught up in buying every office supply I could think of to 'get organized'. Only to find out later, much of what I purchased was not necessary and I did not use. Be careful not to get caught in this trap -- sometimes the "fun things" are not always the "necessary items" to purchase for a business.
Accounting software, for example, is not usually fun to buy. But it may be a necessity for your business if you plan to handle your own accounting.
Also, as you begin your 'trial' marketing' program, use that time to determine what additional resources you'll really need to meet your business requirements. Go back to your small business plan template and adjust as you learn more about your business and the resources that will be helpful to grow your business.
Finally, I get to the funding required to support my business
idea. This is one of the most critical portions of the small business plan template.
Again, many times I'll even postpone this last portion until after I've done my Marketing and Financial sections of the worksheet since many of your costs will come from these two areas.
You can go ahead and jump to those sections now . . .
After I've completed those sections, I come back to this section. This is where the "rubber meets the road" in deciding what funds will be required to start or implement your business plan.
Here's where you make your tally -- it's basic math. Add the following to your funding requirements:
Capture the total in the funding section.
how much money do you need to live on while the business gets started?
Or do you plan to continue working your job and build your business
One thing to keep in mind, is the resources section of the small business plan template is very dynamic and has a lot of moving parts to it.
. . . So don't get discouraged if you are updating this section often. That's what it's for and what you should be doing!!
Your business plan is a WORKING DOCUMENT -- it isn't a document to do and put in the drawer! LOL! Use it! Cross it out! Add information as it becomes know! Delete information that appears to be obsolete! Etc.
This is effective use of your business plan . . .
Successful businesses continually refer to their business plan to make certain they are heading in the direction they planned and are on target. If not, your specialty food business might turn into a gift basket business without you even realizing it . . . LOL! :)