Issue: September/October 2010
Entrepreneur's Toolkit: Building a Business Plan
’s Gary Green and Alissa Harvey went to every seminar with their 35-page business plan. Everyone else just had “ideas written on napkins,” Green says. But it takes more than a lot of pages to impress financiers and propel your idea into production.
→ Adapt to changes.
“Your business plan is not a term paper,” says Beth Fitz Gibbon, COO of JumpStart Community Advisors. “It’s a strategic and operational plan that becomes a living document to guide you on your journey to success. Review it and update it quarterly.”
→ Enlist a copy editor.
“Your plan should be streetable, representing you professionally,” Fitz Gibbon says. “Ensure it is well-written, flawlessly free of typos and visually attractive.”
→ Do your research.
“Provide all relevant information, backed up with facts and figures, and footnote your sources,” Fitz Gibbon advises. Harvey’s favorite database is referenceusa.com, which helped AORT find out that there are 9,000 motorcycle dealers in America and that the aftermarket industry is a $40 billion business. Another great place to start: jumpstartinc.org/resources
→ Find some help.
“Once you’ve drafted your plan, look for feedback, guidance and mentoring,” Fitz Gibbon says. Then she recommends asking yourself, “What nonprofit and state, local and national government groups, incubators or university resources are available to help me learn, to coach me through the stages of development?”
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