Like I have mentioned before you can outsource your business plan writing to an online, professional business plan writer, and pay thousands of dollars, or you can write your business plan yourself, for free. You may know that I think writing your business plan is an important exercise that every business owner should work through; however, you may be more interested in crafting a great business plan for the least amount of dollars. I can understand that, so today I want to point you to 3 Free Resources that will help you write a pretty sweet business plan.
1. Startupnation Knowledge Hub – This site will provide you with a great foundation before you even start writing your business plan. Check out the Knowledge Hub where you will be able to search for a number of different topics including business plan writing. Here you will find dozens if not hundreds of articles providing you with “expert” advice for your business plan writing endeavor. Don’t take everything they say as gospel though because business plan writing is not an exact science. The various contributors all have different opinions, so read through a few of the articles and make note of the items that come up time and time again. That will give you a strong foundation in which to build your business plan.
2. Business Plan Generator – This sounds a bit strange, and I have not used this myself yet because I just came across it this morning, but it seems to have some good feedback. At the very least this may help you lay a foundation and an outline for your plan. Go to DealHorizon.com and click on the Business Plan Generator link on the right side. Apparently you will submit information about your business and it will generate a basic business plan for free. The sites founder claims that, “Creating a business plan and five-year financial model using DealHorizon.com should take you less than an hour.” Give it a try and let me know what you think. I hope to submit a plan to it myself to test it out in the next week or so.
3. The Small Business Administration – Small business owners tend to misunderstand the role of the SBA. Many even think that they provide grants from small businesses. This probably has to do with those stupid TV commercials that suggest that the government passes out grants to small businesses like candy. Although the SBA does not provide small businesses with grants, they do offer various loan programs, but more importantly they offer access to a number of free resources. If you use the free business plan generator to get started I would suggest comparing your generated plan to the outline provided at Business Plan Outline. Make the necessary improvements to your plan as suggested by the SBA’s outline descriptions, and then take your plan to your local Small Business Development Center SBDC Locator for a free business plan review and one-on-one coaching.
If you make use of these 3 free resources my guess is that you will come away with a professional looking plan, and more importantly a plan that will serve you as a roadmap as you start or grow your business.