This blog post was written by Lynn Weinstein, Business Reference and Research Specialist in the Science & Business Reading Room.
December has become an opportunity to write or adjust your business plan before the new year. “Write A Business Plan Month” is an annual reminder that to achieve your entrepreneurial ambitions, you need to create and maintain a roadmap. A business plan can help you identify goals, set a path to attract new partners, explain your business to a bank, or recognize trends that may affect your enterprise in the coming year. The Business Section maintains a guide, Small Business Hub: A Research Guide for Entrepreneurs to serve as a virtual space where you can learn about the steps for starting and growing a small business. Included in this guide is a section, “Plan Your Business” which highlights how you might go about writing a business plan.
A go-to resource in our library is Business Plans Handbook: A Compilation of Actual Business Plans Developed by Small Businesses Throughout North America. We have this resource in print and as a paid online subscription accessible to patrons on site. In this source, you will find business plans for traditional professional and retail services, like accounting practices, restaurants, and boutiques. You will also find business plans for newer opportunities like Etsy retailers, 3-D printers, crowdfunding websites, exotic car rental establishments, and senior concierge services. The plans generally include an executive summary, a strategic and market analysis, a marketing plan, and a financial plan from actual small businesses. The title also includes a glossary of small business terms and a listing of organizations, agencies, and consultants of interest to entrepreneurs. If you cannot make it to the Library of Congress, check with your local academic, public or special library, as this reference may be available at a library near you!
One federal agency of interest to entrepreneurs is the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The agency has district offices throughout the country to assist you in building your small business. The SBA has information on their website on how to develop traditional and lean startup business plans. It includes downloadable examples and templates in English and Spanish.
For additional books and websites that offer guidance on creating business plans, including detailed strategies and examples, refer to our Entrepreneur’s Reference Guide to Small Business Information. On the the guide’s “Getting Started” page, see the “Business Planning” tab. In this section, for instance, we feature The Business Plan Workbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating and Developing a Successful Business.
Whether you are just starting a business or are a seasoned entrepreneur, a comprehensive business plan can guide your decision making, attract new resources, assist you in navigating challenges, and allow your business to thrive. A well-structured business plan can be a roadmap to success. Take this opportunity to craft a plan to achieve your business goals in the coming year!
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