The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) From business plan apps you can download to organizations that will freely help you develop a concrete strategy, there is plenty of help available to help you on the road to business ownership.
Thinking of starting a business? Working for yourself is awesome, but it can also be a risky prospect: Your income depends upon your success, and many small businesses fail.
One of the key things that sets successful companies apart from those that don’t make it is a solid plan for success. A business plan can create a roadmap to profitability and business growth, but it’s up to you to create a detailed plan.
A business plan will help guide your decisions as you start your company, will give you an idea of whether the business is viable, and will help you to qualify for loans or attract investors — but making a plan isn’t as simple as it seems.
If you’re thinking of starting a company, or if you have a start-up but no business plan in place, these three categories of resources can provide you with invaluable help.
1. Free (and low cost) consultants
Talking with experts who understand the business planning process is a surefire way to make a solid business plan. The good news is that this doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. There are even some free sources of professional advice you can tap into.
Organizations that can help with your business plan include:
* SCORE: Formerly the Service Corps of Retired Executives, SCORE is a nonprofit network of more than 10,000 volunteers willing to serve as expert business mentors. You can get paired with a professional in your area willing to offer advice on business planning, take interactive online training courses on developing a business plan, or attend a live webinar.