How Do I Write A Business Plan?
Answer: There are several sources of help and outlines for writing a business plan. Currently most business plans are written using computer software programs. These programs generally ask questions and the client succinctly and clearly answers questions applicable to his/her business. These programs include a financial section, however unless the client has some accounting understanding help is usually required. There are a number of reasonable priced business plan software products on the market that can be purchased and installed on you personal computer. Or a person can use a good outline and a word processor for the narrative section and a spreadsheet program for the financial section.
Regardless of which approach you elect to use for writing the plan, you should first do an in-depth study about the business you are planning to start or to purchase. You need to determine if there is a market niche for the service or product to be provided, learn who are the competitors, and review your team’s management skills. For help in getting preplanning information go to Markets and Competition. For recommended websites covering the whole range of small business sources, visit Info Links - Useful Small Business Websites.
Many business libraries have good business plan programs on their computers, which are free to the public user.
The Carnegie Library - Downtown & Business, 612 Smithfield Street, Pittsburgh, has computers with business plan software. The reference librarians can also provide support material for your plan.
The Carnegie Library - Squirrel Hill Namm Business Center, 5801 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, also has a business librarian and access to business plan software and library resources.
The library also has a large inventory of sample business plans many of which are available online.
A SCORE counselor is available for walk-ins on a first come first served basis from 10a.m. to 2p.m. on the following days:
- Squirrel Hill Namm Business Center, first Monday of each month
- Downtown Business Department, third Thursday of each month.
There are many Internet websites that can provide you business plan outlines. One of the best sources is the Small Business Administration's website.
SCORE offers an online workshop titled Develop a Business Plan.