A well written business plan will aid you in creating a solid foundation for your business.  A business plan is a document that will help guide you in setting up your business, specifying demographics and the market you want to target, the feasibility of the type of business you want to start, and financial forecasts for the business. Writing a business plan is a necessary and critical step in successfully launching any business.  It will aid you in thinking objectively and critically about the chances of success, what it will take to make it successful, and to helping you keep the business heading in the right direction. The business plan also brings a professionalism to your business and shows others, especially potential investors, that you know what you are doing and will increase your chances of getting what you need to start your business.

The business plan should include an overall summary of your business, who the key players are within your business, company description, product or services offered, organization and management, market analysis and strategies, profit and loss projections, and financials including a cash flow analysis.  

A business plan steers your business in the right direction, defines your goals and objectives, lays out a strategic plan to achieve your goals and helps you avoid potential potholes.  You will set the goals you want to achieve and incorporate strategies to achieve those goals.

The length of a business plan can be short or long and is dependent upon the type of business it is.  What is more pertinent is that the business plan be as comprehensive as possible. Be a critical thinker when writing a business plan.  

Having a well written business plan will force you to be objective rather than just optimistic when trying to determine whether or not to start or expand your business.  You need to take into account the financial picture, business goals and objectives, market analysis and projections, and whether or not your business is viable in the area where you are located.  This is where your desires and dreams meet reality. It is easy to get caught up in your dream or great idea but fail to specifically and objectively look at all the factors involved. A business plan is a necessary step to reducing the chance that you’ll start a business venture that has a low chance to survive.  A great idea might not work in the area where you are located and maybe the numbers just do not make sense. You will want to determine this ahead of time before you invest your time and money into a business only to find out that your efforts were in vain. The information gathered from a business plan will be invaluable in the future of your business. 

Yes. Business owners often mistakenly assume that business plans are only necessary when seeking financing from investors.  A business plan is a blueprint for your business and can be helpful even if you provide the capital for your business.  

A business plan will help businesses stay on track as they grow and become successful.  The business plan will be the guide for the business.

It is extremely unlikely that you can get venture capital financing.  I would recommend getting a product done or service started, gain some traction, get a good management team, and then consider getting venture financing.

  • Inadequate funding or cash flow
  • Having a good business plan
  • Not being personally financially prepared (6-9 months of savings)
  • Coming up with a great product or service
  • Managing your time
  • Consistency and sticking to it
  • Working more than you expected
  • Getting through the frustrations of being constantly rejected by customers
  • Hiring good employees
  • Knowing when to fire bad employees
  • Having to wear so many hats
  • Maintaining some kind of work/life balance
  • Personal funds
  • Credit cards
  • Friends and family
  • Angel investors
  • Equipment loan financing
  • Bank loans/SBA financings
  • Crowdsourcing sites such as Indiegogo.com and Kickstarter.com
  • Venture capitalists

Depending on the nature of the business, you may need the following permits, licenses or regulations:

  • Permits need for regulated businesses (aviation, agriculture, alcohol, etc.)
  • Sales tax license or permit
  • Home-based business permits 
  • City and county business permits or licenses
  • Zoning permit
  • Sellers permit
  • Health department permits (e.g., for restaurants)
  • Federal and State tax/employer ID’s

Your business plan is a living guide that should continue to be developed as your business grows and changes.  Successful business will review and update their business plan when circumstances change. I would suggest setting yourself a reminder to review your business plan regularly.  

If you are going to need financing to start or expand your business, you will need to show banks and potential investors why they should be willing to invest in your business.  Investors and lenders will only be willing to risk their time and money if they are confident that your business will be successful and profitable. A thorough and well-researched business plan shows an investor or lender that you are serious about your business, helps them understand your business concept, and shows them predicted revenues and profits.  This will help them determine if they are willing to take the risk.

A business plan will help you prioritize what is important and will be an invaluable tool in helping you reach your long-term goals.  A business plan will help you steer the ship, and it will help give you direction. It will also help you determine your competitive edge that will set you apart from your competition.  It will help you focus your resources and energy on what you need to do, rather than spreading yourself too thin.

Creative Consulting will first begin by giving you a thorough questionnaire that will help us to write a fantastic business plan for you.  We help you navigate the waters and help you determine if your business concept is a good, viable one that will help you to meet (or exceed) your goals and objectives.  Creative Consultant will complete a thorough market analysis to better determine your target market and demographics, in addition to providing thorough and meticulous financials. 

It’s really up to you, and different types of businesses will have different needs, but meeting with an attorney who is well-versed in legal issues affecting small businesses can be quite valuable. Even if you don’t have specific questions, an attorney can review your business plan to make sure it adequately reflects relevant legal realities, such as the costs associated with certain regulations. Call a business and commercial law attorney in your area to get started.

You should capitalize your business as much as you can reasonably afford, and in an amount that will cover your living expenses for 6-9 months with no income.  If oftentimes will take you longer than expected to get revenues and will generate more expenses than you anticipated.

  • One that you are passionate about
  • One that doesn’t take a trillion dollars to fund
  • One that has the potential to grow 
  • One that you have experience in (avoiding the problem of “you don’t know what you don’t know”)
  • One that you would enjoy doing daily (don’t build a business that you will dread going to everyday)
  • One that can cause meaningful improvement in customers’ lives
  • Financial Statements (Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow)
  • Employee records
  • Tax filings and records (Federal, state & local income, sales and property taxes)
  • Board and stockholder minutes and consents
  • Stock and options ledger
  • Secretary of State filings (Certificate of Incorporation, annual filings, etc.)
  • Invoices & contracts
  • Bank accounts
  • Creditor records
  • General liability insurance
  • Product liability insurance
  • Professional liability insurance
  • Property insurance
  • Worker’s compensation insurance
  • D & O (directors & officers) insurance
  • Health insurance for employees
  • Commercial auto insurance
  • Not starting with enough capital
  • Thinking that success will come quickly
  • Not carefully budgeting
  • Not focusing on the quality of the product or service
  • Underestimating the importance of sales and marketing
  • Not adapting or iterating quickly enough
  • Not understanding the competitive landscape
  • Ignoring legal and contract matters
  • Hiring the wrong employees
  • Mispricing the product or service