As for writing a business plan, here are some things to keep in mind and guide you on your way:
- Find a SCORE office in your city.
I can't speak to the one-on-one counseling since we didn't use it, but I found the workshop on "Writing a Business Plan" to be informative and thought provoking. They can be found nationwide and besides the workshops, they have forms and templates on their website, as well as information on many resources available to start you on your way to owning your own business.
- Brainstorm what questions come up when you go through writing your business plan.
Some of our questions were:
- How and where are we going to source the raw materials?
- What is our tax liability?
- How much of our product will we make and how much should we sell it for?
- What is the payment model that works best for our business?
- What is our mission?
- What is the demand for our product? How do we find that out?
Then find the best resources to answer your specific questions.
- Work with your strengths and when you arrive at your weaknesses, be honest with yourself (and your partner) about what you are willing to do to overcome them.
You may find that you start with one idea, but your strengths and/or weaknesses bring you right where you need to be.
- Collaboration is essential.
Even if you go it alone in your business venture, you will need feedback. Be intentional and smart about who you choose to share your idea with. While we came to the realization that sharing with too many people, or the wrong people, can be a buzz kill...
mostsome feedback can be really valuable. Starting a business is already a challenge, find people that are supportive, inspiring and constructive with their criticism.
- Take yourself seriously.
Melissa and Amy, getting down to business.
Take you business idea seriously. Go forward with your business plan like it is really going to happen. This will make it possible for you to come up with good, realistic questions that will lead you to the conclusion of whether your idea is sustainable. We found that our idea was possibly not very sustainable financially, but mostly inspirationally it was going to come up short.
and then, on the last day of "Writing a Business Plan" month, you might find that it is your husband that walks through the door and announces, "Well, I am an official business entity. Now all I need is work."
(Jamie just started his own painting company, Crazy Fingers, and it became legal today)
Here's to all of your business plan dreams coming true,
Melissa and Amy