The thought of preparing a business plan can be overwhelming. You don’t know where or how to start or what should be included. Sometimes all it takes is a nudge in the right direction. There are a number of places where you can receive free business plan assistance, or almost free, both online and in your local area.
The SBA (Small Business Administration) has a business plan guideline and workbook
available. You can find it at their web site.
Business magazines such as Entrepreneur Magazine have a number of online resources to help with business planning.
A number of the financial institutions that offer financing to small businesses have websites that provide business plan help.
Try your local city’s Small Business Programs Office or Small Business Assistance Office.
Your state department of commerce may have an office to assist you or even provide a publication devoted to small business or starting a small business.
SCORE – Service Corps Of Retired Executives can give you locations for offices all over the country, offers free counseling and presents workshops on a regular basis. The counseling is offered by retired executives. While most executives are familiar with business planning not all of them are experts. On the day you stop by the resident executive could have a background in marketing or operations rather than planning.
Various Chambers of Commerce offer business plan guidance and review. They also might offer actual assistance in finding financing. You may or may not have to be a member to take advantage of seminars.
Check your public library as well they may have a regular series of free seminars and often will include business planning.
Your state Small Business Association has workshops on business planning. Many of them have online resources as well as onsite help with books and software you can use there or check out.
The Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) provide free consulting in the area of business planning, some also have regular workshops and seminars. Find them in the phone book or search online by city and state. There’s no membership required. SBDC are part of the community college systems.
There are online sites that have interactive business planning software. You complete the different sections of your business plan using their templates. When you’re finished you can download a final copy. Keep in mind anything you put on someone else’s website means they may have access to it.
Free help in preparing your business plan is available.