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    The Small Business Administration (SBA) believes in the power of the well-written business plan for all sizes of businesses. In fact, the SBA says it is one of the most important steps a business owner will take because it serves as a roadmap for early stage operations, outlining an annual route for success. The SBA also indicates it is useful for helping the entrepreneur objectively think about critical elements of the business.

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    No Ordinary Plan

    A high-quality business plan has some key features that set it apart from the run-of-the-mill business plan.

    • Each section is fully developed

    • Clearly written from the first to last page

    • Clearly defines what is being offered in the way of products and services

    • The market niche is well-defined

    • Everything included in the business plan is relevant to the business

    • Includes specific goals and objectives, and strategies for meeting them

    • Includes realistic sales forecasts which impact expenses

    • Written to the audience, whether the business owner, investor, board of directors, and so on (yes, more than one business plan may be needed)

    • Demonstrates the business knows its competition

    • Professional with a nice appearance and no spelling mistakes

    The SBA has discovered that many small businesses leave out important details in their business plans, like sales forecasts. Entrepreneurs who are not comfortable with business plan writing are more likely to overlook important details that should be included in the business plan. That can jeopardize their ability to manage the company in the early years and their ability to get funding.

    In the Right Direction

    A high quality business plan is a key strategic tool for getting the business headed in the right direction from day one. It is the end result of a thoughtful process, and is not to be taken lightly. Many businesses that fail within the first few years never bothered to write a business plan. A business owner who has never been through the process should get help writing the business plan to ensure it is done right the first time.

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