Hi Gwen! How do I write a successful business plan?
This is a great question and a topic that I am very passionate about.
I make no qualms in saying that if you do not have the discipline to write a business plan, then you certainly don’t have enough discipline to start and sustain a business.
However, having said that, the best plan is one that you can thoughtfully build and follow.
I recommend looking around at different guides, templates, books etc and using whichever one you feel most engaged and comfortable utilizing- easy to follow, organized, etc.
I used my textbook from college for a course I took called Entrepreneurship and Enterprise. I used this textbook to write a business plan for class and I just picked it up again and used it to write my Laundress plan. The example business in the book was a fresh fish distribution in Maine! So my learning was the same principles apply to all businesses, whether its laundry or fish distribution. Sadly, this textbook is no longer in circulation to share.
I had asked the Director of Entrepreneurship at Cornell for a recommendation to replace my old textbook and I bought a bunch of books he listed. I didn’t find them organized to help actually work through the planning process. The Art of The Start 2.0 I think has good prompts, answers and information. I looked at the recommendations from Morwa Dunn on The League chat and loved seeing her suggest the SBA. I worked very closely with the SBA office in NYC after I wrote my plan and went thru the SBA application process for an SBA loan. I don’t know how they are interacting and supporting one on one now, but I did like this Business Plan checklist on the site to follow along with https://ascent.sba.gov/ae/ad/bcf142814a2281b4bbf155df250d/topic-1-course-1-howtowriteabusinessplanchecklistpdf.pdf
The other recommendations from Morwa Dunn, bplans.com and liveplan.com, look slick and will be helpful with presentations at some point. However, to build a good plan requires answering the hard questions, working through the proof of plan, execution, distribution, completing all the parts to actualize an idea FIRST, then you can make it slick looking after the nitty gritty is worked out.
I hope this helps! I am rooting for you.