There are two ways to complete this assignment. One is using a free online tool from the Small Business Administration. The SBA online tool is no longer available so you will need to look online to find templates for the week 2 assignment. The link is still available for information about setting up your business and is a very good informational link. The other is using Word. It’s your choice. Pick one option and follow it.
Option 1 – SBA Online Tool (Recommended Option)
Go to this site: http://www.sba.gov/business-plan/1 (Links to an external site.). If the site doesn’t take you to the start page, go to the business plan info from the SBA in the Readings and Tools and you’ll see a blue square on the right side that lets you click to start the too. First you’ll need to register. Your registration will allow you to come back any time and update your business plan. After you register, you’ll go to the first screen–your cover letter.
NOTE on Navigation: Near the top of the screen you’ll see options for the steps. You can jump through in any order. Please remember to click the “Finish Up” tab before you leave so you can save your work and get a copy.
- Cover Letter – This isn’t like a cover letter for a job application, it’s just a simple cover sheet for your business plan. Like all of the screens, there is first an introduction. You can read this or go straight to the cover letter by clicking on the tab “Cover Letter.” It will ask for info like your business name, your name, and so on. Just fill in the blanks. Remember, you can change it later if you want.
- Executive Summary – This section is not required for this assignment. You’re welcome to get a start on it if you want.
- Company Description – Like other sections, on the right hand side you’ll see some info–including examples–to help you complete this section. From this section we’re really looking to see your mission statement and business structure.
- Market Research – This is a critical section of the plan. Who is your customer? Who are your competitors? What room is there in the industry for you to fill? How will you distinguish your company? Are there special requirements you must meet legally or ethically?
- Product/Service Line – What do you have that makes the business worthwhile?
- Marketing & Sales – Get a brief start on this for the assignment but don’t go into a lot of detail. We’ll revisit it after we go through your financial projections and know what kind of money you can spend.
- Financial Projections – Not required for this assignment. It’s coming up next week.
- Finish Up – If you click “email” it will give you a link you could use to share the plan with others. If you click “preview” you will have the option of getting a PDF of your plan. It’s the PDF you will submit for this assignment.
For the dropbox, submit the PDF of your business plan with the required sections completed.
Option 2 – Word Version
Create the basics of your business plan in Word. You’ll create an outline and then add in the pieces we ask for below. While it can be productive–depending on your writing and planning style–to quickly write at least a little in each section off the top of your head to get started, for the sections we ask for in assignments, the expectation is you will put in some real effort, do some research, use a calculator, whatever is needed to thoroughly respond to that section. The success of your future business depends heavily on your ability to be thorough and prepared. We want to help you with that and this document is the instrument we can use together to accomplish our goal of your successful business.
Use the headings from option 1 above (1-7) and then fill out sections 1, 3, 4, 5, and some on 6.