I'm working on opening a cupcake shop in my town and I'm quickly becoming overwhelmed with the business plan. My question is did you do your own business plan, hire someone to do it for you or use a computer program? I can handle the marketing, vision, etc....it's the financials that are overwhelming me.
I'm in the same boat, so I'd like to hear what everyone else has to say too! Thanks for starting this thread!
Can anyone help???
I used a biz plan software program that I bought at staples for about $29 I think.
I did all three. HIred an orgz that works with small businesses on writing a biz plan; did a LOT of the legwork and research myself; hired a CPA (we have one in the family, so that was nice) to do the financials for it. I still had to work up numbers .... he just put them in accounting format.
Do as much of the research yourself. It will mean much more to you. When you do it, you'll see what I mean.
Also learn what a basic monthly P&L should look like. My dh taught me that, and it was so helpful!
For a business plan outline, you might also try I think SCOPE.com, which has a nice one (though long). I wrote my own, on my own, over a weekend, and it was NOT a behemoth of a project (two pages), but it impressed the heck out of the SBA and got me verbal approval for the loan for all my equipment on the first day I met with them, so it did what I needed it to do. For financials, we used a financial page that's just basically a long asset/liability sheet like you'd fill out for any loan officer at any bank. Again, not hard, but definitely homework. That's what worked for me. It shouldn't be overwhelming; it's supposed to help.
It's really about the homework for you to learn HOW to have a business head, how to market, how to crunch numbers, etc.
I'm making progress on it. I have a meeting with SCORE in 2 weeks and will have the plan ready to be looked at before then for their critique. I think it was more just the vast amount of information and to get it all down and organized. The financials are slowly coming together and SCORE has some great worksheets on their site. I'm getting there!
I'm working with SCORE too. It's free and they offer soooooo much help. After your initial group meeting you can meet individually with the advisors. I'm on my third individual meeting now. It is invaluable to a new business owner or if you're just thinking of starting one. They offer help on business plans, legal, marketing and financing. I would HIGHLY recommend them.