Useful Resources / Strong Business Plans



Business Planning Resources — Compiled by Professional Business Plan Writers

As expert business plan writers, we come across and use many informational resources helpful to the business planning process. Listed here are some of the websites and other tools we think are particularly useful to those who seek to develop good business plans. We hope you find them useful; these tools won't write a plan for you, but they'll familiarize you with the process and the issues involved, and prepare you to work with professional business plan writers like us when you need development and writing assistance.

Stone Business Magazine published Part I of this informative article, written by professional business plan writer David Speaker. It addresses why business plans are important, how to get started, and why writing a good plan can improve your bottom line. Stone Business Magazine is a premier industry trade magazine for the natural stone and stone fabrication industries.

 
Stone Business Magazine published Part II of this business planning article.  

In Part II, we review:

• the tools you need for conducting your market analysis;

• how to gather statistics;

• the essentials of financial information and basics of presentation; and

• how to shop your plan and find the right audience.


Recommended Resources and Websites:


James J. Hill Reference Libraryjjhill.org

SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) — This sophisticated nationwide nonprofit organization is filled with retired executive volunteers donating their expertise in more than 600 skill areas to aid entrepreneurs. SCORE is a resource partner with the federal Small Business Administration, and has many other significant alliances with information-resource tools available.

SCORE’s website (www.score.org) is a great information-gathering site. It offers many ways to isolate facts relevant to your business plan. Throughout the SCORE website and especially under its “Business Tools, Free Resources”) there are numerous useful links.


The Center for Business Planning — Offers a collection of resources for planning your business, documenting your plan and evaluating your strategy. The Center for Business Planning is at www.businessplans.org; click on “Web Resources” and you’ll find plenty of good links to numerous resources.

MarketResearch.com — This site continuously updates its 100,000+-report market-research collection, and helps you find reports that target your statistical needs. For a fee, you can buy the reports and subscribe to custom information services.

Bureau of Labor Statistics — This is an important research stop, for its broad scope of detailed statistical information. Visit www.bls.gov and review its many links to information relevant to your plan.

U.S. Census Bureau — For quick information on population, households and housing, plus social and economic characteristics, visit http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml where you’ll find an easy source of information by city, township, county, state or the entire country.

The United States Small Business Administration website has many useful tools for business. The portions of the SBA site relevant to business planning include:

o About the SBA

o http://www.sba.gov/starting_business/index.html

o http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/starting-managing-business/starting-business/writing-business-plan

Secureplan.com — When your business plan or marketing plan is ready for review, you can publish it securely here. Then invite partners, investors, or other contacts to review and discuss it privately online. Post your business plan in a secure environment for those you wish to share it with, including prospects and collaborators.


Industry Trade Associations and Institutes — Trade associations compile and maintain industry statistics relevant to their members’ business activities. They produce and disseminate this information as a regular part of their service. Contact these associations (via Website first—most have a good online presence) and ask for a list of their publications. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, call and ask where to look; they’re usually willing to help even nonmembers. For nonmembers, these publications are often available for a fee. In many cases you may find the information available for free to members. It’s often worth the price of membership.


More Useful Business-Plan-Related Websites:




Recommended Business Planning Software:

Business Plan Pro - Palo Alto Software, Inc.



Recommended Business Planning Books:

Rich Dad's Advisors®: The ABC's of Writing Winning Business Plans: How to Prepare a Business Plan That Others Will Want to Read -- and Invest In
by Garrett Sutton

Business Plans that Work (Paperback)
by Jeffry A Timmons, Andrew Zacharakis, Stephen Spinelli

Anatomy of a Business Plan: A Step-By-Step Guide to Building a Business and Securing Your Company's Future
by Linda Pinson. Chicago, IL: Dearborn Trade Publishing, 2005.



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