Creating a Business Plan

Before you start your business plan, carefully research and answer these basic questions:

  • What niche or void will my business fill?
  • What services or products will I sell?
  • Is my idea practical, and will it fill a need?
  • Who is my competition?
  • What is my business’s advantage over existing firms?
  • Can I deliver a better quality service?
  • Can I create a demand for my business?

Once you’ve determined that your business idea is feasible, answer these questions:

  • What skills and experience do I bring to the business?
  • What will be my legal structure?
  • How will my company’s business records be maintained?
  • What insurance coverage will I need?
  • What equipment or supplies will I need?
  • How will I compensate myself?
  • What are my resources?
  • What financing will I need?
  • Where will my business be located?
  • What will I name my business?

If you are starting a home-based business, you should answer these additional questions:

  • Does my home have the space (preferably separate) for a business?
  • Can I successfully run the business from my home?
  • Can I deal with the isolation of working from home?

Your answers to these questions will help you create a focused, well-researched business plan that should serve as a blueprint. The plan should detail how the business will be operated, managed, and capitalized.

This excerpt comes from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s “The Facts About… Starting a Small Business.”