Make a Plan

Put your vision in writing and prepare for growth with a Business Plan.

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a roadmap for your business, created by you. No matter what industry you’re in, a business plan can help you clarify what you do, what clients you serve, and how you can best serve them. It can also help you determine your expenses and funding, if necessary.

Why do I need a business plan?

Besides helping you articulate your own goals and challenges, a business plan is a common requirement to secure a loan from banks and other financial institutions. A business plan will also make it easier for you to work with organizations like Small Business Development Centers and Women’s Business Centers.

How do I create a business plan?

The U.S. Small Business Administration is a great resource for business plan templates and can help answer any other questions you may have. 

SBA Business Plan Guide

Conduct Market Research

Figure out what your business will sell, who you will sell to, and how through market research.

What is Market Research?

Market research helps you determine the demand for the goods or services your business offers. It can help you identify your customers, what they want, and how much they will pay. Market research also helps identify any seasonal or location-specific trends that might affect your business.

Why do I need market research?

Understanding the market is critical to the success of your business. Without adequate market research, you may price your goods and services incorrectly, or target the wrong customers. Conducting market research early on can help you avoid many of the pitfalls facing new or growing businesses. 

How can I conduct market research?

Market research is a broad topic, but many resources specific to your business or industry are available from the U.S. Small Business Administration

SBA Market Research Guide

Seek Out Support

Starting or growing a new business can be difficult, but finding an inspiring mentor can make a meaningful difference. Experienced mentors can provide industry-specific knowledge, operations expertise, and moral support to help you navigate the day-to-day challenges of running a business.

Once you have found a larger firm to work with, you can formalize your working relationship using the Small Business Administration’s All Small Mentor-Protégé program. This program helps small businesses and seasoned professionals work together to bid on government contracts.

SBA Mentor-Protégé Program