National Entrepreneurship Week a perfect time to think about FastTrac New Venture Training
Resources available to help you develop your business plan
National Entrepreneurship Week is Feb. 18 to Feb. 25, and it is a perfect time to think about how to develop your business plan. The sixth annual National Entrepreneurship Week is hosted by the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education, and to learn more, visit www.entre-week.org.
One question that almost every entrepreneur has is, “Do I really need to write a business plan?” Yes, you need a business plan.
Many factors critical to success depend on this plan: outside funding, supplier credit, operations and financial management, business promotion and marketing, and achieving your basic goals and objectives.
Some people think if they don’t need financing to open their business, then a business plan isn’t needed. This is wrong.
Writing a business plan serves as your roadmap, and can help you figure out many key business elements, including:
- What you will need to do to get started
- What resources (time, money, etc.) you will need
- What it will take for your business to make a profit and how long that will take
- What information potential customers, vendors and investors need to know so that you can market your business more effectively
Writing your business plan forces you to think objectively about your business. When you’re done, you will have a more realistic idea of the effort it will require and whether you want to continue at this time.
They key is not to be intimidated. The process of sitting down and writing out a business plan could lead you to think about new business strategies you might not have considered. Having your business goals written down allows you to refer to them at any time. This will ensure you don’t lose sight of your original focus once you do start your business.
If you need help writing your business plan, consider attending the FasTrac New Venture Entrepreneurial Training, a 12-session interactive program that helps you evaluate business opportunities and develop an action plan for owning your own business. Classes start March 14 at the Watson Community Resource Center, 3434 M-119, Harbor Springs, Mich. Michigan State University (MSU) Extension teaches many FasTrac courses, and instructors for the March 14 classes include Wendy Wieland and Ann Chastain. Both are MSU Extension educators, Certified Kauffman FastTrac facilitators and MSU Product Center innovation counselors.
Key objectives of this class include helping you test your business idea, anticipate financial needs to avoid cash flow problems, structure business operations for efficiency, broaden your understanding of business, and develop entrepreneurial skills. Each class includes three of hours learning, group and individual exercises, and guest speakers who will share their small business experiences. Homework is assigned at each session, with intent to help you build a first draft business plan.
This class is great if you’re starting a new venture, within the first three years of your business being launched, or moving into a new product or service. This class will be most helpful if you intend to start or grow your business within the next 12 to 18 months.