How to Create a Business Plan With No Money

Entrepreneurs with little capital can complete a business plan with the help of volunteer consultants or by applying for resources and grants through city offices.

How to Create a Business Plan With No Money
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Overview
Creating a business plan is an essential step in creating a successful business. To best prepare yourself for future success, take the time in the beginning to do your homework and work out the details. It does not take any money to write a business plan if you seek out and use the free help available. It's possible to get from idea to execution if you stay focused on the task at hand and your end goal.
Step 1
Do your market research. In order to make money, your winning idea needs a market. Who buys similar products or services, for how much and how often? Find out if there is a clearly defined market that you can enter and who's in it. How strong is the market, and how is it changing? Try to determine if there is a trend taking place, such as "going green," which will hinder or help your product in the future.
Step 2
Show the money. All businesses have one goal in common, and that is to make money. Some businesses want more money than others, but all businesses need to make money to sustain themselves. Even a nonprofit has to pay its bills, so take the time to run the numbers. You should be able to find free financial spreadsheets to use online, from a friend or on a CD with your business plan writing guide. A mentor or experienced businessperson can help you crunch the numbers and determine how different variables can affect your bottom line.
Step 3
Talk to a mentor. There are many resources for would-be small-business owners to get free help and find mentors, or perhaps you have a friend or family member who runs a business. Talk to someone who has started a successful business and tell them your idea, show them your numbers and ask if they think you have a winner. Talk to as many people as possible and make sure you really want to launch your business before moving on to the next steps.
Step 4
Write your business plan. Use some sort of a guide for this: a used book, a free online outline or handouts from your mentor. The more thorough you are now, the fewer surprises you'll have later. Really make sure you are honest with yourself in this step, that you can and want to do the work involved, and that it's going to be worth your time. Writing a good business plan takes time, so be patient and ask your mentor for help.
Step 5
Go downtown and handle legal matters, such as registering a business name, getting proper permits and licenses and determining a tax schedule. You may be able to do some of this online now, but if you actually go in person, you will also be able to find out what sort of support your city or state offers in terms of mentors, seminars, classes, even loans and grants. This step will cost you some money, but it's better to spend the money now rather than wait until the government comes looking for you.
Step 6
Get to work. You wrote your business plan, determined it was a worthwhile plan and got your permits; now it's time to implement your plan and start making some money.
skill
3
ingredient
Business plan writing guide

Financial guide or spreadsheets

ingredients
Business plan writing guide
ingredients
Financial guide or spreadsheets
tip
A mentor is someone you trust who has experience they are willing to share.

Take advantage of free help, ask lots of questions and listen to advice.

Try and make life easy for your free advisers by going to them when possible, thanking them for their time and doing your homework between meetings. Do not waste their time.

tips
A mentor is someone you trust who has experience they are willing to share.
tips
Take advantage of free help, ask lots of questions and listen to advice.
tips
Try and make life easy for your free advisers by going to them when possible, thanking them for their time and doing your homework between meetings. Do not waste their time.
keyword
business plan startup mentor entrepreneur
keywords
business
keywords
plan
keywords
startup
keywords
mentor
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entrepreneur

Resources
reference
Seven Essential Startup Steps
reference
200 Business Ideas