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Answers to Go

Answers to Go

Sunday, November 6, 2022

San Marcos Public Library

625 E. Hopkins St.


Q.What is a “business plan?”


A business plan is exactly that — a plan for your business so you can secure financing, solidify your goals for your business and become successful. The Small Business Administration (SBA), a U.S. government department, describes a business plan as follows: “A good business plan guides you through each stage of starting and managing your business. You’ll use your business plan as a roadmap for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. It’s a way to think through the key elements of your business.”

Business plans can help you get funding or bring on new business partners. Investors want to feel confident they’ll see a return on their investment. Your business plan is the tool you’ll use to convince people that working with you — or investing in your company — is a smart choice.

There are different business plans — as different as each business and business owner. What is important is that your plan meets your needs. However, there are two basic types. In the book “How to Write a Business Plan” by Mike P McKeever, the two types are called a “Complete” business plan and a “Quick (oneday)” business plan.

A “Complete” business plan, also known as a traditional plan, is the type most often requested by lending institutions or investors. This is because it is, literally, more complete. It includes not only an executive summary, but a company description, market analysis, organization and management outline, description of the type of service or product line for your company, marketing and sales strategies, specific funding requests, financial projections, and appendix. A complete business plan is usually what you want to create if you are starting up a business. It is also extremely useful for running your business once it has started, as it keeps you focused on the key goals and strategies for your specific business.

A “Quick” or, as the SBA terms it, a “Lean Startup” format has the basic components of a complete plan, but it does not include supporting documentation and should only be for a very simple business. If you are looking for financing, this may not be the best type of plan for you.

The library has many resources for people preparing business plans. As I noted above, there are many different business plans, but yours should be tailored to your specific business. That means it should include information about what service or product you will be supplying. The library has many books and resources for this aspect of your business. A few examples are: “The Basics of Starting a Child-Care Business” by Marnie Forestieri “Business Planning for Construction Contractors” by Gene Fessenbecker “Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business” by Laura Pennington Briggs “Start Your Own Restaurant and Five Other Food Businesses: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Success” by Jacquelyn Lynn The library also has general resources about taxes, accounting, and other business basics. A few examples of these are: “Self-made Boss: Advice, Hacks, and Lessons from Small Business Owners” by Jackie Reses “Keeping the Books: Basic Recordkeeping and Accounting for the Successful Small Business” by Linda Pinson “Legal forms for Starting & Running a Small Business” by Fred Steingold Every month, the library hosts a program called “1 Million Cups” (referring to coffee) 1 Million Cups - Greater SMTX, is a free, monthly educational program designed to engage, connect and support local entrepreneurs and startups in Hays and Caldwell counties. November’s 1 Million Cups will be Nov. 23, 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. at the library. No registration is required. All are welcome Suzanne Sanders is the columnist for the library. She is the Community Services Manager for the San Marcos Public Library and came from the Austin Public Library in 2015 after having served there as a librarian for over 20 years. She gratefully accepts your questions for this column.

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666