A written business plan is instrumental to success for new entrepreneurs

A well-developed business plan will look three to five years ahead and outline how your business intends to reach financial goals, maintain and grow revenues, and help you think objectively about key elements of your business venture.

If you are thinking about starting a new business you might wonder if you really need to spend valuable time writing a business plan. The answer is almost always yes, but don’t worry because services such as the Michigan State University Product Center can help new entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground.

The importance of a comprehensive, thoughtful business plan cannot be overemphasized. Many factors critical to success depend on your plan: outside funding, credit from suppliers, management of your operation and finances, promotion and marketing of your business, and achievement of your goals and objectives.

Some entrepreneurs assume that if financing from lenders or investors is not needed to open their business that they don’t need to prepare a business plan but every business should have one. Writing a business plan serves as a roadmap for your venture when you’re starting out. It can help you figure out many key priorities, including:

  • What you will need to do to get started and what resources (time, money, etc.) you will need readily available for start-up expense.
  • Projections concerning what it will take for your business to make a profit, and how long that might take,
  • What information potential customers, vendors and investors will need in order for you to market your business effectively.

Writing your business plan also forces you to think about your business objectively. When you’re done, you will have a more realistic idea of the effort it will require and whether it's a venture you want to pursue at this time.

But don't be overwhelmed. The process of sitting down and writing out a business plan could spark your creativity and lead you to new business strategies you may not have previously considered. You'll also find that having your business goals written down allows you to refer to them at any time. This will help ensure you do not lose sight of your original focus once your business is up and running.

If you would like help with thinking through that new business idea or developing your business objectives, please visit the Product Center website and look over the various services that are available to you.

Click on the Request for Counseling link to request personal and direct contact from a Product Center Innovation Counselor.

Whether you are a budding entrepreneur or an established company, the Product Center is your key to the front door of MSU’s vast and varied technical expertise, research, outreach, and educational services.

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