Can you truly expect to complete a business plan for a real business in one hour? It’s not very likely. The author of One Hour Business Plan, John McAdam, admits that his book could easily have been called, “One Hour Business Plan Foundation.”
Whatever the title, I found it a terrific entrée into starting a business. The author challenges the reader to ponder answers to some very relevant questions. So, before you begin spending a great deal of time and money, why not give some thought about whether your business idea will meet an unfilled need, is it something the competition is already doing and doing well, just who is your target customer and last but not least, how much money will you make.
It could be an hour well-spent.
Whether you have been a small business owner for several years or you are just starting out, you do not need to go it alone. There is lots of expertise and assistance available for free or at a very modest cost. Government-run business development centers offer some excellent counseling and workshops.
The US Small Business Administration (SBA) sponsors small business development centers (SBDC”S) in every State. (For examplte, there are 14 centers covering the state of Colorado and more in the more populous states). Workshops about writing a business plan, financing your business, start-up basics are offered periodically throughout the year. They offer a 13-week series called NxLevel for either the new or intermediate level business leading to the completion of a business plan.
The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), a volunteer arm under the SBA also offers advice. More of a mentoring arrangement, SCORE will match a new business owner to an advisor who has appropriate expertise. SCORE volunteers will meet with their assigned business owners on a regular basis to ensure they stay on track.
There may be other nonprofit organizations that will assist the small business owner. In the Denver Metro area, we also have Mi Casa that aids both job seekers and new entrepreneurs. Aurora Busines Development Center provides services similar to the SBDC’s but offers some customized workshops. Organizations that aid in small business financing may also offer assistance as well. An example in Colorado is the Rocky Mountain Micro Finance Institute.
If you need help, take advantage of such excellent resources. Anything you can do to increase your chances to succeed has got to be worth the time.
Did you know you that free counseling is available to help you launch a new business? Sure, a business coach would be nice, but it could cost more than you care to spend or can afford. Luckily, there’s another way and it’s through the federal government. The government has excellent resources and a lot of it is free or certainly at a modest cost.
The US Small Business Administration has a couple of avenues to try. You will find Small Business Development Centers (SBDC’s) in each state They offers a host of classes and workshops plus individual counseling services. Another alternative is SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives. another partner of the SBA. this organizations boasts over 10,000 volunteers in 800 countries around the country who provide assistance to small businesses on a volunteer basis. They offering counseling sessions in person or you can even participate in free online webinars.
It doesn’t end there. In Colorado, we have the Rocky Mountain Microfinance Institute, a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring, training, coaching and workhops as well as small business loans. Of course, check out your public library. Although librarians are not business coaches or mentors in the formal sense, they can direct you to the best resources.