22 Aug 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by thesmallbusinessprophet
Patch Instagram photo by thesmallbusinessprophet

Starting a Small Business in Hazelwood: Writing a Business Plan

"Hazelwood Patch" rounds up resources on writing business plans and shares tips from two Hazelwood business owners.

Starting a Small Business in Hazelwood: Writing a Business Plan Starting a Small Business in Hazelwood: Writing a Business Plan Starting a Small Business in Hazelwood: Writing a Business Plan

Are you thinking about starting a small business in Hazelwood? The city is already home to more than 1,000 successful businesses, and its proximity to Lambert St. Louis International Airport and major highways makes it ideal place to start a business venture, according to David Cox, economic developer for the .

Cox said it's important to write your business plan early in the process. 

"I see a lot of projects where there is no plan until late and it’s harder to start the business," he said.

Let’s get planning!

If you’re considering opening a business in Hazelwood, we hope you’re following our . So far, we’ve covered the concept phase of starting your own business, including and inside .

Once you’ve decided what your business you'd like to open, it’s time to bring the concept into reality. The first step on that journey is to create a business plan, which can be simply defined as a written description of the steps you’ll take to launch and build your business.

Casaundra Bronner, owner of Hazelwood-based , said that it’s important for your business’ long-term success that you pay close attention to the details when you’re putting together your business plan.

“Going through the process helps you make important decisions about your business and determine what is needed to give your business longevity,” she said.

Why do I need a business plan?

A business plan can serve you in a number of ways. If you’re seeking investors to help fund your business, you’ll need a well-written business plan to show your potential investors your vision. And a business plan serves as a blueprint for your business, giving you a clearer understanding of how to manage your company.

Monica Black, owner of , said that every potential business owner needs to have a business plan.

“It's a good tool to have when presenting to sponsors,” Black said. “Yes, all small businesses need all the financial support they can get.”

She said that your business plan can also become a branding opportunity for the sponsor.

“This could be via a logo highlighted on your website or print materials, for example,” she said. “Tell sponsors it'll increase market share.”

Bronner agreed with Black that a business plan could also be helpful for potential investors and creditors.

“I personally think it can help them to see your business’s potential for future growth,” Bronner said. “It is your opportunity to thoroughly explain your vision to others to see just as clearly as you do.”

What do I need to include in a business plan?

A good business plan will outline your business goals and strategies. It will also help you to anticipate potential issues that may come up and give you time and space to plan solutions ahead of time. It will outline the organizational structure, including responsibilities and the amount of money you’ll need to finance the business until it becomes self-sufficient.

You’ll start with a cover and a title page. Once you’ve finished writing the business plan, you’ll add a table of contents. The core components of the business plan include the business concept, the marketplace description and analysis and the financial breakdown.

Cox said it's important to pay close attention to the financing portion of the business plan. 

"Many projects seek funds from numerous sources, and often it takes longer than anticipated to get approvals," he said. "SBA has been slow with approvals as of late, so the plan should include a realistic timeline for having any loans or other debt financing in place."

We've only provided a very high-level overview, of course, and each section will be broken down further in your plan. Depending on the nature and size of your business and your funding requirements, your business plan may be anywhere from a single page to more than 100 pages.

Get Help Writing Your Business Plan

The following resources offer in-depth assistance with writing business plans.

Have you always dreamed of starting your own business? Subscribe to our daily newsletter so you won’t miss a single part of this ongoing series! Next week, we’ll share tips and resources for finding free and low-cost classes and business training for business owners.

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