What’s Your Plan?

From the just-right business entity to setting up a home office, local zoning ordinance references and lease agreements with commercial landlords, about two dozen entrepreneurs learned how to optimize their ideas at a recent Small Business Development Center workshop

How to create a business plan was hosted by Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce and lead by Robert Mineo, financing assistance program director for the Small Business Development Center based on the campus of Lehigh University on Wednesday, Nov. 12.

Mineo walked participants through the nuts and bolts of creating a business plan, along with the need for a purpose driven document.

“It shouldn’t be more than 8 to 10 pages long, tops,” Mineo said.

Mineo offered tips for home-based businesses, such as seeking out information on local ordinance compliances and permits, and offered guidance on creating a business plan with punch.

“Start with the strongest section first,” Mineo said.

For those just starting a new business, the business plan might lead with education, background and industry or related accomplishments.

Looking for financing? Think ABC’s “Shark Tank” by building a strong case for why you, and your idea, are an exceptional risk for a bank or investor to take on.

Mineo said a good business plan includes an executive summary, which briefly summarizes the point of the document.

Use strong, clear language, and directly state what the purpose of the document is.

A strong business plan – again 8 to 10 pages long – should include:

*A description of the business proposed.
*Products or services offered.
*The market you’ll serve.
*Location where the business will be based.
*A competitive analysis.
*Management and personnel identified.
*Sources of income and current applications for financing.
*Final summary.

For more information about how to create a business plan, or for small business support, visit the Small Business Development Center website at www.lehigh.edu or the Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce website at www.ubcc.org.

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