No one has it all figured out. Being on your own, especially when first composing a business plan, results in a lost opportunity to avoid the mistakes others have already made. You can get a lot of advice in the age of the internet, of course, but finding true help usually takes a bit more effort. When drafting your small business plan, you’ll cover all your bases by getting help through the following avenues!
Find a Mentor
The best and hardest way to find help is personal mentorship. That means not just searching up articles on business strategies and plans, but having a real professional look at your plan and analyze it personally. While you can hire someone, there are lots of ways to do this organically—such as going to local networking events, going to small business development centers, joining a professional or trade association, and even connecting with volunteer mentors through nonprofit organizations such as SCORE. Rebecca Radice recommends networking over social media as well! Really, there are a lot of options and a lot of opportunities to take advantage of, if only you put in the work for it.
When putting together a business plan, one of the biggest hurdles to overcome is funding. If you’re struggling in this area, a great avenue of help are the Small Business Administration (SBA) loans available for most startups. According to Franchise Gator, SBA loans are backed by the government and tend to come with better rates than many banks. While there are many kinds, generally they require a minimum credit score, no recent bankruptcies or foreclosures, and at least a 10% down payment from the business. In return, interest rates are lower, repayment terms are longer, and $30,000 or more is available. This can be a big advantage to a business plan that requires a lot of capital.
Research Professional Advice
While you can’t trust everything the internet tells you, you can find a lot of helpful resources in certain places. Following professionals on social media and subscribing to newsletters and blogs in your field can give you insider knowledge about the industry you’re going into even if you don’t know anyone personally. According to Time Doctor, business podcasts can be extremely helpful as well. You can even take accredited classes online to help you model the perfect business according to your vision.
In the end, it’s up to you to make the best decisions for your startup. Ignoring help is never a smart idea, however. If you’re searching for help with your business plan, look for it in multiple avenues—you never know what resources and programs are out there!