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Is a Business Plan Necessary?

The plain truth is, business owners of any size that take the time to outline what they will offer, what they’ll need to start and what their goals are more likely to succeed.

What exactly is a business plan? It really isn’t a mystery; it is your plan for making your business a success. Not only will a good business plan help you in securing funds for starting your business, it can help you think about every aspect of your business, from who you plan to sell your services to, to what you’ll need before you even start selling your services.

You might even find yourself avoiding some common pitfalls of smaller businesses, such as not anticipating enough funds to keep you going for the first year of business or realizing that you may need assistance in an area you don’t have experience in, such as technical support or bookkeeping.

A business plan doesn’t have to be dozens of pages long, but it should include basic information about your goals in both the short and long term, your business and how you imagine you’ll run it, and what your start up costs will be. The following are a few things that should be included in your business plan.

The first thing in your business plan should be your purpose. Think about what you want to accomplish with your business and what your goals are. From there, describe your business. Here you can describe exactly what your business is, when and where it was formed, the structure of the business, who the owner is and who is operating it.

From there, you can describe your market. Who do you imagine your customers will be? Here, you can also go into better detail about what you’re offering, why there is a need for your particular service or goods, and what makes your business better or different from your competitors. From there, you can go on to explain how you intend to meet the needs of your market. How are you going to produce your services or the goods you intend to sell, and how are you going to deliver your goods or services to your customers?

If you’re not truly a one person business, include information about who your staff is and what they will do, as well your suppliers.

The next thing in your business plan should be your time table. Do you want to reach a specific goal in a certain amount of time? This is the area where you should detail what your financial goals are.

Finally, outline your financial requirements for starting your business. This is not the area to skimp — if anything, overestimate the amount of money you’ll need. Too many small businesses fail to count on enough operating money at the beginning and find that they have to close their doors all too soon. Don’t make this mistake!

Really sit down and itemize everything you’re going to need to get going, including advertising, your business license or fees for setting up the structure of your business, computer software, even keeping your utilities going in your home (if you don’t have any other income), plus the cost of operating your business for a fixed amount of time without profit.

Writing a business plan for your home based business shouldn’t be something to be afraid of. If anything, a business plan will help you focus, get all your goals and ideas on paper, and help guide you in making your business a success.

Free Minority Business Grants

Minority business grants can offer you great opportunities to change your future. The United States government offers billions of dollars in grant money every year to minorities. The two most common types of minority business grants are black owned business and women owned businesses.

Business grants were shaped to offer financial assistance to entrepreneurs and business owners, to help stimulate the U.S economy. These grants are like government thank you gifts to entrepreneurs for being the backbone of the U.S. economy.

Business plan competitions and essay-writing contests are also great ways to get minority business grants. Even businesses owned by an person or people with poor credit can get grants for a business. Business owners and start up entrepreneurs with poor credit who want to start a new business or need some ‘bridge capital’ to help assist in expanding an existing business are provided an exceptional opportunity to help turn around and improve their financial situation.

Everyday, black-owned companies every single day are awarded business grants. These grants are the ideal way for black entrepreneurs to fulfill their dreams of becoming business owners. You can get anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000 in grants that don’t require repayment. Fewer than five percent of black owned businesses even apply for these minority business grants.

Minority business grants for women are also an exceptional resource for female entrepreneurs. There is approximately $20 Billion dollars in grant money available to women owned and operated businesses. Women owned businesses are also shown to produce a higher success rate than male owned businesses. Minority women businesses have the highest success rate of all. If you are a woman and/or a minority woman, applying for and being awarded a grant can be a boon to your business.

Once you have some funding behind your business, you not only show that your business was solid enough to command grant money, this money can be used to assist your company in producing an income, thus making you more attractive to the bank for an SBA loan to even further grow your business. Minority business grants information is vital to helping you thrive in your business. You will need to do some ‘groundwork’ before applying for grants. You will need a business plan.

You will also need a financial plan, complete with an Assets and Liabilities statement, budget forecast, and Profit and Loss statement. You also want to have on hand three previous years tax returns, both personal and business. Finally, your personal credit report, and business credit report if you have it. Once you have this information gathered, you are ready to begin your search and application procedure for finding minority business grants.