Keep it simple is a reliable mantra for success in the restaurant business but for Grand Traverse Pie Co. Michigan natives Mike and Denise Busley — who were living and working in California in the mids — got the idea for the distinctive eatery after they wandered into a little pie shop in San Diego. The menu has since been expanded to include quiches, chicken pot pies, soups, salads, and wraps.
Business plans do the same for small businesses.
Easy as pie business plan lay out the milestones you need to reach on your way to building a profitable small business. From finance to marketing, operations to sales, each part of a business plan helps you reach your goals.
What deters most small business owners from creating a business plan, however, is taking the time to write it all out. For those who take the time to research and write a plan, though, they often find that it helps them identify risks and possible roadblocks — and they can circumnavigate a detour that still lets reach their destination — a successful, thriving business.
Small business owners can benefit from simple, easy-to-follow business plan tools so they spend less time writing and more time launching. Here are nine resources to help you craft a professional business plan quickly and easily. LivePlan LivePlan has quickly become a recognized online business tools resource to help budding entrepreneurs every step of the way, from the planning stages to launch.
Like other services, LivePlan allows business owners to craft perfectly formatted plans. They have more than plans encompassing nearly every industry you can think of.
After selecting the template you like, you can tweak, customize and create the presentation to pitch your idea to would-be investors. Post-launch, businesses can track revenue and expenses against forecasts.
Designed for entrepreneurs who are itching to get started, this simple business plan template asks a handful of questions that you can easily answer in one or two sentences. The plan covers everything from what you plan to sell and who will buy it to how you will get paid, "hustle" to find customers, foresee challenges and overcome obstacles in a single page.
BizPlan BizPlan lets you create a business plan for free using your smartphone or tablet, and it offers more than just business plans.
You also have access to free pitch script templates, marketing tools, coaching and collaboration features. You can upgrade to paid plans that give you access to more tools, tutorials and other features.
Copyblogger Not all small businesses are concerned with credit lines, partnerships and office space — at least not in the beginning. So why should their initial business plans include these things? Instead, it offers a business plan template fit for the real would-be entrepreneur.
Platform Planner Are you the visual type? Based on the principles of the Business Generation Model Strategyzer app, this template uses sticky notes to help you craft an out-of-the-box business plan. You create your plan by separating a single page into different sections or columns, such as company information, value proposition and customer segments.
Write down your ideas or responses on a sticky note, and then stick it on the corresponding section. You can also color-code the sticky notes for better organization. Then, if your plans change, you can easily remove a note, move it around or add new ones to better fit the direction in which your business is headed.
Enloop Financials are often the most confusing and difficult aspect of a business plan for new business owners. To get started, users enter basic information about their businesses, including product details. Unlike complicated business plans, boring blocks of text are not required — bullet points will do.
What they need, says Go, is an "internal working plan" to get started. The internal working plan consists of four simple questions that comprise your plan: What is your product or service? Who are your customers? When will things get done? When are bills due and when do you get paid?
Additional reporting by Katherine Arline. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article. She began freelancing in and became a contributing writer for Business News Daily in Pie Restaurant Business Plan UPer Crust Pies is a new fast food restaurant differing from the normal options with traditional home style recipes from Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
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