Starting a Small Business in Florissant: Writing a Business Plan
"Florissant Patch" rounds up tips and resources for writing a business plan.
If you’re considering opening a business in Florissant, you might be following our small business series. So far, we’ve covered the concept phase of starting your own business, including tips on choosing an original business idea and inside information on buying a franchise.
Once you’ve decided what type of 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.
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.
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 also 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.
“Writing a business plan can help you find out how much financing is needed,” said Bob Russell, the City of Florissant’s director of Economic Development.
This is a very high-level overview, of course, and each section will be broken down further. 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.
What else should I know about writing a business plan?
Research matters, said Chris Coleman, owner of FranNet, a St. Louis-based firm that serves the Florissant area.
“Opening a business is a dream of around 70 percent of Americans,” Coleman said. “It is not for everyone and most who fail could have avoided it by thoroughly researching their ideas.”
He said that while many people believe it’s a lack of capital that causes some businesses to fail, he believes otherwise.
“It is my opinion that not understanding the owner’s role is the No. 1 reason they fail, which usually leads to under-capitalization,” he said.
It’s also critical to separate the owner’s role from the function of the business and to remain logical, even in the face of your most treasured passion, Coleman said.
“Just because you make great cakes does not mean you should open a bakery,” he said. “Just because you love fixing cars does not mean that you should open a repair shop.”
He said that while it’s great to do what you love and have a passion for, it’s important to remember that passion doesn’t pay the bills—you still need to create and stick to a logical and usable business plan.
“Passion can be both your friend and your foe if not properly harnessed and contained,” Coleman added. “That’s where your business plan comes in.”
Where can I get more information and help with writing business plans?
The following resources offer in-depth assistance with writing business plans.
- City of Florissant—If you have specific city-related questions about your business plan, you can contact the city’s economic development department for information and referrals.
- Greater North County Chamber of Commerce—The Greater North County Chamber of Commerce believes that by uniting together, the group has stands a “better chance of getting things done.” If you join the Chamber of Commerce, you’ll receive a variety of benefits, including online member-to-member support, so you can get advice from a local business owner who has been where you are when you’re ready to write your business plan.
- St. Louis County Economic Development Council (SLCEC)—SLCEC is the economic development agency for St. Louis County, so if your business will have a Florissant address but it will technically be in unincorporated St. Louis County, you’ll reach out to this group rather than the City of Florissant’s economic development department. SLCEC offers many services for local small business owners.
- Missouri Business Portal—This website acts as a portal for business registration, filings, licenses and permits in the state of Missouri. It also offers a wide variety of resources, including a detailed guide to writing a business plan.
- SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)—This St. Louis-based organization offers free, confidential business counseling, as well as workshops and seminars for start-up entrepreneurs and existing businesses. The SCORE Business Plan Template is a free 31-page document that offers both a template and detailed instructions for filling it out.
- Small Business Association: Writing a Business Plan—This section includes a detailed account of the essential elements required for a good business plan, tips on making your business plan stand out, free templates for writing a business plan and a thorough explanation of why you need one.
- Small Business Administration: How to Write a Business Plan—SBA also has a free online training course on writing business plans. It is a self-paced course that offers step by step information on starting and managing a business.
Have you always dreamed of starting your own business? Subscribe to our free daily newsletter so you won’t miss a single part of this ongoing series! Next week, we’ll discuss writing a business plan.
Do you own your own business in Florissant? We want to share your story with the community! Contact Patch reporter Angela Atkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for an interview.