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Planning For a Business

Steve Paddock from the Vermont Small Business Development Center

Why Plan?
Planning for your specialty food business will help you turn your ideas and dreams into reality.  Planning will:
  • Help you sort out your concepts and think through the many options you have.
  • Make your mistakes on paper in your early developmental stages.
  • Better help you avoid mistakes once you've started your business by working through your ideas before they are implemented.
  • Enhance creative thinking, which will open your mind to other possibilities beyond your original idea

Why create a Business Plan?

  • Your business plan can help you communicate your ideas to other people and organizations such as family members, business partners, suppliers, customers, and potential lenders.
  • Having a well-written plan will demonstrate to others that you are serious and thoughtful in your approach to business.  
  • A business plan can serve as an operating guide
  • our business plan holds the results of all your thinking and planning.

How to plan  
  • You have actually already begun your planning by thinking about your business concept and how you are going to bring your business to life.
  • Use a Business Plan Outline to guide to your planning and development.
  • The first task is to capture your ideas in an organized manner.
    • Begin to put your ideas down on paper.
    • Use bullet points to collect your thoughts under the appropriate Business Plan heading    
    • Don't try to write a "finished" document for your first draft.  You'll have plenty of opportunity to edit your thoughts and create the full text as your work progresses.
  • Adjust the outline to meet your needs and fit your business. Not every Business Plan uses the same outline.
  • Seek assistance from various resources:

  • Tips for effective business planning
    • Clearly define your business idea and be able to clearly and simply state it. Know your mission.
    • Examine your motives. Make sure that you have a passion for owning a business and for this particular business.
    • Be sure you understand what it will take for you to make your business successful.
    • Be willing to commit to the hours, discipline, continuous learning, and the frustrations of planning for and owning your own business.
    • Conduct a competitive analysis in your market, including products, prices, promotions, advertising, distribution, quality, service, and be aware of the outside influences that affect your business.
    • Seek help from other small businesses, vendors, professionals, government agencies, employees, trade associations, and trade shows. Be alert, ask questions.