Host: How long will it take to write a business plan and which sections should be done first?
Fred Glave: So I often recommend that we deal with only two or three sections to start with and the important sections are the product description, the market you are addressing, how you are going to differentiate your product in that market and then of course, the financial projections. If you write those sections first, I often advice clients to do no more than that and then come in and we at SCORE will provide a review and critique of those elements of the business plan. That really covers the hard part. The rest is easy sailing after that. Also, by writing the marketing section first as we indicated earlier in a previous clip, it forces you to develop a sales estimate or projection or forecast of your business which is necessary in order to complete the financials. So having done that, then you can go back and complete the other elements of the business plan. In general, it is going to take you several weeks to do a proper job of business plan. Don't take shortcuts. If you don't know the answers, do take the time to do the research and find out the answers. Also keep good records of what you have based your business plan on and the assumptions and the data etcetera, because as you establish your business and you go downstream, you should keep checking back every once in a while to your plan and make sure that you are on track according to the way that you said you did. Then you may go back and find out, "Gee, I wasn't sure about that assumption or maybe the assumption just changed.
"So keep those records so that you can keep yourself on track and help your planning process in an ongoing fashion. If you need help, you can always go to SCORE as one source for help in writing your business plan. Throughout the country there are also entities called Small Business Development Centers also sponsored by the SBA that will help provide help in writing a plan and the National Women's Business Forum will also provide similar resources. So any of these will help you through the process and probably, even speed it up for you. 1