Twenty-something years ago, I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from a recognized state university. But how much practical or "real world" knowledge did I gain with this diploma?
Recently, The Wall Street Journal printed a reader's question concerning business plan strategy — something that was not covered in his academic studies.
The reader began by stating he had a college degree in business, but his formal education did not include learning the specific components that make a business plan successful. He asked if there was someone who could review his business plan and give the necessary feedback to ensure its success before the plan was formally submitted to lenders and other outside parties.
Barbara Haislip responded by suggesting a free and knowledgeable resource: the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The Office of Small Business Development Centers provides man agement assistance, information and guidance to new and established small business owners through a cooperative effort of the private sector, educational community and federal, state and local governments. The best news? This assistance is available in all 50 states and U.S. territories at no cost to the small business owner.
Haislip suggested that prior to approaching the SBDC, an entrepreneur should include the following items in his business plan:
- discussion of customers
- review of present and potential competition
- presentation of marketing strategy
- list of all resources necessary to the business
Haislip further explained most entrepreneurs will also need a financial plan (generally showing two or three years of projected income and cash-flow statements and balance sheets).
Check out www.sba.gov for more information and to find the SBDC branch closest to your business.