Before you write the plan here are some resources to help you get started
1. Encyclopedia of Business Information Sources: a "where to find" directory for statistics, trade associations, price sources, Internet databases, newsletters and periodicals, handbooks and manuals.
2. How to Set up Your Own Small Business: This how to resource will direct you to legal sources, market research, sales forecasting, advertising, purchasing, franchising, home based business, bookkeeping, financing, personnel management, insurance, and more.
3. Small Business Profiles: answers to all the questions asked in a business plan for a hundred different start-up companies.
4. Small Business Sourcebook: print and online resources to help entrepreneur's get started.
5. Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network:
http://msbdc.som.umass.edu/ These folks provide high quality, in-depth counseling, training and capital access to entrepreneurs throughout Massachusetts.
Writing the Plan
Who will be Your Customers?
1. Best Customers: Demographics of Consumer Demand: analysis of the best and biggest customers for hundreds of individual products and services.
2. Household Spending: Who Spends How Much on What.
3. Market Share Reporter: an Annual Compilation of Reported Market Share Data on Companies, Products, and Services.
4. The American Marketplace: Demographics and Spending Patterns.
Where Will you Locate Your Store?
Find Out Where Your Customers Live and Where Your Competitors Do Business
1. Cole's Directory: using US Census data this directory indicates areas that are either "upper income, middle income, lower middle income, and lower income areas." This directory also lists total number of businesses and total new businesses on a street.
2. Reference USA: an online database accessible from home that will list any type of business at the zip code, city or state level. Find the sales volume, number of employees, CEO, and more. This database also contains a unique listing of home based businesses.
3. U.S. Census County Business Patterns: www.census.gov/econ/census07/
Use economic census data to find the number of establishments, payroll and employment size by type of industry or business. This database also shows businesses that have no paid employees by number of firms and sales receipts.
4. State Profile of New England: uses census data to project labor and population growth out to 2030 by city.
Finding Money for your Start-up
1. The Directory of Venture Capital & Private Equity Firms
2. Small Business Administration
Worcester Regional SCORE Chapter 173
446 Main Street
3. U.S. Small Business Administration
Search this site for free online training programs for entrepreneurs, contracting assistance, and financial help.
4. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance: This is a government wide compendium of federal programs, projects, services, and activities that provide opportunities such as loans, grants, counseling, and procurement contracts to the public.
5. Government Giveaways for Entrepreneurs by Matthew Lesko. Sources of money, help and information to start or expand your business.
Need Legal Help
1. The Entrepreneur's Legal Guide
2. Small business Start-up Kit
3. Legal Forms for Starting and Running a Business
4. How to Start a Business in Massachusetts
5. The Trademark Register