planning

Super 7: The 7 Best Free Sources for Business Plan Help

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I was asked by a budding entrepreneur how to get started on their business plan, and I thought I’d share the answer as to my 7 favorite spots for getting started. All are free, whether for the planning materials or the help offered.

Business Plan Templates
(These show you how to craft a plan)

1. SBA has some good free guides at www.sba.gov/content/templates-writing-business-plan.
2. SCORE also has some at http://www.score.org/template_gallery.html

Online Business Plan Makers
(These ask you the questions and format your responses)

3. Purdue’s Agricultural Innovation & Commercialization Center at https://www.agecon.purdue.edu/planner/
(click on ‘start here’ on business planner).

4. My Own Business offers free and for-fee services at http://www.myownbusiness.org/course.html (scroll down and click ‘Free Access to online Course).

Note that all of these are pretty high quality sources, although they do have slightly different outlines of what goes in and where it goes. It is up to you to decide if every single entry is needed (hint: it usually isn’t), but if in doubt, it is better to leave it in (or even better, get free advice from the sources below.

Good Free Advice on Business Plans
(They will offer you advice about your plan.)

5. SBDCs (Small Business Development Centers) have the most offices nationally, so they are your best chance for local advice. You can find them through you can find at http://www.sba.gov/content/small-business-development-centers-sbdcs.

6. SCORE.org offers free advice from over 300 local offices nationwide, or even via email.

7. And don’t forget the original first source of help, the US Small Business Administration at SBA.gov and at district offices in every state.

With these resources at your side, you are sure to get a great business plan going.

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