An effective business plan serves at least four useful purposes:
It helps entrepreneurs focus their ideas. It also helps determine whether a business idea is feasible
It creates a track for management to follow in the early stages of the business
It creates benchmarks against which the entrepreneur and management can measure progress
It provides a vehicle for attracting capital to help finance the business
A well written business plan is an important document for any business seeking financing. However, a thorough business plan is an essential tool for all businesses, regardless of financial needs. Most lenders will not even discuss financing without a business plan. The business plan brings together all the goals, plans, strategies and resources of a business. In addition, if you write a comprehensive business plan prior to the commencement of operations, it may save you from significant financial and professional losses in an unprofitable business. Both the federal and state governments provide assistance in helping you create your business plan and in locating financing opportunities.
A joint effort from a number of government agencies, BusinessUSA implements a "no wrong door" approach for small businesses and exporters by using technology to quickly connect businesses to the services and information relevant to them, regardless of where the information is located or which agency's website, call center, or office they go to for help.
Where to register for your business and see if your name has already been registered. From the Secretary of State website.
Books - General Information
Have a business idea but don't know where to start? The following books include information on first steps to take when considering starting a business.
The Small Business Start-Up Kit by Peri PakrooThe Small Business Start-Up Kit shows you how to set up a small business in your state, quickly and efficiently clearing state and local bureaucratic hurdles along the way.
We'll show you how to:
* choose between an LLC and other business structures
* write an effective business plan
* pick a winning business name and protect it
* hire and manage staff
* comply with legal and tax issues affecting home businesses
* price, bid, and bill your projects
* manage finances and taxes
* get your website up and running, and
* market your business effectively, online and off.
Small Time Operator by Bernard B. KamoroffWritten for small businesses, self-employed individuals, employers, professionals, independent contractors, home businesses, and Internet businesses, Small Time Operator is the most popular business start-up guide ever. In clear, easy-to-understand language, the author covers getting permits and licenses; how to finance a business; finding the right business location; creating and using a business plan; choosing and protecting a business name; deciding whether to incorporate; establishing a complete bookkeeping system; hiring employees; federal, state, and local taxes; buying a business or franchise; dealing with and avoiding the IRS; doing business on the Internet; handling insurance, contracts, pricing, trademarks, patents, and much more."