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Starting a Small Business in O'Fallon: Writing a Business Plan

"Patch" rounds up tips and resources for prospective O'Fallon business owners.

If you’re considering opening a business in O’Fallon, you may be following our small business series. So far, we’ve covered the concept phase of starting your own business, including tips on choosing an original business idea and inside information on buying a franchise.

Once you’ve decided what your business you'd like to open, it’s time to bring the concept into reality. The first step on that journey is to create a business plan, which can be simply defined as a written description of the steps you’ll take to launch and build your business.

Why do I need a business plan?

“Making a business successful depends on so many variables,” said Patty Brown, an economic development specialist for the City of O'Fallon.

A business plan can serve you in a number of ways. If you’re seeking investors to help fund your business, you’ll need a well-written business plan to show your potential investors your vision. And a business plan serves as a blueprint for your business, giving you a clearer understanding of how to manage your company.

 “The key for anyone interested in starting off, is to recognize that running your own business isn’t a 40-hour-per-week job,” Brown said. “It really is a life-changing decision that takes a 24-hour, 365-day commitment.”

What do I need to include in a business plan?

A good business plan will outline your business goals and strategies. It will also help you to anticipate potential issues that may come up and give you time and space to plan solutions ahead of time. It will also outline the organizational structure, including responsibilities and the amount of money you’ll need to finance the business until it becomes self-sufficient.

You’ll start with a cover and a title page. Once you’ve finished writing the business plan, you’ll add a table of contents. The core components of the business plan include the business concept, the marketplace description and analysis and the financial breakdown.

This is a very high-level overview, of course, and each section will be broken down further. Depending on the nature and size of your business and your funding requirements, your business plan may be anywhere from a single page to more than 100 pages.

The following resources offer in-depth assistance with writing business plans.

Have you always dreamed of starting your own business? Subscribe to our daily newsletter so you won’t miss a single part of this ongoing series! Next week, we’ll discuss writing a business plan.

Do you own your own business in O’Fallon? We want to share your story with the community! Contact Patch reporter Angela Atkinson at angela.atkinson@patch.com to arrange for an interview.

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