Preparing a business plan is more about ensuring your idea is solid than trying to obtain financial support! If you place the emphasis on only obtaining the financing you will most likely be setting yourself up for failure!

Any half intelligent individual would not start out on a trip across the country without first understanding how much it would cost and the best route to take in order to reach your final destination. A business plan is no different. If prepared correctly it should clearly let you know if you are going to reach your objective or not!

Another huge flaw with most business plans is that they put a lot of time and effort into describing the product or service, and very little effort into sales! I would guess that most new businesses go out of business because they did not do the upfront work of developing a great sales and marketing plan. This is really the key to your business getting off the ground. Yes of course you have to have a product or service that is valuable, but you must get it in front, of your customer.

In order to do that you must first define who your customer is! So who is your customer? Are they young or old? Are they male or female? Are they rich or poor? Do they live in the city or in the country? Do they work out? Are they computer savvy or do they have trouble with technology!

Let's put that to a test and see why it matters!

If your business plan is to open up a new coffee shop who are you going to appeal too? Before you lock yourself into a box that no one will have a key to, find out some information about your geographical location.

It will do you no good to open up a coffee shop where you appeal to the young preppy crowd if you live in an area where most of the population is older with large families. The best way to understand your area is not to guess but check out the United States Census information. It holds a wealth of information about the population where you live and best of all its free.

One of the next things you can do is to visit your competition. Go in and purchase something and observe everything about it. What time of the day is it? How many people are in the place? Is it clean or dirty? Does the counter person know the customer by name? How much are the products? Do they serve anything else and does it look fresh? This will tell you a lot about the place.

Finally, even if you have a great idea and the geographical area looks great what about access to the physical location. Is it easy to get in and out of? Is there sufficient parking to sustain the business? Is it safe?

As you can see we have just scratched the surface on creating a solid business plan. Do not take it lightly. Put in a great deal of effort up front to find and eliminate obstacles instead of trying to overcome them after you have opened the doors for business.

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