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5 reasons you need a business plan

5 reasons you need a business plan

By U.S. Small Business Administration Category: SBA News and Views

If you are starting a small business, there is no shortage of advice on the steps you should take: registering your business name, getting a Tax ID, deciding on a business structure, and applying for the needed permits and licenses. While these are all very important steps to take, a business plan will be central to how you start, grow and develop your business.

Here are 5 reasons why you need a business plan:

1. It will help you steer your business as you start and grow.

Think of a business plan as a GPS to get your business going. A good business plan guides you through each stage of starting and managing your business. You’ll use your business plan as a GPS for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. It’s a way to think through and detail all the key elements of how your business will run.

2. It’s not as hard as you think.

A business plan is a written tool about your business that projects 3-5 years ahead and outlines the path your business intends to take to make money and grow revenue. Think of it as a living project for your business, and not as a one-time document. Break it down into mini-plans – one for sales and marketing, one for pricing, one for operations, and so on.

3. It will help you to reach business milestones.

A well-thought-out business plan helps you to step back and think objectively about the key elements of your business and informs your decision-making as you move forward. It is essential whether you need to secure a business loan or not. Keep in mind that the plan does not have to be like an encyclopedia and does not have to have all the answers.

4. It can help you get funding.

Business plans can help you get funding or bring on new business partners. Having one in place will help investors feel confident that they will see a return on their investment. Your business plan is the tool you will use to persuade others that working with you (or investing in your business) is a smart decision.

5. There’s no wrong way to write a business plan.

There is no right or wrong way to write a business plan. You can pick a plan format that works best for you. What’s important is that your business plan meets your needs. Most business plans fall into one of two common categories: traditional or lean startup.

Traditional business plans are more common, use a standard structure, and encourage you to go into detail in each section. Traditional plans tend to require more work upfront. Lean startup business plans are less common but still use a standard structure. They focus on summarizing only the most important points of the key elements of your plan. They can take as little as one hour to make and are typically just one page.

Because knowing where to start can be challenging, the SBA has tools to help make writing a business plan less intimidating and time-consuming. The SBA offers a Business Plan Tool that helps simplify the process. The tool consists of eight easy-to-follow steps to help create a well-prepared plan.

To learn more about putting your business plan together, go to the SBA’s Online Learning Center and take the self-paced course on How to Write a Business Plan. The course explains the importance of business planning, describes the components of a plan and provides access to resources and sample plans. You can also take a look at the SBA’s Business Planning Guide for more information and to view business plan templates.

If you want a more hands-on approach, you can get assistance from an SBA resource partner to help complete your business plan. Working with a mentor or counselor from SCORE, a Small Business Development Center or a Women’s Business Center can help with all aspects of starting, growing, or expanding your business.

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Researching Your Competitive Marketplace to Gain Advantage By Using Porter’s 5 Forces

Researching Your Competitive Marketplace to Gain Advantage

By Using Porter’s 5 Forces

The small business arena has been in flux for well over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Huge shortages of products during the early stages and the reluctance of consumers to go out in public.  Many resilient entrepreneurs during the pandemic have become creative in offering deliveries, outside dining, and revamping their inventories.  In this new streamlined economy, small businesses must keep adapting to the changes that are inevitably coming.

A great analyzing tool is “Porter’s 5 Forces” which is a model developed by Michael Porter of the Harvard School of Business.  It looks at five competitive market elements of your business allowing you to fine-tune operational strategies.  

When developing your strategy using these five strategies conceived by Professor Porter the small business owner can develop a superior competitive strategy. 

 Porter’s 5 Forces

Suppliers Bargaining PowerThe characteristics of your supply chain are a big factor in the amount of control that the suppliers have over buyers.  The fewer suppliers the greater control they have over the pricing and distribution of products.  When many suppliers are offering the same type of products and costs for changing to a competing supplier are low, a company can increase its profits by switching vendors.

Buyers Bargaining Power

When buyers’ Bargaining power is high they have numerous buying options. If there are choices limited they have limited power.  When a competitor can supply a product that is identical or a substitute for an existing one at a lower price the buyer has a choice. 

Substitute Threats

During the current pandemic, the supply chain was unable to keep up with demand.  As we all remember many products were not available and substitutions became a standard practice.  Some of those substitutions proved to be better than the ones we were used to purchasing.  

Industry Competitors Rivalry

If a product is generic and there are many competitors in the marketplace each supplier has to determine what makes their product appeal to customers.  Knowing what customer base you are targeting will give you an edge. Quality, low price, distribution method, and services offered are factors to consider.  When competing with a large corporation that has a competitive advantage a small company should offer boutique products that the larger firms are ignoring.  An example is the proliferation of craft breweries.

New Entrants Threat

Barriers to entering a new venture can be high or low depending on the type of organizations are currently holding the dominant market shares. Porter states that economies of scale are an advantage to large enterprises due to their ability to produce on a large scale reducing the cost per unit.

Capital requirements are a factor in the new entry of competitors entering the marketplace.  Production of custom products on a small scale using new technology such as 3D printers creates a niche for small producers.  They can advertise through social media and distribute through online vendors.  There is usually little threat of retaliation by large producers since these are low production items. 

If businesses periodically review Porter’s 5 forces and adjusting their strategies to the changing economic conditions, they will have a competitive advantage over their rivals.


Porter, Michael E. “The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy.” Special Issue on HBS Centennial. Harvard Business Review 86, no. 1 (January 2008): 78–93.

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Grow Your Customer Base With CRM Software

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) helps business owners to better serve their customers by analyzing acquired data. This software is very effective in examining information for marketing, sales, and customer service. CRM is a valuable tool for business people to better understand their consumers’ needs and wants.

For those entrepreneurs that are in business-to-business (B2B) sales CRM aids in forging a partnership with customers. Those organizations in the business-to-consumer (B2C) such as retailers, service providers, and restauranteurs will develop a bond with consumers increasing repeat sales.

Marketers can create more fruitful campaigns to convert prospects into customers and increase sales volume with existing customers. Promotional media can be directed at the targeted clientele. Using email, digital advertising media, and telemarketing to reach your customer base.

The sales database can be accessed from a mobile device when visiting customers giving the seller an in-depth look at the account’s history. An example is a landscaper visiting a client who will know which services and products were purchased in the past allowing them to trade up and recommend additional services.

Customers service software has been concentrated on social media enabling sellers to communicate with their customer base. This is a tool enabling the purchaser to express their endorsements of a job well done and complaints that can be resolved ASAP.

Take control of your company’s growth and invest in CRM software.

Below is a list of the best 10 CRMs poster online by:

For more in-depth information visit the website.

The 10 Best CRMs List

Here’s the list of the top CRM software for small businesses. More details below:

  • – Best CRM software for flexibility and ability to scale
  • ClickUp – Best CRM free plan for small businesses
  • Kintone – Best CRM software for managing change
  • Daylite – Best small business CRM for Mac operating systems
  • Salesmate CRM – Best CRM sales software for small businesses
  • Really Simple Systems – Best CRM software for small B2B businesses
  • Method CRM – Best CRM software for integration with QuickBooks
  • EngageBay – Best CRM software for startups and growing businesses
  • Zoho CRM – Best CRM software for user onboarding and usability
  • Keap CRM – Best CRM software for small businesses who want built-in marketing tools