WASHINGTON — Owning and operating a successful small business is challenging in the best of times, but entrepreneurs who have business plans are twice as likely to obtain capital and are more likely to grow, according to the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE).
The beginning of the year is a great time for business planning, says SCORE mentor Laura Rogers, “not just for new businesses but for existing businesses – so you can start fresh for the new year.”
As a banker and regional credit manager, Rogers notes that in today’s macroeconomic environment, small businesses need to be thinking ahead.
“Interest rates are increasing and may continue to do so,” she says. “Small businesses must account for that in their budgeting, and make sure they understand consumer spending habits, how they can change and how that can impact your business.”
To aid small-business owners in creating their plans, SCORE is offering several business planning templates that include easy-to-follow instructions to consider the many aspects of running a business, anticipate challenges and develop strategies to succeed. Once complete, SCORE mentors are also available to review plans, offer feedback and provide expert advice.
These services are provided at no charge.
“Unfortunately, 20% of small businesses fail in their first year and 50% fail within the first five years,” says SCORE CEO Bridget Weston. “When small-business owners think through key issues and work with a mentor, they are more likely to avoid common pitfalls and are three times more likely to stay in business.”
While developing a business plan can seem overwhelming, the key is to just get started, says Kewaan Dayton, an entrepreneur and SCORE mentor with a decade of experience successfully launching his own ventures.
His advice: “Don’t wait. Take that first step, talk to the clients, start servicing them and figure out the requirements. Then it is a matter of following a business plan to guide your growth.”
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].