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Counseling & Training Resources

A number of organizations offer counseling services to startups, much of it is free of charge. Tapping into their advice and experience will improve the chances of success.

Small Business Administration (SBA)
The U.S. Small Business Administration and its nationwide network of partners help millions of potential and current small business owners start, grow and succeed.

Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)
A 10,500-member volunteer nonprofit association which operates under cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration with more than 40 years experience helping small businesses succeed, matches volunteer business-management counselors with clients in need of expert advice.

DBED Office of Business Services (OBS)
OBS advocates, guides, directs and connects small businesses to beneficial contacts, links, resources and services. It helps remove barriers that small businesses often contend with in the areas of business licensing, economic stimulus information, financing, regulatory issues, procurement, and workforce challenges.

Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
SBDCs offer one-stop assistance to individuals and small businesses by providing a wide variety of information, advice and guidance in central and easily accessible branch locations. The program is a cooperative effort of the private sector, the educational community and federal, state and local governments.

Small Business Resource Centers (SBRC)
SBRCs provide free services to help small businesses get established, grow and improve. Counselors have real world experience and success within the small business arena, equipping them to offer expert advice and a wealth of information about many subjects that affect small businesses, from planning and financing to marketing and insurance.

FundingUniversity is a 7-week course offered by FundingUniverse. During these sessions learn what it takes to impress investors from local entrepreneurs who've been there, done that. Over a 7-week course you'll work from templates and instruction to create your own business deliverables including business plan, executive summary, proforma financials, and Powerpoint presentation.

International Resources
National Resources
Regional, State & Local Resources

The Business Plan

A written guide to starting and running your business is essential for success. This plan serves as a road map for the development of the business, facilitates obtaining capital, and generally promotes growth.

The following links to outlines, tutorials and templates can help you through the planning process.

Essential Elements Of A Good Business Plan (SBA). Outlines how to write your plan.

Finding a Niche: Make Your Business Plan Stand Out (SBA) The following tips can help you clarify what your business has to offer, identify the right target market for it and build a niche for yourself.

Guide For Writing a Business Plan (SBA) Detailed, step-by-step explanation to help write your plan.

Business Plan Template (SBA) (On line | PDF) Step-by-step guide to help you build the business plan.

Guidelines for Business Planning (SBRC) The SBRC’s guidelines for creating the business plan.

Writing a Business Plan (DBED) DBED’s outline for writing the business plan.

Business Planning Templates from SCORE

The following templates can provide direction for developing all aspects of the business plan, particularly the supporting financial documents.

Business Plan Template - Startup (Word | PDF )
Business Plan for an Established Business (Word | PDF)
Advisory Board (Excel)
Competitive Analysis (Word | PDF)
Financial Projections (Template | Explanatory Notes for Template)
Start-Up Expenses (Excel | PDF)
Opening Day Balance Sheet (Excel | PDF)
Projected Balance Sheet Template (Excel)
Bank Loan Request (Word | PDF)
Loan Amortization Schedule (Excel | PDF) (Provided by Microsoft Office Online)
Breakeven Analysis (Excel | PDF)
Cash Flow Statement (12 Months) (Excel | PDF)
Cash Flow Statement (4 Years) (Excel | PDF) (Provided by Real Easy Books)
Personal Financial Statement (Excel | PDF)
Profit and Loss Projection (12 Months) (Excel | PDF)
Profit and Loss Projection (3 Years) (Excel | PDF)
Sales Forecast (12 Months) (Excel)