QUESTION: I have been encouraged to develop a detailed business plan for a new business I am considering. The plan outlines I have found online are quite detailed. Is there a more user-friendly way to address the main issues I will encounter?

ANSWER: I normally am not one to encourage shortcuts. However, the SCORE organization has developed a one-page business model that helps you answer the critical questions facing a start-up business.

 In essence, your business model is the structure with which you will take your product or service to market and make a profit. It makes you answer questions like who are your typical customers and how will you reach out to them? Who are your competitors and how much can you charge for your product or service?

 Answering these questions can help you begin to crystallize your thoughts about your business model:

  •        Do you have the necessary funds to cover your start up costs and will your monthly cash flow be sufficient to cover your costs of operation until you reach break-even?
  •        Who are your target customers and what value will you deliver to them?
  •        How will you reach your customers? What is your marketing strategy? How much will it cost?
  •        What is your eCommerce strategy and what role will it play in your business?
  •        Who is your competition and how will you compete? What are your competitive advantages?
  •        How much are your customers willing to pay for the value you offer? What are they currently paying and what are your pricing tactics?
  •        What resources are needed to produce your product or service, deliver it to market and make a profit? What infrastructure will it take to do it?
  •        Do you have a team in place including an attorney, accountant, and insurance agent? You can’t know or do everything and you need to have professionals to back you up.

Your SCORE counselor can assist you in developing your business model. SCORE also offers online resources including a Start-up Business Plan outline, Sales & Marketing templates, and various Financial Projection Excel spreadsheets. To access these resources log on to   https://naples.score.org/resource/business-planning-financial-statements-template-gallery 

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Gray Poehler is a volunteer with SCORE Naples. Business counseling on this and other business matters is available, without charge, from the Naples Chapter of SCORE. Call (239) 430-0081 or visit https://naples.score.org/mentors .The SCORE business office is located at 900 Goodlette Road North, in the Fifth Third branch bank building. Office hours are 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday.