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Business Plans -- How to Write an Effective Business Plan
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What are business plans?
From the Small Business Administration: A business plan precisely defines your business, identifies your goals, and serves as your firm's resume. The basic components include a current and pro forma balance sheet, an income statement, and a cash flow analysis. It helps you allocate resources properly, handle unforeseen complications, and make good business decisions. As it provides specific and organized information about your company and how you will repay borrowed money, a good business plan is a crucial part of any loan application. Additionally, it informs sales personnel, suppliers, and others about your operations and goals.

Before you begin writing your business plan, consider four core questions:

  • What service or product does your business provide and what needs does it fill?
  • Who are the potential customers for your product or service and why will they purchase it from you?
  • How will you reach your potential customers?
  • Where will you get the financial resources to start your business?

Library Resources
    • Business Plans Handbook is part of Gale Virtual Reference Library
Web Resources
    • Writing the Plan
    Business Plans and business advice.
Books and Video on Developing and Writing Business Plans

Get In-Person Help
  • Mijnnesota Small Business Development Centers
    This statewide network of Small Business Development Centers provide the professional expertise and guidance that every small business owner needs to flourish in today's competitive and changing business world.
  • Small Business Administration -- Minnesota District Office
    The Minnesota SBA Office is responsible for the delivery of SBA's many programs and services throughout the State of Minnesota. The office is located at 210-C Butler Square, 100 N 6th Street, in downtown Minneapolis across the street from the Target Center. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The local phone number is 612-370-2324.
    Business Plans and business advice.
  • WomenVenture
    Help for women entrepreneurs.
  • Womens Business Centers
    SBA assistance for women entrepreneurs.
Find journal articles
  • Business Source Premier
    Use this popular research database to find business articles from 2,200 journals and magazines in marketing, management, information technology, operations, human resources, accounting, finance and economics dating back to 1965. Additional company and industry profiles from Datamonitor are included along with country reports and SWOT analyses.
  • Factiva
    Full text articles and transcripts from news sources, business magazines, and websites with international and foreign language coverage. Includes daily newspapers, television transcripts, newswires, and all editions of the Wall Street Journal. Financial information for publicly traded companies, stocks, funds, currencies, and common market indexes. Limited to 7 simultaneous users. PLEASE NOTE: Due to our academic Factiva subscription, thousands of titles are unavailable, and those change daily. Other sources to consider include Newsbank and Proquest Global Newstream.
  • ProQuest Global Newsstream
    Global Newsstream enables users to search the most recent global news content, as well as archives which stretch back into the 1980s featuring content from newspapers, newswires, and news sites in active full-text format. Provides access to news from the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Australia.
  • American City Business Journals (BizJournals)
    Find articles from the Minneapolis St. Paul Business on local companies and other organizations. Search the the local business journals in over 40 metropolitan areas in the United States to find information on regional companies or other urban issues. These business journals will include lists and rankings leading employers that later get published separately as the Book of Lists for various cities.

    Access is limited to 10 simultaneous users. If you are on the Twin Cities campus, go to If you are affiliated with the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and would like to access this resource off campus, click on the following link to go through the authentication process:

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