Start Ups and Business Plans

AllBusiness - AllBusiness has a cornucopia of advice for entrepreneurs and those trying to expand their businesses. The site explains all aspects of leasing office equipment and what office supplies a new business should stock up on. Ask the Experts section where you can submit questions to people covering the areas of computers and technology, office operations, finance, hope-based business, and more.

Bplans - This web site, sponsored by Palo Alto Software, offers a sampling of downloadable business plans for industries ranging from retail to service.  It also offers advice for developing a marketing plan. Samples and tips are available free.  It also sells Palo Alto Business Planning Software - commercial software designed to help entrepreneurs form a business strategy, write a business plan, and decide on a marketing program. The software includes: Business Plan Pro, Marketing Plus, Decision Maker, Marketing Plan Pro, Business Plan Toolkit.  Business Plan Pro 3.0 was reviewed positively in PC World magazine(September 1998, p. 86). According to the article, Business Plan Pro 3.0 is very comprehensive and flexible and well worth its $100 price. The first version of Business Plan Pro was evaluated best out of seven business planning software programs in the Journal of Business Strategy (Jan/Feb, 1997, p. 44).

Business Owner's Toolkit - Sponsored by CCH, Inc., publisher of business, legal, and tax books, this site offers information on a number of useful topics for the beginning entrepreneur, including writting the business plan. It offers a pratical guide to starting, running, and growing a small business. To access the wealth of infomation available you may choose one of three easy ways to find topic areas in the SOHO Guidebook: select a topic or article from the table of contents, use the index, or conduct a search.

Center for Business Planning - The Center for Business Planning provides any business manager or entrepreneur with a set of resources to help in creating a business or managing a business. Information is provided on every area of planning a business including: acquire venture capital, define new products, market analysis, competitive analysis, production management, tax problems, legal issues, prepare
financial statements, write a business plan and much more.

Company Corporation - The Company Corporation bills itself as the largest incorporation service in the world on-line and off. It says that it has formed well over 150,000 corporations, limited liability companies and limited partnerships in all states, and offers the most efficient, customer-focused service available. It provides help with business plans.

Incorporating a Small Business: Pros & Cons - The Small Business Advancement Center at the University of Central Arkansas provides a number of information sources available free to entrepreneurs and small business owners. One of the services is to make available papers on topics of interest. This paper was written in 1997 and deals with incorporating a small business. The paper is entitled "Small Business Clients Should Take Care--Accountants and Lawyers May Not Understand the Advantages and Disadvantages of Incorporation" and is written by Paul Dunn, Leo Cheatham, and Carole Cheatham of Northeast Louisiana University.

Industry Profiles - The Small Business Advancement Center at the University of Central Arkansas provides a number of information sources available free to entrepreneurs and small business owners. One of them, the Small Business Advancement Electronic Resource, has detailed information on various industries in the form of profiles. This information provides the background of an industry that a prospective entrepreneur may wish to enter. Many of these profiles were developed by the SBA - others by various universities and colleges around the U.S. Each profile describes the nature of the industry, management details, owner profiles, how to buy an existing business, marketing techniques, how to write a business plan for that particular industry, financing, industry history, and trends related to the industry. Some of the industries profiled are: child care, antique shops, farming, drug stores, styping services, and street vendors, among others.

BPlan Developer - Business plan workbook.
BizPlanBuilder - Templates for constructing a business plan.
Business Plan Master - Prepares a business plan using templates.
Business Plan Pro - Uses spreadsheets, charts, documents to create business plans. (Discussed earlier under Bplans.)

B-Plan, Business Plan Pro, and BizPlan Builder, among other business planning software, were evaluated on 10 attributes in the Journal of Business Strategy (Jan/Feb 1997, pp. 42-45).

Other useful programs:

Small Business Advisor - Provides tax and legal advice.
Attend - Tracks employee attendance.
Business Analyst - Analyzes a business to increase cash flow and net profit.
Home Business Guide - Guide to starting a home-based business.
Home Business Manager - Keeps tabs on customers, orders, invoices, etc.
Integra Office - Time keeping, billing, scheduling
Personnel - Personnel management program.
PICS Lite - Inventory management.

PlanWrite - Sold by Business Resource Software, Inc., PlanWrite takes the user through the complete planning process.  It assists the user in constructing a credible and reliable business plan, including everything from marketing information to detailed financials. It includes tutorials. PlanWrite uses the question and answer approach to build financial spreadsheets. It also provides sample plans. The software includes access to internet sites to work with other software. Price is $230. Very positively reviewed in Journal of Business Strategy (January/February, 1998, p. 40).

Resource Centre  - Based in Ottawa, Quebec, Canada, the Resource Centre has useful resources to fully research and develop a business idea.  Trained and experienced staff are on hand to assist with all types of inquires from basic start-up information to more complex questions. Most of the services are free.

Small Business Development Centers - Iowa - Small Business Development Centers throughout the U.S. provide one-on-one, confidential, free counseling to individuals interested in starting or expanding a business. This Iowa web site helps people analyze their business idea and start them in the process of writing a business plan. Warning: sticky site

Small Business Development Centers - U.S - This web site provides a complete listing of all the U.S. Small Business Development Centers for every state in the union. Phone numbers and key contact people are included. Each SBDC not only provides free counseling to people wanting to start a business, but also helps them write a business plan.

SmartOnline - is an online business center that can help guide a start-up company in business plan, marketing strategy, and incorporating.

Startup Journal - The Wall Street Journal Center for Entrepreneurs.

Strategic Business Planning Company - This web site offers some solid information on writting a business plan. The Strategic Business Planning Company is a consulting company which helps people write business plans. According to the company, its executives and business plan writers have started, owned and operated businesses in industries such as: Business Consulting, Mortgage, Computer Systems Analysis and Design, Import/Export, and Health Care Administration Systems.

Venture Capital Resource Library - The Venture Capital Resource Library offers free tax, legal,and strategic information. A free business plan template is available for downloading.  The plan can be submitted via a form to obtain advice from the web site operators.