I attended an interesting workshop with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at UTSA. This workshop is pretty much required if you are going to work with the SBDC. The topic was creating a business plan. That was a good topic for me, since I've never had to do one before. Most of the services of the SBDC are free, but to get you started there is a small fee attached to the first workshop. I guess the reason for this is determining how serious you are and also so you have some skin in the game to make sure you show up.
A business plan is not rocket science but it definitely provides a lot of opportunity to identify areas of business that are important, but for which you might not be familiar. It gets you to start thinking about who your audience is and how you will communicate with them. It asks you to create a mission statement and to identify markets. All of those things seem important if a business is successful. It also asks you to look up some data related to what you want to do.
The facilitator did a good job of walking us through the outline of the business plan and I was able to fill in a few of the blanks, but clearly this is going to take some time to draft. Not part of the business plan outline but required is a financial pro forma -- basically how much money you will need to start-up, where it comes from and how it will be spent. Our facilitator recommended starting by doing the main outline before tackling the financials. I will gladly do that.