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Small Business Hub: A Research Guide for Entrepreneurs

Write a Business Plan

Create a document that details your business operations, which can be used to attract potential investors, business partners and clients. Depending on the audience, a business plan can be formal and detailed in terms of financial plans and forecasts, marketing strategy, staffing plans, and industry trends that could affect your business, or it can be informal and provide a simple overview of business operations and future goals.  

One component of a business plan used to secure financing is forecasting future sales. With established businesses, they can look at past sales data and trends to estimate future revenue. However, a new business with no historical data available has to use a combination of sales data from the product market or industry as a whole, available data from similar businesses, surveys from buyers and sellers in the supply chain, and relevant contextual information such as consumer trends. 

Tips

Starting points:

  1. Find a business plan template you like.
  2. Find a sample plan or similar company to give you example information. 

Suggested strategies:

  • Finding startup costs and calculating sales for a new business can be difficult, and any you do find can vary dramatically based on your product, service or location. There is no one standard formula. Sample business plans, trade journals and small business handbooks can give you some ideas of one-time costs, but you may need to source the actual costs by contacting suppliers/vendors and service providers.  
  • Visit the Small Business Administration's website External to see business plan formats and sample plans.

Select Resources

The subscription resources below marked with a padlock are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.

The following materials link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are provided when available.

These are freely available online sources provided by government agencies, trade publications, and organizations.

The following guide was created by the Library of Congress to give an in-depth list of resources on a specific topic.