1.22.2015

Business Planning Resources for a Non-Profit Organization

It's common KNOWLEDGE that people starting a for-profit or non-profit business should write a business plan. And it's common PRACTICE that most people don't. The reasons why people don't write them are as varied as the reasons why they should but the excuses of "I don't know where to start" or "what goes in it" or "I don't have the time" or "I just want to start" are simply NOT acceptable. Granted, no one is saying that you should spend months writing a business plan (although, maybe you should) or that the business plan is an inflexible bible to be adhered to no matter what. However, once you realize your business plan is a flexible document to guide you, not command you, then you will see why spending a few hours or days working on it matters. Plus, it will  really test your commitment and help you face the reality and seriousness of what you plan to start. If poring over your business on paper agonizes you then maybe doing it for real will haunt you. Finally see your business plan as an opportunity to discover not only how much money you need and expect to earn but also what other key areas need to be addressed from legal to logistics to marketing.

Some general tips: Try to be as specific as possible about the kind of business you're starting and don't be afraid of researching your industry and surveying your potential market. To help guide you as you build your business plan, I have compiled a list of business planning resources with a main focus on non-profits.

Here's a brief step by step overview on writing a non-profit business plan.

"While most of SCORE’s work has focused on small businesses, over the years it has assisted some startup and emerging non-profit organizations, particularly on business issues. As a result of these experiences, SCORE strongly believes that to be effective, competitive and sustainable, non-profits must not only be caring and creative, they must run their operations as businesses. This guide is about a great American institution and a powerful agent for change: the non-profit charitable organization."

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