SHERIDAN — Entities in Sheridan focus heavily on bringing in and supporting entrepreneurs in the community, but often when the aspiring business owners have an idea, they struggle to explain the idea on paper through a business plan.
Scot Rendall and his team at the Wyoming Technology Business Center help people craft well-written, organized business plans in preparation for presentations to potential investors. Likewise, the Wyoming Small Business Development Center Network pairs clients with consultants to help craft plans.
A business plan guides owners through each stage of starting and managing a business, according to the the U.S. Small Business Administration. Will Hardin, the business outreach coordinator with the Wyoming Business Council, coordinates the “consulting arm” for the WBC Small Business Development Center. Consultants usually start from an idea with new clients.
Hardin’s office works on getting entrepreneurs started with the overall plan itself: the way a plan should be structured, what should be in it, how to write it for a specific audience, whether that audience is investors or bankers or just for the entrepreneurs. He said sometimes clients are fully self-funded and need direction with their own investment into the company.
When compiling a business plan for investors to see, Hardin said the most integral aspect is the operations portion of the plan. By understanding the nuts and bolts of the business, investors can quickly determine how they will see a return on their investment.
Typical business plans include an executive summary of the business, financial resources needed and the payback projected for potential investors. A business description, marketing, operations and financial plans and appendices also help investors better understand the business and the logistics required to succeed.
Like Hardin suggested, an operations plan should include explanation of implementation, materials and sources of supply, methods of production, recordkeeping, risk management and legal issues, all according to a plan outline suggested by the Wyoming Small Business Development Center Network. The financial plan directly coincides, adding required investment, cash flow projections, financial statements, a break-even analysis and supporting documents and diagrams to help facilitate understanding.
Rendall, who works daily with new small-business owners to develop and expand their businesses, worked with a client building a software application on the business owner’s plan elements. Rendall asked the client to start pulling together his objective for pursuing the business, a detailed description of what he envisioned the software app to do, a target market with details on the customer base and potential competitors and possible new markets.
The WSBDCN also includes templates for budgets and financial spreadsheets to help guide the budgeting process. Hardin also suggested The Business Model Canvas, which condenses a business model to one page of information to help solidify the most important aspects of the plan into nine building blocks: customer segments, value propositions, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, key resources, key activities, key partnerships and the cost structure. A video describing the canvas said the tool helps clients map, discuss, design and invent new business models.
For entrepreneurs wishing to craft a business model for their idea, several entities are ready to help organize ideas on paper, whether using an online template or actual consultants through government programs.