What is a business plan and why do I need one?
Business plans are often compared to roadmaps, and with good reason. You wouldn’t start driving across the country armed only with the general knowledge that New York is east of San Francisco. Yet, too often, that is exactly how people embark on the journey of business ownership.
Here are some reasons why writing a business plan is important, whether you are preparing to start a new business or have been running one for a while without a plan:
- Structure – you will have a far greater chance of succeeding in business if you take a systematic approach to planning and operating your company. A business has many moving parts, and writing the business plan will help you organize and address every aspect.
- Clarity – you will more easily convince customers to trust your business once you clearly understand and can communicate how your product or service solves their problem and serves their need.
- Access to capital – you have almost no chance of attracting an investor or getting a loan for your business without a detailed, well thought out, written business plan.
- Risk minimization – you will be better prepared to deal with challenges that arise in running a business if you have a solid understanding of your industry, market conditions, your customers, and your competitors.
What is in a business plan?
I. Business Model
How attractive is this business idea?
II. Market Analysis
Overview of competitors
Profile of potential target customers
Overview of production process
Competitive advantage from operations
IV. Financial Assumptions
V. Financial Analysis
How can Renaissance help?
Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center offers practical hands-on training taught by successful small business owners. Students learn tools and skills that can be applied immediately to start or grow their own small business. Classes are taught in a highly interactive and supportive environment, drawing on the diversity of business ideas, experience, knowledge and perspective of the participants. Renaissance offers:
Renaissance offers 2 classes in business planning, depending on the location:
- Business Planning – Currently offered at SoMa Renaissance only. This intensive, 14-week, 80-hour class helps students create practical, effective business plans for their own businesses. It addresses every aspect of starting and growing a small business including marketing, management, finance, and tax and recordkeeping. The class includes two evenings of individual consultation, Excel classes, financial coaching, and a business plan review session. Download an application here.
- Business Preparation – Currently offered at Bayview and Mid-Peninsula Renaissance only. This practical hands-on 9-session class provides an introduction to business basics and students determine the viability of their business ideas. Students begin building business plans and learn the fundamentals of marketing, operations, and finance. Based on market analysis, operational plans, and financial projections, they can determine if their business idea has potential for success. Offered in English and Spanish at Mid-Peninsula Renaissance only.
When are business planning classes offered?
Renaissance SoMa: Classes at 275 Fifth Street in San Francisco are offered 4 times a year. Classes are twice a week for 14 weeks.
Renaissance Mid-Peninsula: Business Preparation classes at 1848 Bay Road in East Palo Alto are offered twice a year. Classes meet once a week for 8 weeks, with an optional addition of 6 weeks for Business Implementation. Schedule includes some Saturdays and all courses/services are provided in English and Spanish.
Renaissance Bayview: Classes at 3801 Third Street in San Francisco are offered at various times during the year and meet twice a week.
**Learn about all of the programs and services we offer by attending a
free Kickstart or Launch Your Own Business orientation workshop.