SCORE

By Robert Weiner 

What's scarier to someone planning to start a new business? A business plan, or a punch in the face? Why, a business plan of course!

Many just starting out in the small business world are under the impression they must have a formal business plan before taking their first steps. But unless you're asking for a bank loan or seeking financing from investors, you may be wasting your time.

If you're looking for financing from family or friends, and they ask you for your business plan, invite them to lunch and bring your trusty yellow pad with you.

What is a yellow pad business plan?

A yellow pad business plan is an informal way to get your ideas down on paper. Simply divide your yellow pad in half, then use the headings “Here’s What I Was Thinking,” and “I’ve Done Some Research.” Your first column serves to identify why there is a need for your particular business idea, what makes you qualified in this area, and any other important characteristics of your potential business. The second column is where you flesh out the research you’ve done in this area. Where would you locate? How much would rent and utilities be? What is your overhead and need from investors?

Here is an example of what your legal pad business plan could look like.

Do you have a great idea for a business but don’t know where to start? Take a stab at a yellow pad business plan, then make an appointment with one of our SCORE mentors! Our knowledgeable mentors will readily accept your yellow pad business plan at your first meeting. It's a great start for both of us! Click here to find a mentor for your small business!A yellow pad business plan is a great way to get your initial ideas and plan for your business written out. This serves as an informal tool to help guide your business and get you started with your big idea.

Robert Weiner is a retired Senior Vice President, General Merchandise Manager of a 100-store discount chain. For 26 years, he owned a closet design company, and for 24 years owned a plastic manufacturing company. Robert holds two United States patents. He has been a Monmouth SCORE mentor for three years, and is actively involved with the Business Development Center of Interfaith Neighbors in Asbury Park. He is a mentor for the Junior Entrepreneur Training (JET) program, which trains sixth, seventh and eighth graders how to be entrepreneurs. Robert lives in Asbury Park with his wife of 50 years, Anita, and has two children and four grandchildren.