Youngstown SCORE executives have decades of experience in both creating and reviewing business plans. We share this expert advice for free.  You can review some of the content online but we recommend that you take advantage of our free counseling services by making a confidential appointment with your SCORE mentors today by email or by calling 330-941-2948!

The reason this topic is of particular importance is that the majority of our clients have questions in this area. We provide an array of services to small business owners but one common need tends to be for this content. Therefore, please take a few moments to review this critical section.

Did you ever wonder ...

What is a business plan?

This section gives a layout of the various sections in the plan and their general purpose.

How to create a business plan?

Our answer here provides an overview of the typical process.

What is the purpose of the plan?

We are often introducing our clients to this concept. Many business owners first learn of the need for a plan when they seek a loan. However, there's a more important function.

Who should create a business plan?

Simply click the link above to get your answer.

Does SCORE provide free plan examples?

Yes, and so much more. Learn about our suite of services. 

Youngstown SCORE gives clients free business plan samples.  Examples can be provided in paper form or found electronically. In fact, SCORE small business owners have access to virtually every type of business template.

Electronic business plan templates can be found by visiting the business plan database. All you need is a Mahoning County Ohio library card to access the SCORE affiliate data.

Where do I find a business plan template for free?

Yes, Youngstown SCORE has virtually every business related template, including the business plan template.  

How long does it take to create a business plan?

small business owner or entrepreneur will likely commit over 100 hours when creating a business plan for the first time.  In fact, many clients will take nearly 200 hours.  The amount of effort tends to be proportional to the end result.

Another major factor contributing to the duration will be a number of deviations you elect to integrate into the plan from your initial concept. If you find that many of the underlying assumptions prove invalid, then time and effort will be spent developing alternatives.

It should be mentioned again that a business plan is never complete. It is a living document and as such, you should review your plan periodically.

How often should my plan be updated?

This is a simple question with a complicated answer:

A business plan is a living document and it needs periodic revisions. If you’re in a mature business sector during calm conditions, then you don’t need to revise the plan as often. However, if you are developing a new business or product during turbulent market conditions, then chances are that the assumptions you made while formulating your plan will prove inaccurate sooner.

Rule of thumb for business plan revisions

Since everyone wants a guideline, we will provide this general rule of thumb. You should probably review the business plan every six months and make annual revisions.

Dramatic changes to business plan

A business plan should be reviewed and updated whenever a dramatic change occurs. For example, if two of your competitors merge, you should analyze the impact to your entity and formulate your competitive response. An out-of-date business plan isn’t worth much, depending on the significance of the discrepancies.

A Business Plan: Everything you need to know