Small-Business Start Up Starting any business requires careful investigation and planning. The SBA publishes valuable guides for those interested in starting a business. Some of the SBA's most popular publications are Going into Business, Planning and Goal Setting for Small Business, Developing a Strategic Business Plan, and ABC's of Borrowing. A person can improve his or her chances of business success by taking the time to write a business plan. The business plan is an organized process of putting down on paper what the person is trying to accomplish with the business. It describes the business, the good or service, the customers, the competition, and the financing of all activities necessary to enter business and make or sell a good or service. It is the game plan of the proposed new venture. The business plan is also called a prospectus, proposal, or blue book. Starting a business with no plan, goals, or direction is a good way to fail. Competition, personal skills, and a program of growth must be thought out carefully. Preparing a business plan forces a person to take a careful look at what the business will be, what resources will be needed, and how the business must be managed. The business plan also serves to show banks or investors that the individual is organized, serious about the business, and willing to discuss all aspects of the business, including motivation. No business plan can be perfect. Unexpected market changes occur that cannot be controlled. However, a well-thought-out business plan provides the person, banks, investors, and others with a framework to analyze and evaluate the idea, prospects for success, and potential competition. There is no specific formula for preparing a business plan. However, most business plans are brief, carefully prepared, accurate, and up-to-date. The Appendix to this chapter contains a business plan for a fictitious service business named Events Unlimited. We present it as an example of how to construct a business plan. It does not include information about research and development or about manufacturing, because the fictitious business deals with a service. We also have not included the financial documents because we have not yet covered this type of material in the text. Remember that a complete plan would typically include financial, accounting, and cost data.