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Tips on business plans from SCORE

SCORE counselors advise and guide entrepreneurs and small business professionals with their ventures. Here is some of their advice for getting started:

- Do a SWOT Analysis on your business and yourself: Examine your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This is a good idea for all small businesses.

- Find examples of business plans on

- SCORE suggests there are five essential elements of a business plan: Introduction or executive summary, marketing plan, operating plan, financial plan and supporting documents.

- Gather information for your business plan. Along with researching your industry, you might find these sites helpful in your research:;;;;;; Then talk to prospective customers and assess the competition.

- Supporting documents could include: contracts, credit reports, legal documents, lease agreements, letters of referene, personal financial statements, resumes of management team.