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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Do You Really Need a Business Plan?

"Do You Really Need a Business Plan?" By Nikki Barnett, LMSW, '01; '03

In 2002, Daniel H. Pink wrote The New York Times - Best Seller book "Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working for Yourself." Pink brought to light that over 25 million Americans were self-employed and uncovered a shift in attitudes about the workplace and economy. Increasingly, individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit start a business with little thought put into mapping out their vision or plan. With a ton of enthusiasm and ambition, coupled with little experience, most "free agents" fail because they do NOT invest time and energy into writing their business plan

According to Ronni Rosen, Senior Business Advisor from NYS Small Business Development Center, here are three tips to provide you with support while writing your business plan:

1. Outline your financial needs. Start by asking yourself what kind of financing you are likely to need. What initial investment will your business require?

2. Do your homework and determine set objectives. What is the current state of the marketplace you're seeking to enter? Competitors? Target customers? What are perceived threats and opportunities? Try writing a letter to yourself, written from five years in the future, describing your accomplishments and how they came about. 

3. Plan what you will do with your planA business plan can be used for monitoring progress toward goals, invite colleagues to invest in or enhance your plan, or entice employees to join your business.

 Nikki is a double alum from Stony Brook University, having earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and Master of Social Work Degree (MSW), with a specialization in Student Community Development (SCD). In 2008, Nikki received her LMSW. She has been working in Career Services at the Stony Brook University's Career Center since 2007, and has worked in higher education for 10 years. Prior to this, Nikki worked in Residence Life as both an Assistant Director for College Housing (2005) and, before that, Residence Hall Director (2003) at Stony Brook. Over the years Nikki has built an expertise in career coaching and counseling.


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