When starting a business, sometimes knowing what to do next is not the problem. It's knowing how to do it. Take writing a business plan. You've heard about them, but if it's the first time you've ever written one, what do you do? There are a few options for helping the help you need.
1. Business Plan Software
Good software can not only give you a template for your unique content, but also the tools to gather critical data. It should go without saying that not all business plan software is made equal. Toptenreviews.com has a good breakdown of different software packages based on cost and other criteria including flexibility of the software, strength of the research tools, print options, etc. The review can be found here. Remember, a bigger price tag doesn't translate into better software. Do your research to find the best fit for you.
2. Business Plan Services
Another option for help is to contact a professional consulting firm dedicated to helping innovators, entrepreneurs, etc. with their business plans. Availability will depend upon your own geographic location. An internet search for "business plan consulting" in your area should bring back various options. Be advised that, like software, not all consultants are made equal. Seek out recommendations from someone who has used a consultant before, or poke around on a consulting firm's website to find clients they've served. Call up former clients (if possible) and find out from them whether the service was worthwhile before you spend your money.
3. Internet Help
A third option is to mine the internet for free help. Take for example the SBA Business Plan Webinar posted on Youtube.com. It's a series of eight videos that will help you through the process of assembling a business plan. If the two previous warnings weren't enough, remember to apply your personal filters to what you find on the internet. If you have doubts about something presented, try to corroborate it with information elsewhere. Also, if it seems ridiculous or illogical, chances are it is in fact ridiculous. Just take into account where you got your information from. For example, rants on a blog, random personal videos or websites are probably not good sources, while university, government or professional sites are likely to be good ones.
As a last piece of advice, keep in mind that you're not limited to any one option. In fact, while good business software will provide you all the tools for a good business plan, it may be lacking in advice. Enter the internet and or consulting services. Determine for yourself the level of help that you need/are willing to pay for and act accordingly.