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Recommended Online Resources for Business Planning

The Internet is a gold mine of business-planning information and resources. As you delve into the riches, begin with this list of popular sites where you can find useful and reliable tips, tools, and examples — including samples of real-life business plans:

  • Small Business Administration: The SBA site is far and away the best source of information on planning, funding, starting, and running a small business. You can find useful answers to frequently asked questions as well as business counseling help and shareware software programs.

  • Internal Revenue Service: This site is great if you run a small business or are self-employed. The IRS provides all kinds of useful industry and profession-specific information. The site also includes links to other helpful non-IRS business resources on the web.

  • National Federation of Independent Business: The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) calls itself the largest advocacy organization to represent small and independent businesses in the United States. Its website features a frequently updated set of tools and tips that small business owners may find useful.

  • Internet Nonprofit Center: The Internet Nonprofit Center is a great online resource for information about every aspect of planning, starting, and operating a nonprofit organization. Go to the FAQs area to access information on dozens of topics.

  • Service Corps of Retired Executives: The website of the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) offers start-up businesses free counseling via e-mail. The site also includes a learning center, business toolbox, updated success stories from a variety of small- and medium-size companies, and a valuable list of business-related links.

  • Nolo: You can’t find a better place to turn for basic information on the legal aspects of virtually any kind of business than Nolo. This website also offers free advice, including information on insuring your home business, independent contractor arrangements, trademarks and copyrights, debts, bankruptcies, and employment law.

  • Bplans: This Palo Alto Software site includes more than 60 sample business plans, an extensive article library, an archive of expert advice summaries, business calculators, a business-planning product catalog, and a web directory.

  • Business Owner's Toolkit: The Business Owner’s Toolkit website includes a small business guide and ready-to-use business tools, templates, and checklists. On the home page, click on Business Tools, scroll to Marketing, and click Business Plan Components: Sample Plans.

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