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Set In Stone

The best-laid business plans...

This story appears in the June 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

You wouldn't set out on a journey without a map, right? So why would you start a business without a plan? "A business plan provides a road map for a company and its executives to follow," says Bill Crookston, an associate professor for the Entrepreneur Program at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

A business plan isn't just for your own peace of mind, however; investors will demand it when you search for funding. Your start-up plan should focus on marketing and financial information and must portray a route your company intends to follow--financiers could withdraw credit if you don't meet your goals, Crookston says. And forget about hiring an expert to do it for you; each entrepreneur should create his or her own plan, he stresses.

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