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Map It Out

Get help making a plan so you don't get lost on the way to startup.

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This story appears in the October 2005 issue of Start Up.

Before you hang the "Open" sign in your storefront window, you must formulate a plan that captures the essence of your business and anticipates the rush of customers, the cost of employee benefits and your competition's weaknesses. For some, it's a painstaking task that makes them quit before they ever get started. Others seek answers from a box.

Business-plan software can offer helpful, step-by-step advice to get budding entrepreneurs over the threshold of procrastination. It can also help secure investment. According to the American Bankers Association, 52.3 percent of bankers believe a complete business plan is key to securing a loan.

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