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Map It Out

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

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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