People with GPS units in their cars and phones love the convenience of simply entering locations and receiving step-by-step directions for getting to their destinations safe and sound.

Central Maine SCORE chapter mentor Jack Tetreault noted that, “Entrepreneurs have their own ‘GPS’ to help find small business success — the business plan.”

He continued, “But unlike its electronic counterparts, a business plan does not come with a preprogrammed route to ‘Easy Street.’ It’s up to every aspiring small business owner to collect and analyze information related to a small business idea. Only then can one determine the best way to get that idea from Point A to Point B and beyond.”

Preparing a business plan has never been easier, he said.. There are plenty of software tools and templates available to guide a business owner through the various sections needed to describe their idea and their intentions. For example, SCORE’s business plan guide is at its website,

There is also room for creativity, which can be helpful because a strong business plan may be required by banks and potential investors. “We suggest using PowerPoint slides, relevant charts and graphics, and even a video presentation if possible,” Tetreault said.

Tetreault adds that, “Whether you present your plan in person or by email, readers’ attention spans are short. You need to get key information across quickly. And just as your in-car GPS requires regular updates, your business plan is a work-in-progress that should evolve in response to local and national economic changes, new technologies and shifts in consumer preferences.”

To learn more about starting and operating a small business, contact SCORE. A nonprofit organization of more than 12,000 volunteer business mentors, SCORE provides free confidential counseling and training.

For more information and an appointment to meet with a volunteer mentor, contact Central Maine SCORE at 782-3708 or at [email protected], or contact the Auburn Public Library for an appointment with a volunteer mentor. In Oxford Hills call 743-0499; in Rumford-Mexico call 364-3123. Or contact SCORE at

This column is provided by the Central Maine SCORE chapter.

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