There are more than 20 million small businesses and farm businesses in the US, accounting for just over 50% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The creativity and entrepreneurial nature of small business owners are driving forces in the US economy. In Virginia agricultural producers are becoming more entrepreneurial to stay profitable. We are seeing evidence of this trend by the increase in direct marketing, value-added production, and alternative enterprises in Virginia agriculture.
Small business owners (including farm owners) commonly need assistance with the "business" side of their operations. The main areas of small business management include:
- Strategic planning
- Writing a business plan
- Legal forms of business organization
- Labor management
- Risk management
- Marketing management
- Financial management
- Contingency planning
This website provides links to helpful information related to these areas of small business management.
Writing a Business Plan
Business plans are powerful tools for owners and managers. They help the management team make decisions, apply for loans, attract high quality employees or potential investors, and much more. Most small business owners do not have a written business plan, and many do not have an idea as to how to write a business plan. Here's a skeleton business plan (Word file) that will help you think through the important questions and the major sections of a business plan.
Here are some example business plans (student projects) from the Small Business Management course at Virginia Tech:
Monday, June 28, 2010
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CB Masonry (pdf file)
Small business owners tell us that managing their labor force is one of the biggest headaches of running a business. It is important to have clearly-written job descriptions, labor policies (hiring, firing, etc.), as well as a good estimate of what labor actually costs a business (labor cost worksheet).
Spreadsheets for Small Businesses
Here are links to Excel spreadsheets that can be useful for small business planning.
- Start-up Capital Worksheet - this spreadsheet helps a prospective business owner determine the major costs of opening the doors to a new business.
- Labor Cost Worksheet - this spreadsheet estimates the actual cost of hiring a person, including FICA/FUTA taxes, Worker's Compensation, paid holidays, and other benefits.
- Financial Statements - these spreadsheets help a business owner develop estimated balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements (cash budget). These financial statement spreadsheets are simplified templates - they assume cash-based accounting and they do not strictly follow GAAP.
- Job Cost Estimate - this spreadsheet estimates the direct and indirect costs of a specific job, and helps the owner determine a bid price for the job.
Small Business PowerPoint© Presentations