When starting a business, having a well-written business plan is critical. A business plan serves as a roadmap for how to structure, run, and expand a business, and it can help owners get funding or attract business partners. New business owners need to be ready to make various decisions, from financing to marketing. Thus, a business plan allows owners to determine critical decisions in advance and articulate a vision in realistic terms
Business Plan Types
Business plans generally fall into two categories, traditional and lean startup, and should be tailored to a business’s needs. A traditional business plan is detail-oriented and comprehensive. This format is preferred if an owner plans to request financing from investors and lenders. This type of plan can be 30–40 pages long and written years out into the future. Traditional plans include a combination of the following categories: 1) executive summary, 2) company description, 3) market analysis, 4) organization and management, 5) service or product line, 6) marketing and sales, 7) funding request, and 8) financial projections.
A lean startup business plan is high-level focused. This format may be preferred if an owner wants to explain or start a business quickly, the business is simple, or the owner plans to modify the plan constantly as they go. Lean startup plans include four essential elements: 1) strategy, 2) tactics, 3) schedule, and 4) a business model.
Native Challenges in Business Planning
Native entrepreneurs encounter unique barriers when developing a business plan. One of the biggest is the lack of information provided to Native entrepreneurs about the resources available to them to start a business, including business planning, technical assistance, access to capital, and networking. The resource guide on the following pages lists organizations and other consultants that can help Native entrepreneurs navigate the challenges of fostering a successful business.
Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), US Small Business Administration
This network of federally funded business centers primarily provides training and assistance with business plan development. Idaho’s main SBDC office is in Boise, but there are regional offices throughout the state. idahosbdc.org and idahosbdc.org/locations/
Boise State University SBDC, State Office
Micron Business and Economics Building
2360 W. University Dr., Ste. 2132, Boise, ID 83705
North Idaho College SBDC
Hedlund Bldg., 420 N. College Dr., Rm. 145,
Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814
Lewis-Clark State College SBDC
406 Main St., Lewiston, ID 83501
College of Southern Idaho SBDC
202 Falls Ave., Twin Falls, ID 83301
Idaho State University SBDC
ISU College of Business
921 S. 8th Ave., Pocatello, ID 83209
Idaho Innovation Center
2300 N. Yellowstone Hwy. #100, Idaho Falls, ID 83401
Office of Native American Affairs, US Small Business Administration
This federal office engages in numerous outreach activities, including tribal consultations, development and distribution of promotional materials, and participation in national economic conferences.
409 3rd St. SW, Washington, DC 20416
Office of Indian Economic Development, US Bureau of Indian Affairs
This federal office supports economic development in Native communities by offering access to capital through grants and loans and providing technical assistance.
1849 C St. NW, Rm. 4152, Washington, DC 20240
Indian Loan Guarantee and Insurance Program, US Bureau of Indian Affairs
This federal office helps tribes and individuals overcome barriers to conventional financing and reduces the risk to lenders by providing financial backing from the federal government.
MIB-4138, 1849 C St. NW, Rm. 4152, Washington, DC 20240
Rural Development, US Department of Agriculture
This federal agency provides financial assistance, business development, technical assistance, capital, and equipment for ag-related enterprises.
9173 W. Barnes Dr., Ste. A1, Boise, ID 83709
Idaho Office: www.rd.usda.gov/id
The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development
This nonprofit assists tribally owned businesses with financing and gaining access to federal development programs and contracts. It also provides professional business consulting services and technical assistance at no cost.
953 E. Juanita Ave., Mesa, AZ 85204
Native Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI)
These community-based institutions promote economic development by providing products and services (e.g., credit, loans, investment capital, and other financial services) to people underserved by traditional financial institutions.
Nimiipuu Fund CDFI
95 Agency Rd., Lapwai, ID 83540
3380 W. Americana Terrace, Ste. 120, Boise, ID 83706
206 N. Arthur Ave., Pocatello, ID 83204
New West (formerly Idaho-Nevada CDFI)
2425 Gail Dr., Pocatello, ID 82301
First Nations Development Institute
2432 Main St., 2nd Flr., Longmont, CO 80501
Idaho State Bar Lawyer Referral Service
This public service of the Idaho State Bar provides attorney referrals.
525 W. Jefferson St., Boise, ID 83702
Idaho Women’s Business Center
This nonprofit organization offers training and assistance for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Idaho Native American Women Business Alliance
A collaboration of all Native tribes and statewide partners that educates and empowers tribal women to start and grow thriving businesses. www.facebook.com/groups/2970218073207203/about/
University of Idaho Extension and Rural Studies Program
This University of Idaho entity offers training and assistance for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Courses cover topics such as business plan development, bookkeeping, marketing, etc.
Tribal Assistance for Obtaining Business Loans
The US Department of the Interior’s Division of Capital Investment (https://www.bia.gov/as-ia/ieed/division-capital- investment) offers the Indian Loan and Insurance Guarantee Program that is designed to alleviate many of the issues faced by tribal members seeking business loans. Specifically, they insure the loans to offset lender concerns about inadequately secured loans. This helps tribal members receive the loan in the first place and reduces the loan’s interest rate.
“Write Your Business Plan,” US Small Business Administration https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/plan-your-business/write-your-business-plan
“An Introduction to Business Plans,” Entrepreneur https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/38290
“Ways Native American Entrepreneurship Is Expanding,” Forbes https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2019/11/22/ways-native-american-entrepreneurship-is-expanding
Native Entrepreneurship: Challenges and Opportunities for Rural Communities (CFED, 2004) https://community-wealth.org/sites/clone.community-wealth.org/files/downloads/report-malkin-et-al.pdf
Authors: Tatianna Herrera, Student, College of Law, University of Idaho, Christy Dearien, Research Associate, Grant and Project Development, University of Idaho, John Rumel, Professor, College of Law, University of Idaho, Paul Lewin, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, University of Idaho
PLEASE NOTE: This handout does not offer or substitute for legal or tax advice.
This work was supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Award No. 2019-68006-2938 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.