In Winnebago and Worth Counties, Small Business Success Starts with a Plan

In Winnebago and Worth Counties, Small Business Success Starts with a Plan Main Photo

25 Jan 2023


Over the past few years, individuals across the country have been creating businesses from their innovative ideas. While these entrepreneurs may be knowledgeable in the areas those ideas center around, they often need guidance in understanding how to start a business. Experts indicate the best first step to get that engine moving forward in 2023 is to write a business plan now.

Fortunately, entrepreneurs embarking on a business venture can access anything from resources to expertise through Winn-Worth Betco ( and its Executive Director, Melissa Michaelis.A good business plan is a roadmap, a framework on which the foundation of a business can be built and carried forward,” she said. “It explains how a business is structured, operates and expects to grow.”

Plans to meet needs

Michaelis has experience with assisting businesses through the life cycle, from startup to exit strategies and assists businesses with developing business plans to help meet their needs. 

Michaelis speaks comprehensively to the business owners of Iowa, especially in the Winn-Worth Betco region and of Iowa’s premiere entrepreneurial training program: Venture School. Michaelis said, “The Venture School is a great program for entrepreneurs.” Established in 2013, the eight-week Venture School program is built from a streamlined curriculum developed by the National Science Foundation I-Corps at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley. 

“We are eager to meet entrepreneurs and business owners wherever they are in their business lifecycle,” Michaelis said. Winn-Worth Betco offers a scholarship for the program’s $299 tuition. The company will reimburse the fee upon completion to any Winnebago or Worth County entrepreneur. Those interested can apply prior to the spring or fall cohort by downloading the application here.

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan precisely defines your business, identifies your goals and serves as your company’s resume. It shows all interested parties—employees, investors, partners and yourself—that you are committed to building the business. Creating a plan forces you to think through and select strategies to propel your growth, including market research to support your plans. The essential components of a business plan include a current balance sheet with 3 years of projections, an income statement, and a cash flow analysis. An example of the latter can be downloaded on the Winn-Worth Betco website.

Why You Need a Business Plan

A business plan helps you properly allocate resources, handle unforeseen complications and make sound business decisions. A good business plan is crucial to any loan application because it provides specific and organized information about your company and how you will repay borrowed money. Additionally, the plan can inform sales personnel, suppliers and others about your operations and goals. A business plan is for more than just startups. It is a living document that needs to be updated annually as your company grows and changes.

Winn-Worth Betco has an established Revolving Loan Fund that assists small businesses in Winnebago and Worth Counties. This helps retain and/or creates new jobs in the two-county area. Applicants must meet a small selection of requirements, including working with SBDC and developing a business plan, and there are a few restrictions on what the funds can be used for. Currently, Winn-Worth Betco has six loans to local businesses, and there is funding available. To learn more or to apply, visit the website.

Components of a Typical Business Plan

The following are some of the chief parameters of a quality business plan, based on guidelines provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for creating a business plan. Breaking it down into several components and working on it step-by-step can make drafting a plan more manageable:

  • Executive summary - a brief mission statement.
  • Company description - list business goals, products or services.
  • Organization - management structure, relevant skills and practical experience.
  • Marketing and sales - identify customer demand, market size and advertising plans.
  • Financial projections - expected ROI and production estimates.
  • Concluding statement - summarize commitment, goals and objectives.

Make your plan for success now!

Whether you have an established business or expect to start one, a business plan is critical to meeting your goals. If you have a draft of your business plan or need help with how to start, contact Melissa Michaelis or her professional team today for assistance. Once that step is complete, and if you require financing, make an appointment to review and discuss it with your banker. As the year progresses, review the business plan and decide if changes are necessary. Winn-Worth Betco is here to assist you in your business venture! Make 2023 your best year yet!


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