Course Description

Whether starting a business or growing the one you have, a business plan serves as a road map and can help secure needed funding. In this course, you build your business plan one step at a time using a hands-on approach that encourages you to immerse yourself in the vision and desired outcomes of your business. Focusing on the most critical components enables you to uncover hidden risks and assess the business from marketing, management, and financial vantage points.

Login information will be sent to your email three days prior to the start of class.

Course Outline

Unit 1 
Getting Started—Refine your concept and begin your plan. 
•  Prepare your concept statement—What, Who, Why, When, and How.
•  Identify product/service features and benefits.
•  Identify limitation, liabilities, and regulations.  
•  Write your Business Description and evaluate it against a Business Description checklist. 

Unit 2 
Prepare the Marketing Plan
•  Conduct an industry and competitive analysis.
•  Perform a market analysis and identify target markets and a market penetration strategy.
•  Identify your pricing strategy.
•  Write your Marketing Plan and evaluate it against a Marketing Plan checklist.

Unit 3 
Prepare the Management and Financial Plans
•  Identify key people and positions, duties and responsibilities.
•  Determine funding needs and sources. 
•  Create sales and expense estimates.
•  Write your Management and Financial Plans and evaluate them against checklists.

Unit 4
Complete the Business Plan and Assess Business Feasibility
•  Polish the plan and add final elements—Cover Page, Executive Summary, Table of Contents.
•  Evaluate business plan against checklist and identify items in need of additional work.
•  Assess business against feasibility checklist.
•  Identify next steps.
About Your Instructor

Mary Beth Izard is an entrepreneur, author, consultant and professor emeritus of entrepreneurship and has over 25 years working with entrepreneurs to start businesses.  She specializes in entrepreneurship curriculum and has been a scholar-in-residence and consultant to the Kauffman Foundation, the largest foundation in the U. S., if not the world, devoted to entrepreneurship.  She was on the curriculum development team for Kauffman’s college course, Planning the Entrepreneurial Venture, and its nationally recognized FastTrac® programs.  She is the author of BoomerPreneurs:  How Baby Boomers Can Start Their Own Business, Make Money and Enjoy Life and the college textbook, Opportunity Analysis, Business Ideas:  Identification and Evaluation.  She has a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Missouri in Kansas City.

Learner Outcomes

At the end of this course, you will:
  • Possess a clear description of your proposed business.
  • Have the basic components of a business plan.
  • Possess a detailed checklist for next steps to research and launch your business.
  • Analyze the feasibility of your business.


Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of the course, you will be able to:
  • Write a clear, succinct business concept statement.
  • Conduct research on your business and its relation to the industry, competition, and marketplace.
  • Project funding requirements, sales, and expenses for your business.
  • Research, develop, and write core elements of a business plan, which you can continue to expand and research after the conclusion of the course.
  • Evaluate your business for feasibility. 


"It was just what I needed to get the creative juices flowing and work towards a new future. Would recommend to others."
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