Creating a Successful Business Plan

Creating a Successful Business Plan

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

$120.00 Enroll Now!

Instructor-Led Course
Hours: 24
Duration of Access: 6 weeks
Start Dates: Oct 15, Nov 12, Dec 10, Jan 21
10,486 Students
have taken this course.

Syllabus

A new session of each course starts monthly. If enrolling in a series of two or more courses, please be sure to space the start date for each course at least two months apart.

Week 1

Wednesday - Lesson 01

In this first lesson, as you take that first step along your entrepreneurial path, you'll meet your instructor and learn about her childhood, growing up in ChocolateTown USA. You'll meet several leading entrepreneurs and determine if you have similar passions and skill sets. And, you'll discover that business plans are not just for funding your dream, but for guiding it along the path to success (as you choose to define it).

Friday - Lesson 02

Today, you'll start to mold your business. You'll develop a vision and a mission for your enterprise. You'll define and refine your product or service, and you'll uncover your niche. This is the fun part of the journey—your only limitation is your imagination!

Week 2

Wednesday - Lesson 03

We'll focus on the customer in this lesson. Today's successful companies focus not on the products and services that they offer, but on the customers that they serve—on many levels. Together, we'll position your company to be customer-centric. And, you'll learn how to move that customer from satisfied to loyal (and perhaps even an advocate for your business).

Friday - Lesson 04

In this lesson, you'll structure your organization so it's in the best position to provide your product or service to your targeted customers. I'll help you create a board of experts to guide you along your journey. You'll discover the role that change plays in your entrepreneurial evolution. Change is good—it shows that you're thinking!

Week 3

Wednesday - Lesson 05

Today, we’ll explore the plan within the plan—the marketing section of your business plan. We'll lay the foundation for your marketing efforts and we'll define sales and marketing (there is a difference!). We'll also explore the features and benefits of your product or service, and we'll begin the ongoing task of market research. This is where you can differentiate your product or service from that of your competition.

Friday - Lesson 06

For today's lesson, we'll explore three separate areas of marketing. First, you'll learn about your competitors so that you can better position yourself and discover just how solid your business ideas are. We'll discuss one of the most difficult issues of new business—pricing. Finally, we become the SWOT team—analyzing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

Week 4

Wednesday - Lesson 07

Today, you'll join a panel of outstanding marketing, public relations, and graphics experts who are also entrepreneurs and believe in the power of networking. We'll explore graphic design, logos, image, public relations, and guerrilla marketing. And you'll also discover marketing in action in this lesson.

Friday - Lesson 08

Today, we'll start by hearing Alice in Wonderland explain to the Mad Hatter that, in a topsy-turvy world, it seems like (you) have to do something wrong first, in order to learn from what not to do. And then, by not doing what (you're) not supposed to do, perhaps (you'll) be right. But (you'd) rather be right the first time, wouldn't you? Confused? We'll tackle manufacturing and operations concerns in this not-so-topsy-turvy lesson.

Week 5

Wednesday - Lesson 09

In this lesson, you'll learn that both successes and failures can be tremendous teachers—but you'll have to apply those lessons learned to other life or business ventures. For today's lesson, we'll take a bird's eye view of the financial section of a business plan. We'll also briefly explore the capital equipment list, the balance sheet, and break-even analysis.

Friday - Lesson 10

In this lesson, we'll discuss three additional financial components of the plan. We'll explore the projected income statement (always a fun area!), cash flow, and historical financial records. Be sure to take some time to explore the Supplemental Links area (in this lesson and in all the others) for outstanding online resources.

Week 6

Wednesday - Lesson 11

Today, we'll continue our focus on money, but from a different perspective than in the previous two lessons. We'll focus on funding and financing opportunities, and by the end of this lesson, you should have a better understanding of financing. You'll also find out where to locate traditional (and not so traditional) sources of funding.

Friday - Lesson 12

In our final lesson, you'll end one journey while beginning another. First, you'll write an outstanding executive summary. We'll discuss a few important document formatting tips, and you'll learn what supporting documents you should add to your final business plan. You now hold all the keys to the doors along your entrepreneurial path. Journey well!


Review

I can't begin to tell you how much this course has helped me. For the last 14 years, I have been shying away from writing a "Business Plan." After having everything in place, I still had not written a plan, but alas, now it's done. I just have to refine and get it to read and present professionally.

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