Turn your business ideas into a solid plan for financing and long-term success. This course will guide you through all the major components of writing a business plan and you'll emerge with your first draft in hand.
Turn your business ideas into a solid plan for financing and long-term success. Committing your idea to paper in the form of a business plan not only increases your chances of obtaining financing, but also in keeping your business strategically focused. You will work through all the major components of writing a business plan and emerge with your first draft in hand. Most importantly, you will have completed the first—and most difficult—step on the path to small business success.
In this first lesson, you will meet several leading entrepreneurs and determine if you have similar passions and skill sets. You will 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).
Now, you will start to mold your business. You will develop a vision and a mission for your enterprise. You will define and refine your product or service, and you will uncover your niche. This is the fun part of the journey—your only limitation is your imagination.
This lesson will focus on the customer. Successful companies focus not on the products and services that they offer, but on the customers that they serve—on many levels. You will learn to position your company to be customer-centric, and how to move that customer from satisfied to loyal (and perhaps even an advocate for your business).
In this lesson, you will structure your organization so it's in the best position to provide your product or service to your targeted customers. You will discover the role that change plays in your entrepreneurial evolution. Change is good—it shows that you're thinking.
This lesson explores the plan within the plan—the marketing section of your business plan. You will also discover the features and benefits of your product or service, and you will begin the ongoing task of market research. This is where you can differentiate your product or service from that of your competition.
This lesson will explore three separate areas of marketing. First, you will learn about your competitors so that you can better position yourself and discover just how solid your business ideas are. Then, you will address one of the most difficult issues of new business—pricing. Finally, you will become a SWOT agent—analyzing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
In this lesson, you will join a panel of outstanding marketing, public relations, and graphics experts who are also entrepreneurs and believe in the power of networking. You will explore graphic design, logos, image, public relations, and guerrilla marketing, as well as marketing in action.
This lesson tackles operations and manufacturing concerns.
This lesson takes a bird's eye view of the financial section of a business plan. You will also briefly explore the capital equipment list, the balance sheet, and break-even analysis.
In this lesson, you will discover three additional financial components of the plan. You will explore the projected income statement, 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.
This lesson continues the focus on money, but from a different perspective than in the previous two. You will focus on funding and financing opportunities, and by the end, you should have a better understanding of financing. You will also find out where to locate traditional, and not so traditional, sources of funding.
In the final lesson, you will end one journey while beginning another. First, you will write an outstanding executive summary. You will receive a few important document formatting tips, and you will 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.
There are no prerequisites to take this course.
Instructional Material Requirements:
The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.
Kris Solie-Johnson, chancellor and president of the American Institute of Small Business, best-selling author, educator, speaker, and mother of three, is an energetic and passionate entrepreneur. Her books are in public libraries, high schools, colleges, and military bases both nationally and internationally. Solie-Johnson has an MBA in Venture Management from the University of St. Thomas and over 19 years of experience helping entrepreneurs reach their goals quickly through joint venture partnerships, creative marketing programs, and innovative financial options. She's dedicated to motivating and inspiring owners to achieve beyond their dreams.
Instructor Interaction: The instructor looks forward to interacting with learners in the online moderated discussion area to share their expertise and answer any questions you may have on the course content.
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.
I finally have a three-dimensional package and not just a "thought."
I have a small business and thought I would take this class to start up something new. I now have the knowledge that I would need to tackle that feat. During the lesson on customers, I spider webbed an idea to make my business more customer centric. I simply offered another low overhead service to my largest client. The spider web exercise led to three large markets opening up for me. I am now projecting to gross last year's income times 4. What an investment! Thanks again for the great ideas.
My business plan has been a struggle for me; however, I knew the importance of creating my own. Since completing the class and having the printed material to refer to, I know I will have a final first draft that will be useful, inspiring, and a true picture of my company. The class has provided incredible direction to great informational websites that would have taken me endless hours to locate on my own. I'd like to thank Carol for her excellent presentation and material.
Our Business Plan was praised by our lender, who helped provide necessary funding. The Plan proved extremely helpful in ensuring that we considered all the bases before we opened.
The course brought up important professional and personal isues. It has been an extraordinary experience and one that I never would have anticipated. It has made a monumental difference in my life and marriage - giving me confidence and energy to move forward in pursuit of my vision.
The course was much more than I expected. It taught me much more than how to write a business plan. The course/instructor taught me how to think like an entrepreneur and gave me great advice on how to make my business successful. I was clueless about starting my own business before I completed this course, now I am confident and focused.
The scariest part about starting my own business was giving my two-week notice, but with all of the preparation that is shown through our plan, I think it's now going to be the most exciting part.
This was a great course and as a business owner, I had an opportunity to see how I could have approached my business differently - do more research about the business and funding.
This was a great way to open ones eyes to the realities of becoming an entrepreneur. No one should go into a new business without going through something similar to what this course has to offer. Thank you very much.