1. Business Planning Course

Business Planning Course


Master Checklist for a Startup Venture

Small Business vs. Startup Venture

Critical Things to Remember

Summary: The following subcategories outline the procedural steps to follow when beginning business operations. The depth or extent of applicability of each section will vary depending on the nature of the business.  However, below are guidelines to guide entrepreneurs and small businesses through the maze that is starting operations.


Topic 1: Ideation and Innovation


Summary: The following video and text lessons introduce the concepts of ideation and innovation. We introduce the identification of opportunities and the process for generating new ideas that could be opportunities. Notably, we introduce numerous techniques for effective brainstorming of wants and needs that may constitute valid business ideas.


Ideation and Innovation

Entrepreneurs and Opportunity

Needs vs Wants

Entrepreneurs and Inventors

How Entrepreneurs Encounter Opportunities: Methods of Innovation

Prior Experience in Opportunity Identification

Techniques for Generating Ideas: Brainstorming Overview

Types of Brainstorming

Ideation Best Practices

Ideation and Existing Ideas

Translating the Idea into the Business Plan

Testing a Concept for Value

Closing Points on Ideation

Topic 2: Market Research & Analysis


Summary: Market research is the process of identifying and quantifying potential markets in which to sell a product or service. The process is far more than mere quantitative analysis of numbers of potential customers and past purchasing date. It involves many qualitative aspects that recognize the particular desires, customs, preferences, and characteristics of individual markets. Market analysis regards the use of these quantitative and qualitative variables to determine whether a market is attractive or will sustain a given business operation.



Market Analysis Overview

Market Analysis Resources (SBA.gov)

Customer Segments & Target Market

Determining Market Size

Pricing Your Product

Customer Priority

Market Potential

Marketing Research Overview

Primary Market Research

Secondary Market Research

Quantitative and Qualitative Research

Topic 3: Product & Service Development


Summary: The development stage is where you set into motion the value creation process. By its very nature, a product or service serves or purpose or objective that another person entity is unable to fulfill. This process involves the technical skills to design, organize, or construct the service or process, as well as the vision and understanding of the who, what, when, where, and why of the business concept.



Product or Service Development Overview

Alpha Test

Strategic Assessment: Minimum Viable Product

Beta Test

Disclosing Your Business Idea

Intellectual Property Considerations

Topic 4: Strategy & Competitive Advantage


Summary: This section deals with a number of questions, such as: How are you going to deliver value? How the will the value you deliver value that causes customers to choose you above competitors? How will sustain or grow that customer preference throughout the life of your business?



Business Strategy Defined

What is Strategy?  (Harvard Business Review Article)

The Concept of a Value Proposition

Porter’s General Strategies

Bowman’s Clock

SWOT Analysis

TOWS Analysis

PESTEL (External Factors for Analysis)

Porter’s Five Forces

Summary of Strategic Analysis

Competitive Advantage

Topic 5: Operational Plan & Analysis

Summary: Operational analysis regards the initial analysis of what operational aspects are required to carry on the business. This is essential for determining the feasibility of a business idea. An idea may have potential many aspects, but the operational aspects are not feasible. An operational plan provides a working outline of the numerous components that make up or affect the intended business operations.



Operational Analysis

Operational Plan Overview

Elements of Operational Plan

Steps in Developing an Operational Plan

Porter’s Value Chain

Other Elements of an Operational Plan

Manufacturing Overview

Shipping & Logistics (Overview)

Topic 6: Marketing Plan

Topic 7: Sales Plan & Presentation



Sales Planning Overview

Sales Presentation Overview

Topic 8: Financial Projections

Topic 9: Business Model


Summary: This stage involves the aggregation of the business idea or product with the transfer of value to potential customers. The model will serve as a road map for how you plan to create value for customers.



Business Model Overview

Business Model Canvas

Constructing a Business Model

Business Model vs Business Plan


Topic 10: Business Plan

Summary: The business plan will record the proposed procedural steps for carrying out that plan.  It will contain and break down the business model.

Business Plan, Part 1 (Outline – Overview)

Business Plan, Part 2 (The Executive Summary)

Business Plan, Part 3 (General Description of Business)

Business Plan, Part 4 (Market Analysis)

Business Plan, Part 5 (Competitive Analysis)

Business Plan, Part 6 (Marketing Plan)

Business Plan, Part 6 (Marketing Plan, Cont’d)

Business Plan, Part 7 (Operations)

Business Plan, Part 8 (Management and Organization)

Business Plan, Part 9 (Financial Projections)

Business Plan, Part 10 (Appendices)

Business Plan, (Final Modifications)

Business Plans:  How Much is Too Much Research (Article & Video)

Topic 11: Management Team


Summary: When forming a business team there are lots of considerations that can dramatically impact the success of your business.



Forming a Team (Overview)

Entrepreneurs and Inventors

Culture and Fit

Founders and New Owners

Early Employees & Contractors

Ownership and Control of Founders

Rights of Owners

Organizational Documents

Fiduciary Duties within the Business

Topic 12: Exiting the Business


Summary: Many startups begin with the expectation of capitalizing on the firms value through a later exit event. An exit event is any method by which the entrepreneur divests herself of her ownership interest in the firm. This section discusses various methods for the entrepreneur to the startup venture.


Closing Up Shop 

Overview of Selling a Business

Private Equity

Public Offering


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