The Business Plan (Online)

NEXT CLASS BEGINS -  11/4/2013


Whether starting a business or growing the one you have, a business plan serves as a roadmap and can help secure needed funding.  In this course, you evaluate the many aspects and potential hurdles of the business and build the Business Plan, one step at a time. 

This practical, hands-on approach encourages you to immerse yourself in the vision and planning aspects of your business.  Focusing on the most critical components of the Business Plan enables you to uncover hidden risks and assess the business from a marketing, management, and financial vantage point. 

One-month online course, Mary Beth Izard, Instructor.

Directional Arrows Course Objectives

  • 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.

Puzzle Pieces Course 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.

outlineCourse Outline

Unit 1 - Getting Started-Refine your concept & 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 & 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.

Question MarkAbout online learning

Online learning is a fun, enjoyable and very productive way to learn. Millions of people are learning online each year. You will engage with the instructor and other participants. You will get to know your instructor and other participants. You may make friends. 

GearsHow the Course Works

It is easy to participate in your online course. After you register, you will be given a web address to go to get into your online classroom.  You will have a password and use your email address and password to gain access.

Calendar Participate when you want

You can participate any time of day or evening. The online classroom is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are no live real-time requirements or meetings. You decide when you participate. For the best learning, participants should log into the course on 2-3 different days of the week.

ChecklistWhat you will do

  1. In the online classroom, listen to audio lectures, view slides, even take an optional quiz to test yourself.
  2. Then post comments in the online discussion with your fellow participants and the instructor.  Your instructor logs on at least once a day to answer questions and join in on the discussion.
  3. Readings are assigned for each day from the textbooks provided at registration.

  4. Participate any time of day or night. The ideal is to go online 2-3 times a day since they are week-long courses, but you decide.

Discussion Discussion

The Discussion for each Unit lasts one week. All comments are made in writing and can be made at any time of the day or night.

Your instructor will log into the Discussion area at least once a day and answer questions, make comments, and respond to comments by you and the other participants.

We encourage you to make 2-3 comments each week to maximize your learning and enjoyment of the course.

It’s easy. It’s fun.

Mac MiniTechnical Requirements

  • Internet access with Internet Explorer; Firefox Mozilla; or Safari web browser.
  • Audio software such as Windows Media, Real, or Flash.
  • Speakers to listen to audio.

About the 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 Boomer Preneurs:  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 Master's in Business Administration from the University of Missouri in Kansas City. 

Who Should Attend:

Those interested in a new business venture and wanting to focus on the most critical components of the Business Plan to uncover hidden risks and assess the business from a marketing, management, and financial vantage point. 


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Summer Session: 7/1/2013 - 7/26/2013
(Late Registration Deadline 7/5/2013)

Fall Session: 11/4/2013 - 11/29/2013
(Late Registration Deadline 11/8/2013)



One-month, $195.