Plan Your Business

Business Plan Creation
An Entrepreneur plans her business strategy

Making a plan

A plan in your head is good. A plan on paper is even better. Here are some great resource to help you build the right plan for your business.

  • Outline for building your business plan – (Small Business Administration) Our partners at the Small Business Administration (SBA) provide guidance on developing an effective business plan.  Their work plan guides you through each stage of starting and managing your business.  Entrepreneurs can use this business plan as a roadmap for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. The plan encourages entrepreneurs to think through each stage of their business including inception, start-up, and growth.
  • Business Plan Template – SCORE (the Service Corps of Retired Executives) offers easy-to-use business planning templates to help entrepreneurs plan for a new business or grow their existing business.
  • Lean Business Model Canvas – The Lean Business Model Canvas is a tool that helps entrepreneurs develop new business models and document exist strategies in systematically advancing their entrepreneurial endeavors. The model allows entrepreneurs to describe, design, challenge, invent, analyze and pivot their business ideas. The Lean Canvas serves as a tactical plan to assist business owners in examining their core concepts and is much more brief than traditional business plan efforts. The model has been widely adopted in entrepreneurial circles. The version linked here was modified by the Robert C. Byrd Institute at Marshall University for use with their early stage clients.

Product development

One of the mistakes many entrepreneurs make is trying to make a product that isn’t marketable. This can be true because the product is already being produced or because the product isn’t marketable in its current development stage.

The first thing entrepreneurs need to understand is whether their product is unique or proprietary. You can start to research U.S. Patent Office filings by using Google Patent Search. Taking a half hour or so to search various terms related to your product will help you understand if there are any potential legal entanglements with your idea.

It is very common for people to have an idea but not know what it will take to make it into a commercially viable product. There are specialty shops throughout West Virginia that can help with design, prototype and early small batch manufacturing. Sometime, people know how to make one or ten of their new item but what do you do when a client wants 5,000? Use the Resource Partners database to find manufacturing assistance that can make your dream product a reality.


Other Assistance

There are organizations throughout our state that can help entrepreneurs plan various aspects of your business. Many organizations can be found by searching “business planning” in our Resource Navigator.