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 course, Mary Beth Izard, instructor 

outlineCourse Outline

Unit 1 
Getting Started—Refine your concept and 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 and 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. It’s easy. It’s fun.

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.

Once inside the online classroom, here’s what you can expect.

CalendarParticipate 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

For each Unit, you will:

  • Read the print readings (about 20 pages a week)
  • Have the option of accessing the online readings
  • Listen to the audio presentation for the Unit and view the slides
  • Have the option of taking a self-quiz to see how much you have learned
  • Engage in written online discussion with your instructor and other participants

For best learning, you should make one or more comments at 2-3 different times each week.
The content (readings, audio lectures, slides) and self quizzes are accessible for the entire course, so you can work ahead, or go back and review again, at your convenience.


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.

Next offering(s):

Entrepreneur Boot Camp
June 3 - 28
September 3 - 28

Entrepreneurial Marketing
June 3 - 28
August 5 - 30
November 4 - 29

The Business Plan
July 1 - 26
October 7 - November 1

Add Certificate To Cart
$495.0000 USD

$195 USD

Ave. hours 16, 1.6 CEUs/ILUs

About Your Instructors

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 BoomerPreneurs:  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 Masters in Business Administration from the University of Missouri in Kansas City.
What some students say:
"It was just what I needed to get the creative juices flowing and work towards a new future. Would recommend to others."

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of the course, you will be able to:
  • 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. 

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.
Completion Requirements