UCB Libraries

 

William M. White Business Library

Business Plans Research Guide

Think before you search! No matter which search tool you use (databases, Google, interviews), it always helps to have a strategy. A little planning at the beginning will save time.

Some topics to consider are:

  • What problem are you attempting to solve?
  • Who are your customers? How do you plan to reach them?
  • What is the market for your product or service? It is growing, stable, or shrinking?
  • Who are your competitors? What sets you apart?
  • What will you need to make this business happen? Suppliers? Employees? Funding?

The resources below will help you begin to answer these questions, by giving you an overview of the process of creating a business plan, examples of business plans, and places to go for information you will need to write your plan.

Overview | Examples | Information for your Plan

Overview

There are a number of web sites out there for finding information on starting your business plan, but these local, national and international sources are some of the strongest.

Boulder Startups
This group has a variety of resources for getting business started in Boulder.

Starting & Managing a Business
This U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) site is an excellent source for information about starting or expanding a business. Its website includes a business plan template. There is also a link from this template to some sample business plans. In addition, you can take their free online courses, including one on how to prepare a business plan.

ImagineNations Network

The ImagineNations Network is a global initiative to promote entrepreneurship across the world. They have gathered together resources from a variety of sources on topics such as business planning, social responsibility and marketing.


Examples

The web sites above will help you get started, but sometimes it is helpful to look at some examples. The library has access to a number of resources in print and online to find these business plans.

Business Plans Handbook CU
This resource provides access to a collection of actual business plans. It started as a print series, and still contains actual business plans compiled by and aimed at entrepreneurs seeking funding for small businesses in the North America. Plans come from business in manufacturing, retail and service industries, with names and addresses changed. In addition there are business plan templates, fictional business plans, listings of organizations, agencies and consultants, glossaries, and biographies. This is a link to all the volumes in this series, you can search within the series in the box on the left or use the facets to narrow the results to the materials you are interested in.

Business Plans and Profiles Index
This index from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburg lists types of small businesses and a corresponding sample business plan, profile or book about the business with sources provided after each entry. Entries that refer to actual sample plans are in bold print. If the plan or profile is online, a link is provided. Search Chinook to see if we have copies of the titles in print.

Print Resources
The library has a variety of books that can help you develop your business plan. To find them you can search the catalog for: business planning – handbooks, manuals, etc. or small business – planning – handbooks, manuals, etc.

Information for your Plan

The resources above can help you develop your plan, but for many of these parts you will need to do more in-depth research. The library has developed a number of guides that will help you walk through the various steps:

Feasibility Study
This guide will help you understand how to prove the feasibility of your business.

Company Research
Sometimes one of the best sources of information when developing your business are your competitors. This guide will help you get started on researching a particular company.

Industry Research
Want to know more about the industry you are entering? This guide will help you get started on researching your industry.