Your Business Plan Is Your Business's Roadmap," I include numerous online resources entrepreneurs and small business owners should utilize in building their business plan. One resource is a business guide the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) created to help small business owners through the process of launching their business. A comprehensive business plan serves as a roadmap for how to structure, run, and grow a business.
In addition to its business guide, the SBA created an online learning platform, which include two learning programs designed to empower and educate small business owners every step of the way. One program is SBA's Ascent for Women, which is the topic of the following post on this blog, is a free online learning platform for women interested in starting or growing their small businesses. This post focuses on the SBA Learning Center, which consists of 17 courses covering 236 objectives. The objectives address a wide array of topics including how to estimate startup costs, strategies for employee recruiting, understanding customer intent, and how pricing relates to marketing. The videos and worksheets, which are accessible for free, are segmented into the following five groups:
Plan (Research, plan, and document your ideas)
- How to Write a Business Plan (22 objectives): Plan, outline, and develop your own business plan.
- Legal Requirements (16 objectives): Review how small business legal requirements can impact your business.
- Buying a Business (10 objectives): Decide if buying a business is right for you.
- Young Entrepreneurs (22 objectives): Understand the basics of creating and financing a successful business.
Launch (Turn your business plan into a reality)
Manage (Master day-to-day operations to run your business)
- Financing Your Business (18 objectives): Assess your financing needs and discover financing options for your business.
- Introduction to Pricing (20 objectives): Understand strategies and the impact that pricing has on the success of your business.
- High-Tech Products (11 objectives): Understand the product life cycle of high-tech products.
- Employee Recruitment and Retention (7 objectives): Strategies to help you locate, recruit, and retain talented employees.
- Understanding Your Customer (16 objectives): Discover resources that will help you understand your customer and increase sales.
- Sales (19 objectives): Review sales plans and other tools to get your product or service into your customer/consumer's hands.
- Selling Your Business (8 objectives): Examine how to sell or close your business.
Market (Understand your competition and strategies to win customers)
- Market Research (13 objectives): Identify your customers and start developing your marketing strategy.
- Marketing 101 (12 objectives): Define marketing and understand its vital role in the growth of your business.
- Competitive Advantage (9 objectives): Leverage the uniqueness of your business to develop your competitive advantage.
- Social Media Marketing (18 objectives): Use social media to help increase sales of your product or service.
Grow: Expand by finding new funding, customers, and locations.
- Finding and Attracting Investors (10 objectives): Understand the benefits and process for seeking investors.
- Pricing Models for Successful Business (15 objectives): Set prices, calculate costs, assess competitors and much more.
Do you find SBA's Learning Center a useful tool?