Business Plans

Whether you’re just working on the side or have dreams to build your own Trump-sized empire, a business plan will guide your decision making process as you run your business.

If you’ve never written a business plan before–relax! Your business plan is just a description of how your business will work written down in an organized format. You already know a lot of this stuff; you simply need to write it down. And for the parts you’re not sure about, there are lots of great resources available to help you succeed.

CCPL’s Online Resources

Business Plans Handbook series | Gale Virtual Reference Library

Business Plans Handbook offers a selection of real-world business plans arranged by type of business. You can browse each volume or search the series for a plan that matches your business. You will need to use a valid CCPL Library Card to access this resource.

Small Business Reference Center

The Start-Up Kit & Business Plans category offers sample business plans and forms such as cash flow, profit & loss, and sales revenue forecasts. Also look for the excellent Nolo Press book How to Write a Business Plan by Mike McKeever in the Browse Popular Resources slider at the bottom of the page. You will need to use a valid CCPL Library Card to access this resource.

Small Business Resource Center

This resource offers current information on just about any small business topic, including more than 600 business plans. You can browse the available business plans, or search by keyword to find information on business planning. You will need to use a valid CCPL Library Card to access this resource.

Local Organizations

SCORE Coastal Chapter

SCORE provides one-on-one counseling at the CCPL Business Center by appointment. To request a session, fill out their Local Mentoring Request form. Be sure to mention that you’d like to meet at the Main Library. SCORE also offers a variety of low-cost workshops on business planning and other important topics.

Websites offers 100 free business plan samples as well as some articles and other information on the startup process.

Business Plans & Financial Statements Template Gallery | SCORE

In addition to one-on-one counseling, SCORE also offers free business plan templates for established businesses, start-ups, and nonprofits on this section of their web site.

Create Your Business Plan |

This section of the SBA’s web site outlines each section of the business plan and offers a link to their free step-by-step business planning tool.

CCPL’s Books

Anatomy of a Business Plan: A Step-By-Step Guide To Building a Business and Securing Your Company’s Future by Linda Pinson

Call Number: 658.4012 Pinson. Availability varies by branch.

Business Plans Kit For Dummies by Steven D. Peterson, Peter E. Jaret, and Barbara Findlay Schenck

Call Number: 658.4012 Peterson. Availability varies by branch.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Business Plans Plus by Gwen Moran and Sue Johnson

Call Number: 658.4 Moran. Availability varies by branch.

A Short Course In International Business Plans: Charting a Strategy For Success In Global Commerce by Robert L. Brown & Alan S. Gutterman

Call Number: 658.4012 Brown. Availability varies by branch.

Additional titles may be found by searching our catalog.

Parting Advice

Once you begin writing, you’ll find that you need to have other kinds of information to complete the plan. We can help guide you to the information you need.

One last thing: With so many resources and people out there willing to help you do it yourself, resist the temptation you might feel to pay someone to write your plan for you. Think about it: who is going into business? Who is taking all of the risk? You, or someone you’re paying? You of course! Your business plan isn’t busywork or something you only need if you’re trying to get a loan. Respect the business planning process for what it is: the first step in achieving your dream of owning a successful business.

Article History: published June 2008; updated July 2016