UMKC Innovation Center partners with the university and the community to spark and sustain entrepreneurial efforts within our region and across the country.

KCSourceLink connects KC entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

MOSourceLink connects Missouri entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

Whiteboard2Boardroom connects entrepreneurs and businesses to technologies available for licensing.

Digital Sandbox KC provides early-stage proof-of-concept support for digital products.

Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center provides technical assistance to startup and existing businesses.

ScaleUP! Kansas City helps businesses with revenues around $200K scale toward their first $1 million.

Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers helps local businesses obtain government contracts.

KCInvestED helps investors learn more about investing in KC startups.

SourceLink® helps communities nationwide build vibrant and vital entrepreneurial ecosystems.
UMKC Innovation Center
UMKC Innovation Center

Guide: Start a Business  Part Two

Plan Your Business

A strategic business plan is the key to a profitable business. 

Starting a business whether you’re launching in Kansas City (or anywhere in the world) involves risk … but it should be a calculated risk. And a writing a business plan can help you run the numbers and make informed decisions to help your business succeed. Because if you dive in without checking the waters, your business idea might be doomed to sink from the start.

What is a business plan and why is it useful?

Getting Money and a Plan

First, money. A business plan is a vital planning tool and operating guide that can help convince leaders and investors, including banks, to take risk and fund your idea. Why? It clarifies your business idea and can be a tool that convinces lenders to lend funds to your venture.

But it can be more than that. It can help you set down your mission, vision, goals and first-round milestones. And even with all that, it doesn’t have to be 50 pages; there are short-form options out there.

Forming Your Strategy

And at the heart, it is a plan after all. Your business plan helps with sales and marketing and can help you guide and manage business growth. Years later, when you’re ready to scale and grow and when you don’t really have time to consult such a plan, you can rest easy knowing you’ve got a solid foundation to build from.

Guiding Your Growth
And a final key point: Your business plan helps guide your market research and gets you thinking about things you might not consider, like your market analysis and financial and operational plans.

Now, you don’t have to write it in one shot. You can chunk out sections to finish in bite-size bits. What it should be is a living, breathing document you can update and tweak as your operation expands or if you pivot.

Making It Real

So what’s bad about a business plan?

Not everything will happen as you planned, so if you never change course or pivot, your plan is likely to fail. Because in business and in life, you have to be prepared to change course if required. And writing a business plan doesn’t guarantee success. But getting your thoughts on paper and seeing where your weak areas might be is worth a lot and will increase your chances of success.

Enter the proof point: Research shows if you’ve got a business plan, you’re far more likely (two and half times more likely, according to Clemson University entrepreneurship professor William B. Gartner) to go into business.

All this information making you a little nervous? Just tell us a bit about yourself or give us a ring at 816-235-6500, and we’ll outline your next steps (for free). We can also connect you with sample outlines to help you craft your personal game plan for your business dreams.

Sample Business Plan

So what’s actually in a business plan? Here’s what you might include:

Cover Page

  • Business name
  • Owner name(s)
  • Address
  • Email
  • Phone number

Table of Contents

You might write this last. This single page outlines the major topics in the plan and summarizes what’s inside.

Executive Summary

You also might save this for later once you have the rest of the content written. This is also a single page near the beginning that sums up the important parts of your plan.

These next sections get into the nitty gritty. This is where you’ll address the industry and business, products and services, goals, contingencies, continuity and exit planning. These aspects require some planning (you can call or email us for your Personal Action Plan to line up your resource team) and research, which you can do through a variety of resources (many of them FREE) … like your local library):

1. Strategic Plan

Industry and the Business

This section will include things like business type, industry description, NAICS code, trends, target market, business location, legal entity (LLC, etc.), customer persona

Goals, Contingencies, Continuity and Exit Planning

Here, you’ll focus on business goals, threats, your contingency plan and exit plan.

Products and Services

Now you’ll describe your your products and services and packaging as well as the value proposition of your products and services, the need your product or service satisfies, any seasonal demand, the product life cycle and the projected customer experience.

2. Market Analysis and Marketing Plan

Industry Analysis

Now, mention the competitive landscape, key industry metrics (gross margins, sales per employee, etc.), drivers of demand for your product or service, industry trends should you consider, consumer demands, products/services, technology and competitors.

'SWOT' Analysis

What internal and external factors are influenced by your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?

Four Forces

Next list the obstacles to entering the industry, the intensity of your competition, key competitors’ strengths, the alternatives to what you offer and the bargaining strength of customers and suppliers.

Marketing Plan

Your features, packaging or other differentiators for your product/service, pricing strategies, discounts, bundles, selling and purchasing locations, advertising, social media and content marketing.

3. Operational Plan

Operations Activities

Now, highlight the day-to-day operations, delivery method of products/services, inventory management, key suppliers, operating hours, equipment and software needed and quality control.

Legal

Then, outline the legal structure of the business (LLC, etc.), ownership structure, legal resources you’ll need, what you’ll need for risk management and insurance, compliance and regulatory requirements, zoning and codes, intellectual property (trademarks, patents, proprietary methods, etc.) and the major contracts you must sign and how will those affect your business.

Money Management

Then, there are concerns, like customer payments or billing and the terms of payment.

Management, Labor and Organization

Here, mention your skills and experience, the managers and key personnel, how many employees you’ll hire, how many full-time and part-time workers you’ll employ, job titles and descriptions and how you’ll train new employees.

4. Financial Plan

Have you calculated your financial projections? If you’re not sure, classes, worksheets and business services at the Kansas City Public Library in Missouri, Mid-Continent Public Library, the Small Business Administration, SCORE and more can help you tackle this.

5. Appendix

This is where your supporting documents live. Those include leases, major contracts, letters of intent, equipment lists, construction quotes and other items you’ll want to include as supporting evidence.

Business Plan Outlines and Samples

Here are even more sample business plan outlines and resources to help you get started right now:

Who can help me with all of this?

And you don’t have to sit behind a computer. Many business-building organizations in Kansas City can help you craft your own plan. Start with this list or pop over to The Resource Navigator to filter this list by your location, industry and more.

Provider Information

Advanced Manufacturing Institute

The Advanced Manufacturing Institute at Kansas State University provides a broad range of services and project management resources to both private industry and researchers to advance the commercial readiness of new products or technologies.

Bioscience & Technology Business Center - Lawrence

The BTBC, located at the University of Kansas (KU), Lawrence Campus, and Kansas University Medical Center (KUMC), in Kansas City, Kansas, is the largest incubator system in the state. It is comprised of three separate facilities which total approximately 90,000 square feet of wet lab and office space.

Bloch Venture Hub

3 Levels with 3 purposes - an ideation lab to help entrepreneurs refine, and plan startups; an incubator to launch and aid new ventures with mentoring, education, and other critical resources; and an accelerator to scale and grow young businesses.

Central Exchange

Central Exchange is a preeminent membership organization in the Kansas City area which provides the venue and voice for women seeking to reach their full personal and professional potential.

City of Excelsior Springs, MO

A new division of the City of Excelsior Springs assisting businesses in locating, expanding and moving to the community. Find more information at www.cityofesmo.com/economicdev.html or email Melinda Mehaffy at mmehaffy@ci.excelsior-springs.mo.us

Craig School of Business - Center for Entrepreneurship

The Center for Entrepreneurship exists to train, mentor and support entrepreneurs. Our staff will provide one-on-one business coaching and connect clients to needed programs and resources.

Determination, Incorporated

Determination, Incorporated is a Kansas City-based nonprofit creating a pathway to opportunity for formerly incarcerated people through entrepreneurship.

EnCorps45

EnCorps45, an education and entrepreneur development organization, serves professionals 45 and older, and enterprises looking to work with Boomers through networking, training and online resources.

FastTrac

The world's leading provider of high-quality learning curricula and networks specific to innovation and entrepreneurship.

Francis Institute for Child and Youth Development

The Francis Institute for Child and Youth Development is a Professional Development Institute creating a high quality adult workforce for the care and education of children and youth from birth to 21 years of age.

GUILDit

GUILDit is where art and business fuse. Our KC forums are twice a month. Be a part of an audience that learns from and helps art entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City

The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City is dedicated to the creation, advancement, promotion and development of economic opportunities within the Hispanic market and business community.

Hispanic Economic Development Corporation

The Hispanic Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) is dedicated to improving the lives of Latinos within the greater Kansas City. HEDC achieves this through business development and economic and community wealth creation initiatives.

Innovation Stockyard

The Innovation Stockyard operates the Kit Bond Science and Technology Incubator on the campus of Missouri Western State University with a focus on economic and workforce development, and animal health and nutrition.

Johnson County Economic Development Corporation

Johnson County Economic Development Corporation (JCEDC) provides confidential one-on-one business assistance, microloan funds, financing options and incentives, for new and existing businesses - small to large - for all Johnson County, Missouri.

Kansas City Women's Chamber of Commerce

CONNECT, EMPOWER, INSPIRE...through the collective strength of business women and those who support women in business in Kansas City!

Kansas Department of Agriculture

The mission of the KDA Agricultural Marketing, Advocacy and Outreach Team is to serve all Kansans through innovative programming and delivering solutions designed to create an environment that facilitates growth and expansion in agriculture while increasing pride in and awareness of the state's largest industry - agriculture.

Kansas Small Business Development Center at JCCC

The Kansas Small Business Development Center (KSBDC) at Johnson County Community College provides business assistance to aspiring and existing small business owners in Johnson, Miami and Wyandotte Counties in Kansas through low cost training events and no-charge one-on-one business counseling.

K-State Research and Extension - Johnson County

K-State Research and Extension - Johnson County offers resources and referrals for small business development with emphasis on agriculture, horticulture, and food based businesses.

Leanlab Education

LEANLAB Education is an organization that builds communities and launches transformational innovations into K12 schools.

Miami County Economic Development Department

The Miami County (Kan.) Economic Development Department assists businesses in their development and expansion while promoting the region's economic growth.

Mid-America Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (TAAC)

Mid-America TAAC assists domestic manufacturers negatively impacted by import competition by providing cost share grant funding to implement improvement projects to make a business more globally competitive.

Missouri Enterprise - Kansas City

Missouri Enterprise is an organization of entrepreneurial manufacturing and business professionals, operating in 7 locations throughout Missouri, dedicated to helping primarily small and medium size businesses (primarily but not exclusively manufacturers) succeed.

Missouri SBDC at Northwest Missouri State University - St. Joseph

The SBTDC offers confidential, one-on-one counseling, coaching and training to existing businesses and emerging business owners.

Missouri SBDC at University of Missouri Kansas City

The Missouri SBDC offers personalized and extensive services from knowledgeable and helpful professionals focused on your business success. The Small Business Development Center at UMKC offers one-on-one counseling and training through our ELEVATIONLAB™ track programs to business owners and emerging business owners.

Mo-Kan Regional Council

MO-KAN Development Inc. provides loan programs to small businesses in Kansas and Missouri.

Northland CAPS

Northland CAPS students use business standard software, equipment and employer mentorship to solve real world problems for entrepreneurs and business owners.

SCORE

The Kansas City SCORE Chapter is comprised of more than 70 volunteers who provide free mentoring and workshops to entrepreneurs. Volunteers are professionals with time-tested knowledge and experience in almost every industry.

The Family Conservancy

The Family Conservancy supports child care and preschool providers with a wide range of professional development training and consultation.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Kansas City District Office

Our mission at the U.S. Small Business Administration is to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns.

Veterans Business Resource Center, KC Satellite Office

Free assistance to honorably discharged veterans and existing military with preparations to self-employment or business expansion.

Whiteboard2Boardroom

The Whiteboard to Boardroom project seeks to commercialize technology through a partnership of education, nonprofit and private sector organizations.

Women's Business Center

Provide training, mentoring, networking opportunities and business consulting to help women start & grow their businesses.

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