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The Business Plan Resource Guide

College of DuPage Library

The business plan is a blueprint for the start-up and growth of your business venture. It is a living document which constantly changes as your business changes. There is no single standard format for a business plan. The model described here is recommended by Rhonda M. Abrams in The Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies (HD 62.5 .A344 Ref/Gen). Other formats can be found in the business plan books listed under the subject of "business planning" in the Library catalog.

This resource list is not intended to be all-inclusive; it is instead an overview of selected resources available at the College of DuPage Library. Many other resources exist, as well, both at the COD Library and at other libraries and agencies. Not all information for your business plan will be gathered from these secondary information sources. You may also need to gather primary data from key industry people, competitors, prospective end-users, suppliers and distributors. Be certain to cite the source of all data you use, regardless of where it originated.

Getting Started

Before you begin your research, you may want to familiarize yourself with the vast array of business resources that are available. The following titles will provide you with a general overview of some of these resources as well as sample plans and ideas for getting started with your research.

Executive Summary

This is the single most important part of your plan and should be directed to the person or institution for whom the plan is intended. Abrams recommends that you write the Executive Summary last, after your entire plan is completed. You should highlight the major components of your business plan in a one- to two-page summary. (Abrams/Chapter 4)

Company Description

Describe the basic details of your business - company name and location; mission statement; legal status; officers; products/services; company stage of development. (Abrams/Chapter 5)

Industry Analysis

Examine the standards, trends, characteristics, and strategic opportunities within your industry. (Abrams/Chapter 6)

Target Market

Define the nature and size of your target market. Who constitutes your target market - consumers, businesses, or both? What are the demographic, geographic and psychographic characteristics of your market segment? What are the trends and strategic opportunities within the market? (Abrams/Chapter 7)


Identify and describe your major competitors, the market share distribution and your competitive position within the target market, potential future competitors, barriers to entry for new competitors, and strategic opportunities for competition. (Abrams/Chapter 8). There are also company directories that deal with specific industries. (Check Directories in Print for those in your industry.)

Strategic Position & Risk Assessment

The following define your strategic position: your interests and strengths, industry trends and developments, market changes and opportunities, competitive changes and opportunities, technological changes and opportunities. (Abrams/Chapter 9)

Marketing Plan and Sales Strategy

Plan how you are going to make your customers aware of your product or service; what message you will convey to customers about your product, service or company; specific methods you will use to promote the product or service; and what personnel and procedures you will use to secure actual sales. (Abrams/Chapter 10)


Analyze the day-to-day operations of your business, describing the facilities, production processes, inventory control, equipment and labor force utilization. (Abrams/Chapter 11)

Technology Plan

Analyze what technology you will use and how you will use it. (Abrams/Chapter 12)

Management and Organization / Human Resources

Develop a management plan, focusing on key personnel who make up the management team and the management structure and style of your business. (Abrams/Chapter 13)

Community Involvement & Social Responsibility

Describe possible social responsibility activities and projects. (Abrams/Chapter 14)

Development, Milestones and Exit Plan

Describe the long-term goals of your company and the basic strategies you will use to reach those goals. (Abrams/Chapter 15)


This financial component will be based, in part, on decisions that you have been making throughout the development of your business plan. Abrams suggests that you include the following in the financial portion of the plan: income statement, cash-flow analysis, balance sheet, and sources and use of funds. Abrams also recommends the inclusion of an assumption sheet, highlighting the key decisions on which you based your financial figures. (Abrams/Chapter 16)


As you research the various parts of your business plan, you may want to access some of the following databases to locate articles, company data, and other supportive information related to your specific industry, company, and target market. You may connect to most of these databases from your home or office computer. You will need a College of DuPage Library card to access these databases.

Internet Sites

For Additional Information:

Judy Wagner, Business Librarian
Library at College of DuPage
Office: SRC 3044
Phone: 630-942-2021
E-Mail: wagnerj@cdnet.cod.edu
Reference Center: 630-942-3364

Small Business Development Center
Business & Professional Institute at College of DuPage
David Gay, Center Manager
Office: K 165
Phone: 630-942-2771

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