Start with a Business Plan

When starting out with any idea or project, it is essential to get your idea written down clearly and answer essential questions about what you want to do, for whom, and for what purpose. These resources have been created to meet the needs of those starting out with an idea or project. The content in this guide will:

  • Offer organized thoughts for getting your idea or project off the ground,

  • Define key parts of a business plan and which ones are essential for your goals,

  • Outline the most effective ways to present your plan to various audiences,

  • Provide maps, samples, templates, and checklists to support you as you build a plan for your mission of getting youth outdoors.

We think this basic information will prepare you to share your idea in a direct and impactful way. It will take some time, research, and the right approach, but you will come out with in-depth information and answers not only for those partners looking to support you but also to ensure your plan is thoughtful and feasible.

At the end of this path, you should have enough information to write a business plan and present your plan and vision for the impact you want to have in your community.


Get an overview of the key elements of a business plan, why and when to use it to reach your goals for the idea or project you have. In developing your plan, you might decide that your idea is more like a project you’d like to execute within an existing organization or structure. Regardless, a thought through plan for design and execution of your concept should be developed.

Build Your PlanGUIDE Build a Basic Business Plan

A good business plan, or “story”, flows. It has a thread that carries you through and has an understandable order. Check out the five elements we have put together to help you create your own story or plan. These elements of a business plan will help you define your overall strategy and the model for executing it.

ChecklistCHECKLIST Five Elements of a Business Plan

Your business plan is an extensive document and we’ve provided a template for you to create it, but you have to start somewhere. Use the worksheet to follow the learning in the Build Your Plan section. Use it to answer initial questions, collect your thoughts, and plan for the work you will need to do to create your first draft of the business plan.

Basic Business PlanTEMPLATE Basic Business Plan

This template will help you create a plan essential to getting support. You will learn the basics for how to conduct external research, gather input from key stakeholders, and compile all decisions to write the business plan.


Take a deep dive into one of the most important elements of a business plan – understanding your target audiences and knowing what else is going on in your community and how it may impact your work.

Market ResearchGUIDE Market Research Presentation

This short presentation introduces Market Research and helps you create a plan for how to use this tool to develop your business plan.

market researchCHECKLIST Market Research

Use this checklist as you work through this chapter’s learning. Capture your own ideas and intentions as you begin to plan a strategy for conducting your own market research.


Take a deep dive into another important element of business planning -sharing your idea with different audiences to get various kinds of partnering or support.

Prepare to PresentGUIDE Prepare to Present Business Planning

Use your business plan as the basis for a powerful presentation. Consider the keys that will create an engaging presentation that will secure the support you need.

PlanTEMPLATE Business Plan PPT Presentation

Download and use this PowerPoint template as you prepare to move your text and data heavy business plan into a compelling and relevant story to drive engagement, funding and general support.


Additional insight into the process of business planning.

ChallengesGUIDE Business Planning Challenges and Opportunities Presentation

Your business plan is not a static document to be created in one draft. Once you have created a first draft or outline of your business plan, review it against this document. You will find tips that address both the challenges you may face and the opportunities you may have in sharing your idea.


As you begin the work of developing your own plan, check out this chapter for frequently asked questions and advice from experts.

Instant AdviceVIDEO Instant Advice Videos: Start With A Business Plan

Our path expert, Chris Rutgers, offers some insight into his experience using business planning as a tool for success. Check out his advice and insight. Post your comments or your own questions here.

FAQ'sGUIDE FAQ Business Planning

Check out our collection of FAQs as well as additional links we think are helpful to answer more questions.


Check out samples to support you as you build a plan for your mission getting youth outdoors.