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Where to Start with Business Plans

You’ve got a great idea. You’ve found the perfect spot. You’re ready to be your own boss. You’re an entrepreneur and nothing is going to stop you from realizing your dream! Oh wait, you’re going to need thousands of dollars you do not currently have in order to get started. You need to talk to a bank. You need to get a loan. That means it’s time to write a business plan.

Writing a thorough and convincing business plan is an essential step to getting your business off the ground. You have to be able to explain who your customers are going to be, how you are going to manage the money you’re loaned, how you’re going to market your product successfully, and how your business model fits in with larger industrial trends. This all must fit in one document that you can slide confidently across the desk to the loan officer at the bank.

Sure, you can Google around to try and find a template that you can trust and is thorough enough to land you that loan. But wouldn’t you rather be able to explore a vast collection of tried-and-true examples all in one place? That, my entrepreneurial friends, is what the Gale Reference Library is here for. It’s where you’ll find our collection of Business Plan Handbooks.

This resource is also available in print at our Main location in Oakland. Click here to see it in the catalog.

This online collection holds digital reference books that cover a wide range of subjects, including the Business Plans Handbook, an ongoing, continuously updated series of actual business plans that are, as their blurb describes, “compiled by, and aimed at, entrepreneurs seeking funding for small businesses.” All you need is a library card.

Ready? You can get started here. Click on “Gale Reference Library.” You’ll be prompted to enter your library card number and PIN, so have those handy. Once you’re in, select the “Business” option on the left side of the screen under the heading “BROWSE COLLECTIONS”.

You’ll be taken to the online Business reference material. You can see that the Business Plans Handbook is the first option. Select it, and you’ll see just how man volumes we hold online! On the right side of the screen is a box labeled “SEARCH WITHIN SERIES”. Type in the kind of business you’d like to start. Once you get to a results list, select one that seems similar to your idea.

You might not find a plan that is exactly like the one you’re looking to create, but it’s worth your time to look through a similar one. You’ll see real-life, successful examples of an Executive Summary, a Company Summary, Market Analysis, a Marketing Plan, Management outlines, an Operations Plan, and, importantly, Financial Projections. You will need all of these to convince the bank that your great idea is worth backing. You already know it is, so get out there and tell them!

There’s a lot of information in this resource. If you would like to sit down with one of our Business Librarians, we’re here to help! Please feel free to schedule your hour-long 1:1 today. You can call 412.622.3114, email us at, or use the chat function on our website to schedule an appointment.

Need a library card? You can sign up today!

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