Business Plan


There are lots of great reasons to start a business. Perhaps you have a great idea to solve a problem, or you want to start the service you’ve always wanted, or sell products you can’t currently buy in Santa Cruz. Now that you have your concept, you need to work on a business plan to focus your ideas and visualize the goals and outcomes that lead to success.

Business Plan

Traditional business plans include lots of pieces that are important to framing your road map, and can be beneficial if you seek funding from investors. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides a helpful overview of the steps to write a traditional business plan, click here to view.

However, a one page business plan, such as the Lean Canvas model, can be even more valuable when you’re just starting out, you’re not seeking a loan, and a landlord isn’t asking for a formal business plan. The Lean Canvas captures the most important aspects of your business model in one concise matrix. It allows you to see where potential shortfalls or weakness exist in your plan early on, so you can pivot and realign your vision for greater success. It’s created with a chart like the one below and you can learn more about the process and make your own canvas with the free tool from Ash Maurya at Lean Stack.

Check out this video about Lean Canvas:

Need help refining your idea? You can request an experienced business mentor by contacting or attend a SCORE Pre-Business Workshop, which can help you evaluate your business ideas. And, as you build out your business plan, try out our free business analytics tool, SizeUp, to map competitors and suppliers, conduct advertising analysis, and get demographic information to help you understand where your business fits in the local market.

Meet Your Mentor

Let’s pause right here. This next step is crucial. When your business model is built out, we highly recommend working with a business consultant from the Santa Cruz County Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

Through our partnership with SBDC, consultants provide free and confidential mentoring to help you solidify your business plan, identify financing opportunities, and advise you on a variety of other invaluable resources available to you. Give us a call, or send us an email now so that we can connect you with the SBDC and help you find a mentor to guide you through this phase. While we get things going on our end, you should go to the SBDC website and click “Request Services” and input the information needed to identify the right mentor for you.