Starting a Business: Lesson 2

The Planning Process and Planning Tools

Sarah Matson, with the Tennessee Small Business Development Center in Chattanooga, discusses processes and tools for planning your small business.


Test Your Knowledge

To receive credit for taking this course through TSBDC, watch the video and take the quiz that will appear below to demonstrate your knowledge.

Video Lesson Topics

- Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

The first step of the planning process is marketing research. This includes questions such as, “Is there a demand for my product?”,  “Who is my target market and competition?”, and “What regulations should I be aware of?”. 

- S.W.O.T. Analysis

List out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for your business. This gives you a good vision of where your business is, and where you fit into the market. 

- Financial Planning

List startup costs for your business. Also, you should be aware of any funding opportunities that are available for your business, and what their funding requirements are. You should also create financial projections for the first three years of your business. 

- Planning Tools

  • Join a trade association or subscribe to trade publications to learn information about  your particular industry
  • Serve friends, family, and possibly strangers to get feedback about your product or service. 
  • Use tools such as Microsoft Excel and Word. We also recommend you use 
  • Work with an SBDC consultant. They can help you put together a business plan and give you access to market research. 

Topics & Lessons

Each Below Topic Contains a Video Lesson and Helpful Downloadable Information


What Problem am I Solving and Who am I Solving it For?


The Planning Process and Planning Tools


Setting Goals


Legal Structure


What It Takes to Be Successful


Funding Options for Starting Your Business


The Realities of Grant Funding


Partnership and Operating Agreements


B Corp Certification


Is Starting a Business Right for You?


Analyzing Your Personal Finances Before Starting A Business


Want to learn more about how this topic relates to your business?

Schedule a meeting with one of our consultants! All counseling sessions offered by the TSBDC are no-cost and provided by our staff of professional business consultants.