LESSON #15: Creating a Business Plan

By | July 20, 2008

Two lessons ago we talked about the importance of having a vision, which is basically the big picture of where you want to go. And in the previous lesson we talked about goals, which are the specific milestones along the way toward your vision.

So today we’re going to talk about plans, because you need to have a plan of action to hit your goals…

(Watch this video…)

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Main points:

  • “People don’t plan to fail; they fail to plan.”

  • Failure is not a bad thing, but you should try to succeed!

  • (Elements of a traditional business plan)

    For examples of how to make a typical business plan, you can see:
    Small Business Association business plan info
    Traditional business plan sample

  • If you want to take a textbook approach to your business plan, that’s great. But since the business model I’m teaching is relatively simple, it’s possible to streamline it.

  • I’ve put together a 1-page outline template for you which asks for the following information:

    – Name of business
    – Vision for the business
    – Who is the target market?
    – What will we sell? (be specific)
    – What makes us different from the competition?
    – Marketing strategies
    – Goals for building and growing the business
    – Plan of action to achieve goals

  • I’ve provided a link to the template below, and you can download it for free.

    Action steps:

    1) Make a business plan.

    If you wish to use my template, you may download it here for free:

    Click here to download the PDF file (do a right-click “save target as” to download it to your computer)

    So now that you’ve got a plan, you’ll need to commit to it, and figure out how to stay motivated. I’ll be talking about those things in the next lesson.

    As always, you are welcome to post your questions and comments below.

    Have a great day!

  • 236 thoughts on “LESSON #15: Creating a Business Plan

    1. Suzette

      Hi Eric and Hi everyone!

      I like your lessons. They are clear, simple and easy to follow.
      I agree is very important building a business plan although I still feel like I could assess some of the points since I haven’t researched that well. But,,, one of the reasons why I bought your product is because I agree with you that a growing niche market are people like us: Bloggers that want to make money over the internet. So I am a bit confused here as to why are we doing these as if we were to develop our own original product because I think that is just a really long and bumpy road that I am not that keen on riding right now. I just want a product that I can resell and relabel. Anyway, I hope to gain more clarity on that as the lessons progress. Thank you.

    2. Eric Post author

      Hi Suzette, that’s a good question. Indeed it is a good niche. Some people refer to this niche as the “bizop” or “how to make money” (HTMM) niche. It is a very competitive niche, and some people do not like the aspect of resellers selling to newbies who then become resellers, etc. For this reason and others, many people would prefer not to be in the HTMM niche.

      Many people want to find their own niche, or pursue multiple niches, and I talk about niche selection in lesson 20-21.

      For those who do want to pursue the HTMM niche, that’s great. You’ve got a shortcut, because you already know your niche. It’s a great niche because there will always be more propsects entering the market who want to make more money.

      Regarding product development. You’re right, rebranding and reselling products is another big shortcut. It’s also a great way to get started. Ultimately, I do encourage information marketers to eventually develop some of their own products. But starting with PLR/Resale Rights material is great, and I do talk about that too in the product development lessons. In fact, I rebrand a PLR product as an example in the lesson.

      That having been said, I also think it’s important to treat it like a real business. That’s why it’s still good to get a vision for your business, create a business plan, etc. EVEN if you’re just reselling products.

      These are the missing steps that a lot of people don’t take, and that’s why they don’t make money as a reseller. They don’t treat it like a business. Hopefully that makes sense 🙂

    3. Karen G

      Hi Eric

      I was doing your lessons and noticed that Edward had a website called Dbookworm.com so I clicked on it. Now I cant get rid of it. I tried to delete it and it said it was done by a third party. I am new at computers and after spending time and thought I had his site deleted, I logged in again today with internet explorer and he comes up automatically with his WP logo. In the link it has conduit. Can you please help me.

      1. Joe Juhant

        Hey Karen I don’t know when you posted this ,but conduit is a virus and hard to get rid of

    4. Karen G

      Hey Edward, I took a look at your website and I had your logo saved to my computer, it said it was done by a third party. I did not want this on my computer, how come it is there, now I cannot get rid of it. I would like to know how to get it off.

    5. Signe Seiersen

      Hi I cannot pay with my paypal account. They want a creditcard. but I dont have a credit Card. How do I pay?

      1. Joan

        You can set up payments from a bank account as well. I did it and had a bit of a problem and called them and they were great at helping me. I would recommend them

    6. Art Leslie


      FINALLY … someone that thinks the way I do.

      After reading some of the comments I just couldn’t remain quiet.

      This was a perfect lesson that all should take to heart. I personally have had multiple offline businesses from Sole Proprietorship to Corporation. I’ve also been doing business online for so long that I really don’t remember exactly the year to bookmark. (I do remember the bulletin boards prior to the Net as we know it now.) I point that out for one reason …

      I LEARNED! A business plan is crucial for many reasons. It’s also one of the first things I cover with those I mentor.

      A business plan for an online business is a lot less formal and a lot more fluid in allowing changes. After all, the internet changes all the time. BUT – It’s nothing to be afraid of.

      The way I see it … it doesn’t matter to me if you spent $10,000 on a nice shiny object (program) … you STILL need a business plan.

      Here’s another thing to consider. If you’ve been around the Net much, or purchased people’s programs, it becomes quite evident that a lot of the marketers want to sell you a nice shiny object to make you think it’s all you need to succeed. Why don’t you? If you did, they couldn’t sell you the next shiny object!

      Eric, I’ve purposely never branded myself and never will. So, most don’t know me from a newbie. But, I’ve lurked in the shadows and kept tabs on marketers that I feel have merit.

      Actually folks, I commend Eric for putting all this down in a form that he can share. I do it pretty much one-on-one as a free service and really don’t have the desire to take time to write it all out.

      Don’t sweat the small stuff .. how to do this or that … it will come in time. No need for Eric to explain something you’re not even ready for.

      Good luck everyone .. PAY ATTENTION .. you just might surprise yourself and accomplish something.

      Again .. Kudo’s Eric. I like teaching others, but not to the point of writing out lesson plans. Two thumbs up brother.

    7. Ralph


      I believe you and your approach to guiding/teaching the fundamentals for a new business venture in the area of online, internet marketing is unique. I have, over time, investigated a number of courses for various methods for conducting an online, internet marketing business. One of my initial questions in this process has been regarding a business plan for each course. This question has never been responded to. You are the first person to cover this important aspect for any business and provide guidelines for its generation. The same is true for for your coverage of the necessity for “Vision” and “Goals”. In doing these, in my opinion, you have further distanced yourself from 99% of all the other so called “gurus” who offer this type of course and who reportedly have made huge amounts of money from selling them.

    8. Joe Juhant

      I like the idea of a business plan as bad as I want to get a site up and running I want to do it right so I can avoid failure

      Thanks Eric!

    9. Mark vG

      Hi Eric, the link to the Memphis library has gone.
      The other one is good, though it deals with issues only relevant to Americans. Other countries have different business structures law etc. I can only answer for Australia, but some of your folk might like this one from my home-state, Western Australia, which is an easy word document. It is also country specific, but your Aussie subscribers will like it.

    10. Randy Allison

      I will continue Eric;s Tips and complete the action steps immediately.
      I will continue with the action steps and complete each step when I get the information for each.

    11. Joseph

      Hello Eric, Good lesson! When I clicked on “Traditional Business Plan” the result was “Page Not Found.” I would really like to have that. Thanks, Joseph.

    12. Mark Munoz

      Having majored in Business Admin.with a Comprehensive Finance degree I like the simplicity of the online business plan. Not that it’s simple, It’s what’s needed to be successful.
      I truly appreciate the step by step, even though I am so aware of writing plans, vision… The few sites i tried starting my learning curve, Admittedly I did not do any and failed. Thought I’d get a site and start raking it in. “WRONG!!!” So by making me look in the mirror .Eric, you woke me up.

      God bless

    13. Joseph Cheek

      Hey eric,

      I have to tell you that I think your lessons are awesome. I, personally, hate the traditional approach to business plans because they’re too hard to understand and prepare. Your outline is so much easier. I’ve already chosen my niche too, but am not sure how to approach the product creation. I’m thinking, since I’m considering the natural health niche, I’d produce an informational product, and then later incorporate a physical product, or number of products. I know this will be a part of the business plan, which is why I thought I’d share this. I’d, of curse, welcome any feedback from anyone about this idea. Thanks again, Eric, and big time cudos.

    14. Steven Fedor


      Can you make the videos in MP4 so I can view them on my Iphone without any special apps installed? I am using my work phone.

      1. Micah

        Hello Steven,

        We can certainly take it into consideration. It would be quite an undertaking at the moment, to re-render an upload so many videos. Perhaps changes will be coming to the videos in the future.

    15. Julius M. Scott

      Online Business Plan Basic Outline

      Name of business: Scott Enterprises (Registered sole proprietor business)

      Vision for the business: Creation and distribution of Bible Study books for each of the 66 books of the Bible.

      Who is the target market: Lay individuals of lower and medium social levels.

      What will we sell: The Bible Study books will be sold through “www.ExploreRevelation.com”

      What makes us different from the competition: These bible study books are easy to understand and follow the Bible closely. Each topic of the Bible will be examined and augmented with history/traditions and explanations of the subject.

      Marketing strategies: The trinity blog will be used to drive traffic to http://www.explorerevelation.com. Other traffic generation methods to be taught in this course will be used to drive traffic to http://www.explorerevelation..com.

      Goals for building and growing the business (specific events/milestones, including financial goals, with deadlines): My “Massive Income Machines” and online business generated from the information gained from Eric’s course will provide the funds for advertising and publishing the bible study books.

      Plan of action to achieve goals: Eric’s course will teach me how to form an information products business. I will use my bible study e-books to generate sales through http://www.explorerevelation.com and when a purchase is made they will be sent a catalog of e-books that can be purchased for instant download.

      First of many versions

    16. Bill Jones

      I have been self employed since 1959 so although I am very much a “newby ” to the internet I have owned and used a computer sincr 1971
      I am working through your “Tips ” and find them very helpful.
      For the fisrt time in many (very many ) years I am preparing a business plan and already this has brought results in that I can see the way forward for BillBasicBooks ( 1 of 3 or 4 ideas I have had) This would
      – NO will – be a membership site with a small monthly charge (small becasus it is intende for “newbies” both on and off line who usually need to keep the overheads down ) and followed by 2 further sites – BillsBetterBooks and BillsBestBooks
      I am struggling however with “Marketing Stratergies” Any advice, please
      Bill Jones

      1. Micah

        Hello Bill,

        We recommend that you hang in there with Eric’s free video lessons at http://www.ericstips.com/. Eric’s lessons have helped many people to go from beginners, to successful online business owners!

        The lessons are presented in a sequence that starts at the very beginning, where the very first things you need to learn about online marketing are shown in the first few lessons!

        If you’re interested to go even more in-depth with marketing, you might also want to take part in Eric’s coaching club:

        Eric, Paul, and Jeff are expert marketers. They will be a great resource for you!

        What is included in the Coaching Club:
        – 2 Live Coaching Webinars Per Month with Jeff Wellman, Paul Counts, and Eric Holmlund
        – Access to the Archive of All Coaching Calls
        – Monthly High Quality PLR Product
        – Massive Video Training Library
        – Community Forum (JV’s, Support, and More)
        – Articles, Bonuses, and More

    17. fertat hasan

      hi eric
      First, i’d like to thank u for your awesome & simple way of teaching.
      I m a young moroccan, impassioned and motivated by your courses.
      My question is: may i develop niches like how to make passive income dedicated to arabs?if yes, can u show me some tips?

    18. Jos van Doorn

      The name of the business is “Teaching AutoLISP”.

      The vision for the business is programming in AutoLISP
      and selling e-books about AutoLISP programming and
      dialog boxes for AutoLISP.

      The target market is big AutoCAD users or users of
      AutoCAD alternatives. I’m also targeting people that
      want to learn AutoLISP programming.

      Engineering firms and architects could form the target
      market for AutoLISP programming. Technical students are
      interested in learning AutoLISP.

      I sell my AutoLISP programming expertise and I sell my
      e-books. That is how I’m going to make a lot of money.

      Here in Malaysia I do not have competition. I haven’t
      found nay competition here. But I’m very good at
      AutoLISP programming.

      I have been doing it for more than 25 years. I not only
      write AutoLISP programs. I also write AutoLISP programs
      with dialog boxes.

      I don’t have marketing strategies. I tried something
      new. I have written six e-mails to professors of the
      Petronas university.

      Petronas is a big AutoCAD user. I could do a lot of
      AutoLISP programming from them. But I did not get a
      reaction from them.

      Now one professor has invited me to have a talk with
      him. That is what I’m going to do. Let’s see what

      Maybe I can do something for him. If that is so, he can
      do something for me. Maybe he can introduce me to
      Petronas engineers.

      I know another big AutoCAD user. I will pay him a visit
      and talk with him about AutoLISP programming. He could
      be interested.

      But there is more that I could do. I don’t have any
      idea yet. Having customers find work for me? Or
      introduce me?

      My goal is to make a living with AutoLISP programming.
      Later I want to open my own office and work with fellow

      Once I have my own business and it is making me a lot
      of money, I can sell it to the people that work for me.

      After selling the business I will not retire. I will
      stay with the firm. But I’m no longer the director.

      My plan of action is to:

      – Start a blog 06.01.2015
      – Start a newsletter 07.01.2015
      – Learn about finding
      subscribers 06.01.2015
      – Look for AutoLISP forums 06.01.2015
      – Learn about social media 08.01.2015
      – Finding customers
      for AutoLISP programming 05.20.2015
      – Finding customers for
      my e-books 08.01.2015
      – Finding fellow programmers 01.01.2017
      – Opening an office 01.01.2018
      – Finding a person for the
      administration 01.01.2018
      – Selling the business 01.01.2020

    19. Linda

      This product was on Erics other website. Is it still relevant today ?

      Linda 😀

    20. Marc M. Demers

      Online Business Plan Basic Outline

      Name of business: MarcDemers.com

      Vision of the business: Creation and distribution of Monthly new Digital Products.

      Who is the target market: Make Money Online Industry, including Internet Marketers and Affiliate Marketers.

      What will we sell: Digital Products as eBooks, Software, Plugins, Ready Made Membership Site, PLR Products, etc.

      What makes us different from the competition: Selling products in multiple formats: Video, Audio and Writing format.

      Marketing strategies: Selling through reputable Affiliate Marketers.

      Goals for building and growing the business (specific events/milestones, including financial goals, with deadlines): My Economic goal is to earn consistently $10,000 monthly by December 31, 2018, the date of my full-time job retirement. My second goal is to launch 1 product per month, starting January 2018.

      Plan of action to achieve goals: My first concert is to be followed by a Mentor of the Online Internet Marketing. I also need to improve my communication with my subscribers. My marketing skill is poor so great improvement is necessary to achieve my goal.

      First version – Upgrade will come throughout the coming lessons.

      Marc M. Demers


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