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Michigan State University

Entrepreneurship and Small Business

Business Plans

A business plan is a document that companies and prospective companies create to project how they will create and grow their business in the upcoming 3 to 5 years. 

Business Financials

Business Model Canvas

Business Models are now being used by many people instead of Business Plans. Instead of trying to project years down the road, Business Models emphasize Product-Market fit and adjusting to changing circumstances. 

A popular tool for creating business models is the business model canvas:


Business Model Canvas - Explained and Suggested Databases


Your 'Creation Process'

Key Activities:

The most important activities an organization needs to perform well.

Key Partners:

The network of suppliers and partners that bring in external resources and activities.

Key Resources:

The most important assets required to offer and deliver the previously described elements

- IBIS World
- Mergent Online
- Passport


Your 'Product/Service'

Value Proposition:

Based upon a bundle of products and services that create value for a customer segment. (See Video Clip Below)

- Mergent Intellect
- MarketLine Advantage
- BCC Research
- CB Insights


Your 'Distribution, Marketing & Sells'

Customer Relationships:

Outline of what type of relationship is established and maintained with each customer segment, and explains how customers are acquired and retained.

Customer Segments:

Groups of people and/or organizations a company aims to reach and create value for with a dedicated value proposition.


Describes how a value proposition is communicated and delivered to a customer segment through communication, distribution, and sales channels.

- Mintel
- eMarketer
- SimplyAnalytics

- Statista
- BizMiner


Your 'Money Out & Money In'

Cost Structure:

Describes all costs incurred to operate a business model.

Revenue Streams:

Result from a value proposition successfully offered to a customer.



Michigan State University