Innovative Solutions | Financial Strength

Steps to Planning a New Business or Nonprofit

Question: Working with several others, I am planning to start a specialized school for gifted, yet marginalized students. What steps are involved in the initial planning phase? - John, Denver

Answer: I recommend that most businesses and nonprofit organization follow the following basic steps:

  1. Research the industry that you plan on entering to determine barriers to entry, market saturation, and other organizations that do similar work to your proposed initiative.
  2. Develop a strategic plan based on this knowledge that states your mission, goals with quantifiable measurements, and core values of the initiative.
  3. Determine if your strategic plan could be accomplished by working with an existing institution, it is a long road to develop your own business or nonprofit organization.
  4. Research possible funding options and determine nonprofit or for-profit options.
  5. Develop a business plan that details the business structure, service or product delivery process, timeline, and budget.
  6. Complete all relevant state and IRS incorporation and business set-up forms.
  7. Authorize a functioning board of directors that is able to assist the new organization in its endeavors.

I would also encourage you to also work with the local school district and develop a working relationship with the administration.

Quick Questions:

  1. What makes your endeavor unique?
  2. What is the value-add?
  3. Is someone already doing this?