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Business Law 121 - Business Plan

This guide is designed to be a starting point for your business plan. It provides several recommended sources to search for library materials relevant to this assignment.

2. Narrow Your Topic

Your initial steps will include determining the business you will focus on for this project as well as choosing one of the five business structures referred to in your textbook.  If you do not already have a business, you may want to use the database below to explore different types of businesses in order to choose the one that interests you the most.

Note: Notice on the front page of the database, there are sections of "Business Areas" and "Industry Information by Small Business Type."                                      Narrow Sign

Ask yourself:

What interests do I have in my spare time?

Are there areas that I already have some training and background in?

What subject areas have I enjoyed or excelled in?


Once you have determined the business and business structure you want to focus on, begin to consider the types of sources you will need. Your assignment lays out very specific instructions for your business plan including the topics that should be addressed and what percentage of the assignment should cover each topic.  Refer to the Assignment Requirements to review those instructions.  The topics you will need to find information about in relation to your business include:

  • Personal liability
  • Tax and IRS information and formation
  • Set-up costs
  • Operating costs
  • Funding and possible investors
  • Flexibility and Adaptability  


As you think about what these areas of your business consider particular words that might be found in a good article about that topic.  Many business terms are similar or interchangeable depending on a particular article.  When searching for sources, spend time trying a variety of terms.  Consider the following examples: 

liability -- accountability -- risk

funding - investors - capitalists

new business -- entrepreneur -- start-up

Search Tips

Use AND between two or more terms to find materials with all the terms.

bakery AND employees

Use OR between similar terms or synonyms to search for either term.

           tax OR IRS

Use quotation marks around phrases (two or more words); this tells the database to look for the words in that specific order.

"operating costs" AND bakery                          

Keywords work best by trial-and-error. Never do only one search. Some keywords will work better than others, and some keywords may lead you to different articles than you found in your first search.