Startup Resources

We have vetted countless startup resources and pulled out what we consider to be the best materials to help you achieve your startup goals.

Write a Winning Business Plan

  • How to Write a Winning Business Plan – Harvard Business Review Thorough article that covers the essential elements that belong in a business plan. A must read for anyone about to write a business plan.
  • How to Structure a Business Plan – Inc. Magazine Extensive resource that covers everything from idea feasibility to presentation.]
  • How to Write a Great Business Plan – Inc. Magazine Advice for small businesses on what it takes to create a solid business plan, including forming an outline, integrating financial specifics, and spelling out your marketing strategy.
  • Business Plan Basics – MIT Excellent slide deck from the MIT Course, The Nuts and Bolts of Business Plans. Covers why you write a plan, what you should cover in it, and who should write it. Content starts on slide 13.
  • Writing a Business Plan Includes elements of sustainable companies and a straightforward business plan outline.


  • Marketing in a Competitive Environment – Sharelle Klaus, CEO of DRY Soda Presentations on marketing your start-up. Who are your customers? What drives them to make a purchase? How do you segment the market? How do you market your business on a shoestring budget?
  • How to Market Consumer Products Presentation – Jason Stoffer, Maveron Jason is a principal at Maveron, a local VC firm that is focused solely on consumer businesses. His presentation covers the key elements of a consumer products pitch, as well as the questions you should be able to answer about your product and the market it exists in. View Slides



To download the templates click on the name of the template. The link will take you to SCORE website.

  • Startup Expenses Nearly everyone who has ever started a business has underestimated the costs, and then faced the danger of running with inadequate capital reserves. The key to avoiding this pitfall is to adopt a rigorous approach to your research and planning.
  • Opening Day Balance Sheet Here are some accounting rules which will help you construct an accurate balance sheet: Assets are recorded at the lower of cost or current market value. Since your assets will be newly acquired, put them down at cost. If you have donated personal possessions to the business (e.g., a vehicle), enter them at market value.
  • Balance Sheet Template Using your last historical balance sheet as a starting point, project what your balance sheet will look like at the end of the 12 month period covered in your Profit & Loss and Cash Flow forecasts. How will the year’s operations affect assets, debts and owners’ equity?  For example, if you are planning significant sales growth in the coming year, go through the balance sheet item by item and think about the probably effects of assets.
  • Break-even Analysis Template A break-even analysis can help you identify under what scenarios your company must operate to be profitable or at least avoid a negative balance. One of the best uses of break-even analysis is to play with various scenarios. For instance, if you add another person to the payroll, how many extra sales dollars will be needed to recover the extra salary expense? If you borrow, how much will be needed to cover the increased principal and interest payments? Many owners, especially retailers, like to calculate a daily breakdown. This gives everyone a target to shoot at for the day.
  • 12 Month Cash Flow Statement This cash flow template can be easily modified to fit your business and is useful in testing through “what if” scenarios. This tool will help prepare you for understanding and developing your business or for shaping your business plan.

Research your Business Ideas

Library Resources

Cal Poly Pomona provide students with access to excellent resources designed for professionals, including market research databases like:

  • PsycINFO – Research in psychology.
  • RMA eStatement Studies – Composite financial data and financial ratio benchmarks for over 250,000 public and private companies, including non-U.S. subsidiaries. Search by industry, year, region, and data type such as assets and sales.
  • SimplyMap – GIS tool for creating custom maps using U.S. datasets. Data available: people (demographics, consumer expenditures, market segments, sales potential), businesses (establishments, employees, retail sales), consumer price index, crime, and weather. Geographies available: states, congressional district, counties, cities, zip code, census tract, block groups, and street address. Not all data available in all geographies.
  • American Time Use Study – Published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Measures the amount of time people spend doing various activities, such as paid work, childcare, volunteering, and socializing
  • Consumer Expenditure Survey – Data on buying habits of American consumers, provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Census – Data about the people and economy of the U.S.

National Resource

  • Kauffman Foundation – Includes access to insights, research, and articles on entrepreneurship.
  • U.S. Commercial Service Country Commercial Guides – Going international? Find statistics, business regulations, market research reports, and much more for free.

Launch your Business

Pitch to Investors

Why should an investor put money into your company instead of someone else’s? What are the critical elements you need to have and what could kill the deal? How should you prepare for an investor pitch?

  • Pitch Guidelines – Alliance of Angels A very simple and succinct approach to creating a business plan presentation. “10–15 slides are all that’s needed.” Find the pitch guidelines under the question, “What should be in my investor pitch deck?”
  • 8 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Pitching To Investors – Rick Frasch, Forbes A list detailing what not to do when pitching to investors, compiled by an industry expert.
  • The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint – Guy Kawasaki A PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.

Fund Your Company

Research the In-N-Outs of Funding Basics


  • SoCalAccelerators – Other Funding Options
  • The Art of Bootstrapping – Guy Kawasaki Ideas for how to launch your company without getting outside funding.
  • Kickstarter – Crowdfunding platform.
  • Indiegogo – Crowdfunding platform.
  • Lighter Capital – Appropriate for small, growing businesses that have a proven revenue model. Companies receive a loan (typically $100k–$500k) and then pay a small percent of their monthly revenue to Lighter Capital until the initial capital has been paid off 3x-5x. Advantage: Lighter Capital does not take an equity stake in your company.
  • Accion – Microloans

Fundraising References

  • Brad Feld’s Term Sheet Series
  • Revisiting the Term Sheet – Excellent resources to help you understand term sheets, which are used to set forth the basic terms and conditions under which an investment will be made.
  • Investopedia – A great dictionary of investment terms, including a focus on VC/IPO terms and jargon.
  • Frank Demmler Resources – Demmler, an Associate Teaching Professor of Entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University, provides a list of resources that cover topics such as private investors, deal structures, and arithmetic of deals.
  • Series AA Equity Financing Documents – Y Combinator and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati collaborated on these documents to make angel funding rounds easier for both the entrepreneur and investor.
  • Venture Capital Deal Algebra – Brad Felds article focused on the math behind the calculations used in VC deals.
  • What is a Pre-money and Post-money Valuation? – Startup Lawyer Good initial resource on the basics of company values prior to financing or investments.
  • Pre Money Valuation – Venture Choice Provides good definitions and focuses on valuation in terms of VC funding.
  • Financing Your Startup – The Venture Alley Understanding Pre-Money Valuation. Article was written by Trent Dykes, attorney at DLA Piper.

Legal Help

  • Top Ten Legal Mistakes Made by Entrepreneurs – Harvard Business School Harvard Business School professor Constance Bagley discusses the most frequent legal flops made by entrepreneurs, from hiring the wrong lawyer to puffing up the business plan.
  • 5 Legal Tips for Small Businesses and Startups – Eyal Lifshitz A short read to help you avoid legal trouble with your startup.
  • startupPerColator – Perkins Coie Features a free form-generation tool (incorporation documents, term sheets, etc.) to keep costs low for startups.
  • Startup Company Lawyer – Yoichiro (“Yokum”) Taku, partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Covers a broad range of legal issues faced by startups, including incorporation, founder issues, stock options, compensation, financing, and mergers and acquisitions.
  • The Venture Alley – Asher Bearman, Trent Dykes, and Megan Muir, DLA Piper Blog about business and legal issues important to entrepreneurs, startups, venture capitalists, and angel investors.
  • Counselor @ Law – William Carleton, attorney, McNaul Ebel Nawrot & Helgren PLLCBlog covering tech-related legal issues.
  • The Only Wrong Answer Is 50/50: Calculating the Co-Founder Equity Split – Dan Shapiro for GeekWire
    Great article on how to divide founder equity.
  • Interactive Legal Glossary  – Pinnington Law The Non-Lawyers Guide to Legal Terms. An interactive glossary to ensure you understand all necessary aspects of the legal processes you will need to follow.
  • Guide to Internet Law – Internet Society A collection of legal research resources.

IP, Patents and Trademarks

  • The United States Patent and Trademark Office –Comprehensive site containing information about applying for patents, filing for trademarks, searching for patents and trademarks, and more.
  • Google Patents -nSearchable database of United States Patent and Trademark Office patents and patent applications.
  • IP Litigation Update – Blog offers insights into new developments in copyright, trademark, and trade secrets, with a particular focus on how these developments apply to technology companies. Content comes from Perkins Coie’s Intellectual Property Litigation attorneys.



  • Sources for the latest in national entrepreneurship news
  • All Business – Stories and resources to help you start, grow, and manage your business (Dun & Bradstreet)
  • Entrepreneur – News and information for start-ups
  • Small Business – News and advice relevant for small and emerging businesses (The Wall Street Journal)
  • TechCrunch – Start-up profiles, new product reviews, and breaking tech news
  • The Biz Bite – News and views on entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership for business and social good (Seattle Pi)
  • Venture Hacks – Serial entrepreneurs/investors offer advice to start-ups (Sponsored by Kauffman Foundation)


Thoughts and advice from entrepreneurs who live outside of the Puget Sound region

  • Brad Feld – Early stage investor and entrepreneur for over twenty years. Co-founder of Foundry Group and TechStars.
  • Paul Graham – Essayist, programmer, and investor. Co-developer of the first web-based application Viaweb (acquired in 1998 by Yahoo) and one of the founders of Y Combinator.
  • Guy Kawasaki – Co-founder of, founding partner at Garage Technology Ventures, former chief evangelist of Apple, and author of ten books, including Reality CheckHow to Drive Your Competition Crazy, and The Art of the Start

Student Team Formation

  • Innovative? Find your people here!
  • Working on a new idea, creating a new technology, developing something new and cool? Ready to find a team to help turn your idea into an early stage venture, or to enter a competition? 
  • Post your team/company information here and search for the perfect team members.
  • Or are you entrepreneurial but not yet ready to develop your idea into a company? 
  • Post your profile here and search for an interesting team to join.
  • This site is for university or college students to develop teams for student-created companies planning to enter Case or other student competitions. Teams, companies and individuals must be students enrolled in a degree-seeking program at an accredited college or university in California State. You are considered a student if you were enrolled in summer quarter 2016 or later. 
  • By entering this site, either to post a profile or to view others’ profile, you attest that you are a student as outlined above. This site is monitored and your profile will be removed if it is determined your credentials are not student-related.
  • Entrepreneurship Education OnlineKaufman Foundation
  • MentorConnect
  • CalPolyPitch