Bulletion board with post it notes containing words for business planning.
Updated: August 12, 2022
By Ginger S. Myers

Have you ever had a fleeting thought of starting a business or new enterprise but raked it from your mind thinking it would never work?  Did you think your family and friends wouldn’t support you or were you lost because you had no idea where to start? If so, your thoughts were no different than those of other people who decided to go with the idea of becoming a business owner, revamping an existing business, or adding on a new enterprise.

Entrepreneurs question the status quo; they recognize opportunities for addressing needs, problems, and wants that others may not see. They are the backbone of every community’s economy.

Entrepreneurs are risk-takers. They are no different than farmers who plant crops every year not knowing for sure what the yields will be; not knowing the affects of weather or market conditions on the family income. But, they differ in that they can manage some of the risks of starting a new business with guidance from other successful farmers and a well vetted business plan.

This module provides information on Coaching Assistance and resources on Growing Your Business. We hope this module will provide you with assistance during the process of developing your business.

Best wishes for a successful enterprise!

Meet Our Coaches

Shannon Dill
Extension Educator, Talbot County 


Neith Little
Extension Educator, Baltimore City


Shauna C Henley
Extension Educator, Baltimore County


Jesse Ketterman
Extension Educator, Allegany County 


Haley Sater
Extension Educator, Wicomico County

Explore the Cultivating Entrepreneurship Module

Coaching Assistance Program

Business development can be challenging and sometimes you need someone to give you guidance, resources, or to just listen to your ideas or roadblocks. Entrepreneurial coaching can provide you with a trained, impartial coach that can be a sounding board for your ideas, share time-saving resources, and sharpen your focus on reaching business goals. 

Coaching provides a deeper, more productive conversation with the clear goal of helping you launch or grow your business idea. The University of Maryland Extension has trained business coaches that know the ins and outs of agricultural and food-related businesses. This program offers two ways to meet with a coach, in-person "one-on-one" or through our virtual conference system if time investment of sitting in a coaching session seems burdensome with so many other things demanding your attention.  

An entrepreneurial Coaching session is free of charge and all individuals interested in growing their businesses are invited to participate.

To Schedule a Coaching Session

The University of Maryland’s Entrepreneurial Coaching Team for farm and food entrepreneurs has in person and virtual appointments available. Each appointment is scheduled for 45 minutes. If your appointment is online you will meet with your coach in a virtual meeting room using Zoom. Please complete a brief intake form before scheduling your in person or virtual appointment so your coach can be better prepared to discuss your unique situation.  

Register for a Coaching Session

Technology Requirements for a Virtual Coaching Session

When you schedule your session, you will receive a link to join Zoom. There are visual resources to share with you so we prefer you to log in on your computer or phone app. However, if for some reason this isn't working for you, you may use the call-in option below.  Zoom does require software, so if you plan to use your phone you will need to download their app. Their app can be obtained by going to Apple App Store or Goggle Play.  If you use your computer, click the link to join Zoom, you will be prompted to download their software.  A high-speed internet connection, speakers, and microphone (or phone) will be needed to have a successful coaching experience.

  • Windows: If you plan to join the meeting using Internet Explorer, we recommend having ActiveX enabled. If you plan to join the meeting using Firefox or Chrome, we recommend having Java installed and enabled in your browser.
  • Mac OS X: Make sure that Java is installed and enabled in your browser.  If you are using Safari, make sure that plugins are enabled as well. Once connected you will be prompted to connect audio speakers and microphone.

If you have a problem logging in, please send an email to entrecoach@umd.edu describing the issue and a phone number where you can be reached.

Growing Your Business

These resources will help direct entrepreneurs towards the ‘Next Steps” for planning and launching their new ideas.  Resources for financing and risk management are also found throughout this website.

Successful businesses require thoughtful time and planning  Writing a business plan for a new venture can cost you time upfront but save you many dollars in the long run. You will find the tools for business planning, a business plan template, and several enterprise assessment tools on this site under the ‘Dream, Plan, Implement’ section.

Explore Resources on the Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center

Other Resources: