CCHD offers three resources to help guide project development in economic development, in English and Spanish, in pdf format. Please contact one of the CCHD grants specialists if you would like copies of these booklets mailed to you.

The Feasibility Study: Will it Work?

A Feasibility Study is required before applying for a CCHD Business Planning Grant. The results of the feasibility study are incorporated into your business plan.

El Estudio de Factibilidad: Funcionara?

A feasibility study is conducted prior to the creation or expansion of a business enterprise — whether by an individual, a group, or a nonprofit organization. A Feasibility Study has a specific product or business focus more than an organizational development focus.

You might be:
  • assisting home care workers to form a cooperative for their service delivery;
  • a neighborhood group starting a janitorial company, to provide employment opportunities;
  • a CDC developing a credit union in order to provide affordable, basic banking services.
WHAT: The Feasibility Study will guide you in carrying out the market assessment necessary before starting a business. It will assist you to describe the given circumstances in your market area, define your prospective customers, determine their desire or need for your product or service, and evaluate the competition (if any) that may be already serving them. This publication should answer these questions:
We've got a great business idea, but can it work ?

Is there sufficient demand; will you have enough customers?

Can you deliver better, cheaper, faster than other suppliers?

Can you survive by making enough money to cover your expenses?
RESULTS: A Feasibility Study will help refine and direct your future business development by identifying the potential for product demand and sales. This analysis helps you to predict the likelihood of survival for you new business or expanded enterprise. A Feasibility Study that reveals a non-viable business idea is still valuable — preventing costly mistakes and potentially lost investments (of time and money).

Planning to Succeed in Business

A comprehensive Business Plan follows after - and incorporates the results of - a feasibility study, both of which can be funded by CCHD.

Planifique el Éxito en su Negocio

WHO: Business planning is done prior to embarking upon any new enterprise, or when preparing for a significant change in an existing business. Business Planning focuses on a specific proposed enterprise whose basic feasibility or viability has already been determined.

You might be:
  • starting a construction company to serve as a general contractor in affordable housing rehabilitation;
  • forming a cooperative among community residents with related skills in landscaping and grounds maintenance;
  • opening a second-hand shop to provide affordable clothing and employment opportunities for recent immigrants in your neighborhood.
WHAT: Planning to Succeed in Business assists you in laying out a detailed operational plan, including financial projections, for your proposed enterprise. The business plan will describe the product or service to be provided, your potential customers, your sales and marketing strategies, your competition and how you will manage it, your expected challenges and risks, and strategies for success. Finally, it demonstrates management capacity sufficient to carry out the plan successfully and describes the financing necessary (even if it is not yet in place). This publication should help you answer these questions:
What is the preferred ownership structure and why?

Who will be on our team — owners, managers, staff, suppliers, our attorney, our accountant, our banker?

How will the business function — make its product, deliver its service?

How will the enterprise thrive and grow — via marketing, sales, appropriate pricing, quality service, and eventual profits?
RESULTS: Business Plans are essential in preparing for a new enterprise, because they challenge the entrepreneur to think clearly about the implications and develop a comprehensive approach. Business Plans are often done for the purpose of convincing others to "invest" — by buying stock in or providing loans or other funding to your business.

Strategic Planning: Which Way is Best?

A sound Strategic Plan should result from a CCHD Planning Grant (if a plan has not been completed previously); it is required before applying for a CCHD Operating Grant.

Planificación Estratégica: Cual camino es mejor?

WHO: Strategic planning is typically done by new organizations, existing organizations embarking upon new initiatives, or existing organizations which have never done one or have an inadequate or outdated plan. Strategic Planning has an organizational focus rather than a project or specific enterprise focus.

You might be a:
  • CDC shifting from housing development to economic development activities;
  • neighborhood group wanting to foster employment opportunities in your community;
  • revolving loan fund forming to finance small business enterprises.
WHAT: Which Way is Best? will help you paint the big picture of your future, lay out a shared vision, describe your values and ideals, assess and address your leadership capacity (board and staff), affirm the organization's mission, and justify its selected path after evaluation of various options. This publication should guide you in answering these questions:
What is your purpose and mission?

Where are you going (and, just as important, where are you choosing not to go)?

How will you get there? And why have you chosen this path over other options?

What is the expertise and capability of the persons involved?

How and when will you evaluate your success and impact?

RESULTS: A Strategic Plan must exhibit sound logic — between the organization's mission and its program(s), between the community's needs and the proposed project(s), between the resources needed and the resources available (including your own capacity). In short, it must make sense. The Strategic Plan provides guidance as the nonprofit faces the challenges and distractions of day-to-day operations. When done well, Strategic Planning is also an exceedingly valuable community organizing tool - the most effective processes invite the participation, contribution, ownership and support of all relevant stakeholders.