“Building a Sustainable Business: A Guide to Developing a Business Plan for Farms and Rural Businesses” was conceived in 1996 by a planning team for the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA), to address the evolving business planning needs of beginning and experienced rural entrepreneurs. From the onset, the planning team envisioned a truly useful guidebook that would be relevant to the alternative farm operations and rural businesses of today. There are certainly more detailed business planning, strategy building, succession planning, marketing and financial planning resources available. It was not our intention to replace these materials. Many of these existing resources are listed in an extensive “Resources” section at the end of this Guide. Instead, our objective was to compile information from all available resources, including farmers and other business experts, that could be used to create a business planning primer—a guide that will help today’s alternative agriculture entrepreneurs work through the planning process and to begin developing their business plans.