The GPA will pose a problem for schools -- some even have 3.0 cutoffs -- so you need to address it in a variety of ways. Make sure that the adcom gets to know you as a person (essays, school visits, interview, personal letters). Also use the "optional" essay to explain that you recognize that your GPA was low, that it doesn't represent your current academic potential, and give reasons/specifics to back that up. For example, pointing at the GPA for your certificate. Depending on your timeframe, you can take part time business courses and get A's to show how you've changed.
I'll send you a PM with another question.