Business Plans are used extensively in teaching business. The case study research strategy provides the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of an organization or event—data can be collected from multiple sources (for example, company websites, interviews, or published articles).
In this project you will select, develop, and analyze an in-depth business plan for a brand new sole proprietorship business. The purpose of this project is to utilize concepts to create a business plan of a new organization of your choosing. The Course Project will build on the skills developed by your studies in business.
The Course Project provides an opportunity for you to practice and apply specific strategic management skills learned in this course. The knowledge learned will help you to further your professional or personal goals. The project is divided in three parts. Every week you are encouraged to complete a section of your Course Project. Part 1 is due in Week 3; Part 2 is due in Week 5 and Part 3 is due in Week 8. Each part should be an APA Microsoft Word document that uses the outlines here as headings for each Part.
Choose a company that is new and can be a sole proprietorship in your own local neighborhood. This will be a business you can start with minimal capital and the intent is to own and operate it indefinitely so selling the business is not a consideration.
Here is a list of business types you may choose from. If you want to do some other business, be sure to get permission from your professor first. The business must be a local service. It may not be selling a specific product or an app of any sort except as an add on or support of the business. These may not be franchises but new small businesses and brands only.
Course Project Part 3 (360 points, Due Week 8)
The Executive Summary, Appendix and Sections A through N. Part 3 should be completely integrated and presented in a logical order, written professionally and free of spelling and grammar errors, and updated with any changes that occurred along the way, including corrections and advice provided by your professor.
Executive Summary (30 points)
This two-page summary of your plan is written last and should be able to stand alone as a document on its own merits. Include a clear and specific compelling Value Proposition with primary research, a brief synopsis of each plan section, and brief financial highlights. After reading this summary, the reader should have a clear understanding of the specifics of your plan.
Section A: Business Concept: (10 points)
Describe in overview and in detail what you are offering to the market. What does it “do”? What are the benefits to your customers? How do the customers now accomplish the same task? How is your approach better than the competition?
Section B: Industry Analysis (10 points)
Research industry averages for profitability in your marketplace. Use this information to determine the validity of your own projections and make changes if necessary.
Section C: Regulation and Legal (10 points)
Determine your location and business environment. Address all legal, zoning, and licensing concerns your business will face. Visit your state’s Secretary of State website. What form of business will you set up? Why? The level of detail required for this section will depend on your type of location (virtual, retail, warehouse, office, restaurant, etc.) and on your idea. Demonstrate that you have completed your research. DON’T say “We will obtain all of the appropriate permits”; instead, summarize them. When you explain your form of business—remember your audience. For example, if you select an S corporation, explain your reasoning for that selection in the context of your potential business, rather than providing the definition of an S corporation. Address any pending regulations which may have an impact on your business.
Section D: Competitive analysis (10 points)
Describe the competitive landscape. Who are the key competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How will you take share from them? How will they most likely try to stop you if you are successful? Who are your indirect competitors? What do they offer your prospects? Include a map of their locations in your local area.
Section E: Target Market and Segmentation: (10 points)
Describe your market. Where is it? How big is it? What is the growth rate? What are the unique features or dynamics of this market? What causes people to buy? What are the demographics and psychographics of your target customer?
Section F: Value Proposition (10 points)
Specific evidence that people will buy your product or service. What is your “hook?” Describe your primary research, and explain how the results validate the value of your product or service to your target audience. Primary market research is the key to this evidence. Prove that if you make this investment, customers will buy what you are selling. What is your competitive edge?
Section G: Pricing Strategy (10 points)
Describe your pricing strategy and specific prices. How did you arrive at these prices? What are competitive prices? Why are yours different? How do your prices relate to costs and your development investment?
Section H: Marketing Promotion Strategy (10 points)
Describe the role, the strategy, and the execution of your total communications plan. What is your message? What are your specific communication vehicles, such as advertising, literature, promotion, the Internet? What type of scheduling or timing will you use? Show your budget by year and type of expense.
Section I: Day-to-Day Operations: (10 points)
Describe how your business will “operate.” If you make a product, describe the production. If you offer a service, describe each step of that service. If you are a retailer, location, product mix, and suppliers are important. Think through your business’ daily operation and explain it in detail. Then, think about who, what, and how each of those steps will happen. Realistically, how much of this can one person do? Strategically, how will you plan for growth?
Section J: Facilities and Equipment Plan (10 points)
Describe and cost your capital assets, such as production lines, office equipment, and buildings. If you plan to have a physical location, include a floor plan if possible. Address your build-out strategy. Are you leasing a location that meets your specs (fairly unusual); if not, include a build-out plan with high-level milestones, dates, and costs? What are your startup timelines? Expansion timelines?
Section K: Technology Plan (10 points)
Describe your company’s IT needs and how much they will cost and how you will implement. Will you have a web presence, and if so, what type of functionality will it include? If you need a particular software program, explain its function. Will you need licenses for each employee? Will you handle your IT requirements with “in-house” or outsource to IT consultants—explain your decision.
Section L: Use of Funds (40 points)
Describe how you plan to use the startup requirements in detail providing a start-up budget which includes all initial capital expenditures, build-out and start-up expenses. The details must be realistic and well researched. Data that does not make sense will cost you points. In other words, if you are starting a restaurant and your remodeling startup costs are $5,000, you would be penalized, since that amount is unrealistic.
Section M: Sales Forecast: (40 points)
Create your 5-year forecast (See lecture for details). Units, dollars and assumptions are critical. Create the sales forecast in a narrative. These may be based on the optional worksheets. (Remember, you don’t submit the spreadsheet created using the course financial software, so restate important numbers in the form of charts, tables or excerpts from the SalesProj tab in your spreadsheet.) Your forecast is the description of the units you plan to sell, the services (amount of them) you plan to provide, and your growth projections of these numbers. Document all assumptions, and provide external source information for all assertions.
Section N: Breakeven (30 points)
Include a graphical representation that shows when your company will start making a profit.
Section O: The Future and Globalization (20 points)
Assume your plan works well and five years from now you have a dozen locations and a successful website. How can you take your operations global? List the top three countries you would expand into and provide research backing your selection. How would your products/services have to change/adapt for each new market?
Primary Research Appendix (30 points)
You must use primary research as described in the Marketing section. Your Appendix must include evidence of that research. Examples might include survey responses, or interview notes. Faculty will confirm primary research—failure to provide evidence is an automatic 50-point deduction. Faculty, type in 0 points for the entire section if no primary research is provided in the final plan.
Paper/References (20 points)
Properly formatted with APA format paper, citations and sources.
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