BUSINESS PLAN PROJECT
A Business Plan is an integral part of starting and maintaining a successful small business. Therefore, it is important for those being trained in any entrepreneurial program to be well versed in business planning procedures and capable of preparing a business plan.
It is better to decide not to pursue a business venture after having completed your business plan, than to have forged ahead without one. Too many businesses fail because of lack of planning. The main purpose of your business plan in this course is to help you to decide whether or not to proceed with the proposed business venture. For those who take the business plan to the next step and open up their own business, the business plan becomes a critical roadmap that is revised and revisited to help maintain and grow the business.
Students will be assigned to teams of 3 or 4 to develop a Business Plan for a new business start-up. Some exceptions might be possible but ideally you should not work on your own on this project. The advantages of working in a team on this will outweigh the potential inconveniences of having to work in a team.
Communication between team members is vital (try to meet in person, if circumstances allow). Also, use Moodle’s chat tool or consider using Skype, which you can easily set up for free video conference calls and chats.
Business Idea 5%
Business Plan Proposal 10%
Final Business Plan 25%
Business Idea Criteria
When developing your business idea, keep the following requirements in mind:
Your idea must be a new business start-up, not a buyout of an existing business. If you are seriously planning to buy an existing business, or if you are involved in an existing business, you may do a business plan for that business but only with approval of your instructor and permission from the business. Purchasing a Franchise is not an option as most of the elements of the business have been fully developed and tested. However, developing a new business that you wish to franchise later is fine.
If the business idea is seasonal, you need to find another complementary business to support the months your business is not in operation (how will you support yourself when the business is not operating?). Also, the business cannot be a hobby, but rather show a reasonable expectation of a profit.
The idea must not have been used for project credit in any other class. If you wish to build upon a previous project, or use the same idea concurrently in another class, you must obtain the permission of your instructor.
The business idea must be both legal and ethical. Don’t waste your time on an idea that is likely to be turned down. If in doubt, consult with your instructor in advance of submitting your proposal.
Begin by reading Chapters 1-3 of your textbook. If you are experiencing difficulty with the development of your business idea, consult the B.C. Government’s website for starting a business: http://www.bcbusinessregistry.ca/introduction/startingabusiness.htm or check out www.trendwatching.com for the latest consumer trends and opportunities.
Submit your work through Moodle. All submissions must be Word documents or Excel worksheets
On the following pages, you will find descriptions and tools for each of these assignments. Late penalties of 10% per day will be assessed on all late assignments.
Read through Chapter 15 in your text to get an overview of what a business plan contains. Follow the Action Steps for specific details of each section and refer back to the relevant chapters in your text for additional information. Also, review the sample business plan on the publisher’s website for this course (in E Module 2), the template in E Module 3, as well as research other business plans (for example, see Small Business BC website for examples of sample business plans): http://www.smallbusinessbc.ca/bizstart-bPlanning.php
BUSINESS IDEA (5% of the course grade)
Each team member will develop a new business idea (see criteria on page 1) and discuss his/her idea with the other team members. The group will then evaluate each idea and rank them in terms of which is deemed to have the best chance of success in today’s marketplace, given the team’s resources etc. Chapters 1, 2 and, 3 in your text will be very helpful in giving you different approaches to idea generation. The team will submit its top choice of business idea. This submission will include the following:
1. A clear and comprehensive description of the idea for your business.
2. Why you have selected this idea.
3. How this business reflects the strengths and abilities of your team and what knowledge/skill gaps you might need to address.
4. The other key ideas that were suggested by your group and explain why they were not chosen.
There is no minimum or maximum word length for your business idea submission. However, in past classes, submissions that were assessed to be ‘very good’ to ‘excellent’ (ie, 70-100) tended to be in the range of 1,500 to 2,000 words.
The team must also submit a completed Team Charter with the Business Idea submission. You can use the template provided on the Moodle site or develop a document that works for your team. This document will be used in the event that a team runs into difficulty with the performance of individual members and determining accountability.
BUSINESS PLAN PROPOSAL (10% of your course grade)
As a team, you must prepare and hand in a basic business proposal. A business plan proposal is a document explaining what you are going to write about and how you will produce your business plan. The objective of this proposal is get you AND the course tutor on the same page so you can produce an excellent business plan. This proposal will form the basis for your final Business Plan. Your course tutor will return it as quickly as possible so that you can take advantage of any pertinent comments and continue to add the building blocks that will result in your final plan.
Please submit your Business Plan Proposal via Moodle only. It should be typed and professionally formatted, including APA style referencing where appropriate. It should include a cover page identifying the name of your business and the names of the students who prepared the proposal.
The proposal should include
1. A description of your product/service idea,
a. the industry,
b. the target market,
c. a risk analysis and description of your management team. This should be rewritten, not cut and pasted from the idea paper.
2. A SWOT analysis. Be sure to identify all the components and review the distinctions between strengths/opportunities and weaknesses/threats. Also include a list of strategies to address the weaknesses identified.
3. A strengths/weaknesses chart that highlights your talents and other people you will need to add to your team.
4. A detailed plan for completion of the actual business plan.
As is the case with the business idea submission, there is no minimum or maximum word length for your business plan proposal submission. However, in past classes, submissions that were assessed to be ‘very good’ to ‘excellent’ (ie, 70-100) tended to be in the range of 3,000 to 4,000 words.
Marking Scheme for the Business Plan Proposal:
Presentation and Writing Style (marks)
• clearly and comprehensively organized (1)
• clear and professional layout (1)
• no spelling or grammar mistakes (1)
• the idea is clearly described (1)
• the industry and target customer are clearly defined (1)
• the management team is defined with roles (1)
• the strengths and weaknesses chart is complete (1)
· the SWOT analysis is complete and correct (1)
• improvement strategies are identified (1)
• chart of dates and tasks for business plan completion (1)
BUSINESS PLAN (25% of your course grade)
Work on sections of your plan as you cover them in the chapters you read. That also gives you the opportunity to practice the topics in the activities and exercises. Follow the Action Steps for specific details of each section and refer back to the relevant chapters in your text for additional information.
Also, refer to the step-by-step outline provided in this document.
You are expected to use word processing software to produce your business plan. Your text has provided links to several business plan templates (Box 1.3 on page 20). However, your business plan is to follow a similar format to what is outlined in Chapter 15 and this step-by-step outline.
While there are no set guidelines for the length of the Business Plan, submissions that are ‘very good’ to ‘excellent’ tend to average between 35 and 40 pages, single-spaced plus appendices. Your submission must be thorough, of high quality, and reflect the efforts of each participant working on it. A copy of the business plan evaluation form is provided at the end of this assignment. Make sure to review how the plan will be evaluated.
Organizing Your Business Plan
Here are some tips on how to organize your business plan to ensure ease of review and a professional format:
· Use plenty of headings and subheadings to break up your report – but don’t overdo it (every headings has to have text underneath it).
· Follow the format outlined in Chapter 15 of your text and the step-by-step outline.
· Do not skip sections of the Business Plan, or you may end up losing marks. If a section seems too repetitive, cross-reference it with another section of the plan instead of repeating the information.
· Make it easy for the reader to review it. Use a simple, straightforward business writing style, and have other people review your plan to ensure all questions are answered.
· Use appendices for supplementary material in your business plan (see step-by-step outline for examples of what may be included in the appendices). Any information placed in an appendix must be referred to in the text of your business plan in the appropriate place (or it should not be read!).
· Ensure that your business plan contains no spelling, grammatical or typographical errors. Proofread your work and have others do this as well!
· Write the Executive Summary last. This is the most important part of your business plan. Spend time on it to make it interesting and informative. An Executive Summary should contain key information and financial highlights of the business plan. It is not the same thing as an Introduction or Table of Contents, which tells the reader only what the plan contains and not any specific details/results. It should be brief (maximum two pages) and to the point.
If you are unsure of what a good Business Plan should look like, review the sample sections in Chapter 15 of your text. In addition, sample business plans are available on many Internet sites including the Canada/British Columbia Business Service Centre web page at: http://www.smallbusinessbc.ca/bizstart-samplePlan.php
A Step-by-Step Outline for Writing a Business Plan
We recommend a business plan that begins with: a cover page, Table of Contents, and Executive Summary. The main body of the plan should be divided into eight broad categories (Sections A to H), which are detailed below. Sections A to G of your plan provide a description of the business. The goal of these first seven descriptive sections is to prove, with words and numbers/data, that you know your business and you know your market potential. The Financial Section is mainly aimed at lenders: bankers, credit managers and venture capitalists. Lenders and investors are not likely to be swayed by your enthusiasm regarding the first part of your plan. Your job, therefore, is to make the numbers and research do the talking and prove that your idea can be translated into a financial benefit. We suggest that your Financial Section be divided into five subsections as shown below in Section H.
Finally, your plan will contain a set of Appendices, which provide any necessary support materials or information. A list of the typical kinds of information that would be contained in this section is given in the detailed outline below.
Detailed Outline of a Business Plan
The first part of your plan is the cover sheet, which should include:
· Name of the business
· Logo/slogan for the business
Name of the principals/owners
Addresses of the principal/owners
Telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of the principals/owners
What type of document it is (e.g. Business Plan)
Table of Contents
The Table of Contents is the reader’s guide to the major sections of the plan. The Table of Contents should be prepared using the function in MS Word (which will automatically update page numbers). Do not attempt to write it manually as you will waste a lot of time updating page numbers and headings (refer to what you learned in BUAD 128 or review Word features). All page numbers should be right aligned. Also, all appendices need to be individually labelled (e.g. A, B, C, D), titled (e.g. Partnership Agreement) and page referenced so the reader knows what each one contains and where to find it.
The Executive Summary serves as an introduction to the business plan. It must “boil down” the essence of your business, its purpose, methods, marketing position, return on investment, and other advantages. Include key findings from every major section of your plan (refer to the marking guide for these main areas). Because the Executive Summary gives perspective to the entire business plan, it needs to be written last (after you have completed your financial section). It should be approximately two pages in length.
General Organization & APA Referencing
This section looks at how well organized your plan was and how easy it was to review and analyze the material. Were headings used to break out major sections of the plan? Did the referencing follow APA format and were they listed in a separate bibliography at the end of the plan (before the appendices)? Were all the appendices in the plan referred to in the appropriate place in the text of the plan? Were page numbers used? (headers and footers are also appropriate).
Spelling/Grammar/Use of 3rd person
Are there typos or grammatical errors? Are there run-on sentences? Is there an appropriate use of paragraphs? (hint: include about 3-5 sentences in a paragraph and cover a major theme). Use 3rd person when writing the plan, and write as if the company is in business already. For example, “Company X provides . . . . . . . “. Also be assertive in your language, like “Company X will” rather than “Company X thinks/hopes to . . .”
Appendix: Supporting Material
Is the required appendix material (e.g. management resumes, partnership/shareholders agreement) provided? Is appropriate supplementary material included? For example, you may wish to include the following support material in the appendices if relevant to your business:
Brochure and other promotional items
Product list and prices
Customer feedback form
Personal information (personal goals and personal net worth statements)
Secondary research that supports your plan (key parts not whole studies)
Photos and floor plans and map of location
Quotes (and pictures) for detailed equipment and leasehold improvements
List of Directors or Advisory Board members
A. The Product or Service/Pricing Strategy
This section describes the unique features and benefits of your product or service. We suggest that the following information be included:
If you already have a business, include a brief history of your company. Note: If dealing with a startup company, this section does not apply.
A description of your product or service in terms of:
o Features or characteristics (what does the product/service offer?).
Include items in the appendix such as menu, brochure, price list etc.
o Benefits (i.e., what market needs is your product or service satisfying? What business are you in?)
o Price (include price list) and pricing strategy (such as penetration/skimming, prestige/premium, at, above or below-market level, cost-plus fee or percentage) Also include a rationale for your pricing strategy
o What makes your product or service unique (competitive advantage/differentiation strategy )
o A brief statement about how customers will access your product or service (i.e., retail, direct sales, internet, mail order, etc.). This will be elaborated on further in the operations section. Note: it is NOT your promotion strategy
· Include the stage of development and proprietary position if relevant. This is only pertinent if you are inventing a product and are in the process of developing it and bringing it to market. If relevant, do include any proprietary information such as patents, copyrights, trademarks or registering your name.
B. Industry Analysis, The Market and The Target Customer
This section explains the market need for your product or service, and your estimated market potential through market research. It also describes the target customer who will buy your product or service. You might want to organize your information into the following subsections:
1) Industry Overview
· A description of the industry and the industry segment in terms of:
– stage of the industry life cycle (e.g. embryonic, growth, maturity, decline)
– current growth (e.g. increase in industry sales)
– current industry trends
Identify your industry and then explain it. This requires secondary research on your industry and is broad in nature. Also, your industry cycle is likely mature unless you are really developing something new and you can convince the reader of that. You need to source all data you use in the text (citations) and list them at the end of plan in a reference list, and you need to use APA referencing style.
2) Market Potential
Estimation of your market potential (What is the market size? What is your market share? How does this translate to your estimated sales?) Use secondary research (e.g. Estat/Cansim/Family Expenditure Survey) for a) a top-down forecast, and number of sales/day, week or month and for a b) bottom-up forecast. Note: this is a key link to financial projections as it shows how you arrived at you sales figures. You can refer to these forecasted figures in your financial plan section.
3) The Target Customer
First, determine if you target consumers, businesses or both. Then provide:
A description of the primary target customer in terms of:
– demographic-consumer (e.g. sex, age, income level, geographic location, occupation, education)
– demographic-business (e.g. business size, business type, business features such as form of organization, family-run, years in business, location)
– psychographic-consumer (lifestyle, attitudes, personality, values)
– psychographic-business (reputation, ethics/social responsibility, awards)
– needs, and how your product/service satisfies these needs
– buying habits and behaviour: purchase occasion (such as special or regular), purchase frequency (such as daily, monthly, annually), preferences (such as high end, medium quality, low end products/services)
· A description of the secondary target customer (in the same terms as above).
· Detail who your referral market is (who would be a potential referral source for you such as a building supply store for a home renovations business)
C. The Competition
This section indicates how your product or service is uniquely positioned in the market in relation to the competition. In this section, describe:
Your potential competitors, including details of:
– Their strengths and weaknesses (e.g. price, characteristics of their product or service)
– Whether their business is steady, increasing, or decreasing
Key direct competitors need to be individually evaluated by their strengths and weaknesses. Indirect competitors can be summarized as a group by their strengths and weaknesses and a list of them included in the appendix if it is a large amount. Make it clear that you have a good understanding of the competitive climate.
What weaknesses and market gaps did you identify in the competitor analysis? Provide a description of the market niche that you are seeking with your product or service. How will your business capitalize on these gaps?
D. Promotion Strategy
This section explains how you will connect with your customers to sell your product or service.
· Your promotional objectives (what are you trying to achieve with your promotional strategy)
· Your promotional mix, such as personal selling, advertising, sales promotion and public relations.
Be creative, even if you have a small budget (see marketing methods in text and handouts). Remember, word of mouth only works once people actually try your service/product. You first need to create a customer. Do not use word of mouth as a key strategy.
· How your target customer receives information to purchase (include items like website, brochure and business cards). This can be included in above section.
· Your strategy to build a customer list/database to keep in touch with the customer’s needs and receive ongoing feedback. Comment on how you develop this information in a way that is not inconvenient for the customer and respects their privacy.
1) Location: explains why you have selected your location and how it satisfies the needs of your target customers and your business.
· How close or accessible is your location to the target market; list advantages or disadvantages in terms of traffic patterns, parking, lighting.
· Distribution channels you plan to use to reach the target customer if you don’t have a store-front location
· How the location satisfies the exterior and interior requirements of the business (if possible, include a floor plan or photos in an appendix). Also, you need to describe the size and makeup of the building and what it contains. Discuss any options for signage and if the exterior has been recently upgraded. If possible, include photos of the place that is for rent (through realtor or mls.ca guide, good to include, or if you have developed your own plans, include in appendix).
· How close the competition is to your location
· The possibility for expansion
· Whether the building is leased or owned. Indicate whether the lease has been reviewed by a lawyer (include proof of ownership or a copy of the lease in an appendix). If you are unable to get the lease agreement, state that you will review it with a lawyer prior to a lease agreement being finalized.
· Whether the location is in conformity with municipal by-laws (zoning) and environmental regulations.
2) Equipment: This details those items you need for your business.
A description of any equipment you need, its value (costs) and specifications (attach pictures to appendix if equipment is key to your business). This includes office equipment as well as equipment necessary to perform your service or make your product. Note: You will want to refer to this section in the financial plan when discussing your start-up costs.
· A list of any furniture or fixtures you need for your office or your business.
3) Operating Costs: Prepare detailed cost schedules (organized by business segment). These projections can be included in your financial statements and reports in Section H)
· First, prepare a detailed variable cost schedule for each manufactured product, retail location, and/or service offering. These schedules will include inventory calculations for manufacturing and retail segments.
· Second, complete a contribution summary for each business segment. The contribution summary shows the contribution margin for each product, store, service and their contribution to the divisional fixed overhead costs. Be sure to work through the beginning and ending inventory calculations for the manufacturing and retail segments.
Note: If you are starting a manufacturing business you also need to discuss areas such as purchasing, inventory control, production and quality control, and whether you are producing all the components through your company or subcontracting out some production.
F. Management Structure
The purpose of this section is to indicate that you have the management skills to run a business.
· A statement of your business vision (your Super Goal) and mission (your Super Strategy of how you get there – it is connected to your vision and your business values. This describes the product/service, who the target customer is, and the niche or segment focus). Ensure the business name is in both the vision and mission statements.
· Implement a set of guiding principles (such as ethical, sustainable, social responsible, environmental practices) that your business will adhere to.
· Include commentary on how your organization plans to integrate social responsibility and ethics into its operations.
· Short-term (1-year) and medium-term (3-year):
–marketing goals and objectives (e.g. sales)
–financial goals and objectives (e.g. profit)
–organizational goals and objectives (e.g. employee satisfaction)
Make sure they are specific and measurable and realistic to achieve (SMART criteria) and cover all the above areas (such as hiring needs in the future, expanding or changing locations, sales targets, ROI/profit projections, new products/services launched)
3) Control Systems
In this part, describe the control strategies and systems that will be used to monitor your business to ensure that goals and objectives are met (e.g. periodic reviews of goals and objectives, employee accountability and responsibility, computerized accounting record systems for receivables and payables, inventory control and reporting systems, customer contact management software).
· A description of the legal structure of the business (e.g. corporation, partnership (general or limited) or sole proprietorship). Include your partnership or shareholders agreement in the appendix (refer to this agreement in your plan)
· An organizational chart and a short narrative rationale for your organizational structure.
Identify the risks your business may be faced with in the future. What are you attempting to do to avoid these potential problems? How will you deal with them if they arise? How can their impact on your business be minimized?
G. Leadership & Personnel Strategy
1) Leadership Strategy
Your strategy for building working relationships with key professionals, business leaders, organizations and other businesses (for example, complementary businesses or perhaps competitors). If you have a board of directors or business advisory board, list the members in an appendix with a brief description of their position and experience.
· Describe your strategy for motivating your team to achieve business goals (e.g. involving the team in establishing and reviewing business goals and objectives, implementing a system of employee empowerment, implementing a recognition or incentive system). It is also useful to talk about how management is motivated.
This section describes your team and how the team can contribute to your business success.
A) List the owners/partners of your team (including yourself)
· describe the functions they will perform
· detail their strengths (e.g., skills, experience, and qualifications)
· include résumés in the appendix (should be tailored to the present business opportunity)
B) List the employees you will be hiring (how many, whether they are part-time or full-time, what their duties include)
C) Job Descriptions: Include job descriptions for all the positions in the appendix
H. Financial Section
The purpose of the financial section is to demonstrate, with numbers, that your idea as developed in the first seven sections of your plan will translate into a financial benefit. We suggest that you divide this section into five major subsections as described below.
1) Nature of the Business
Prepare a narrative describing all of the business segments (enterprises) in which you operate (manufacturing, retail, service). Include a discussion of the different products and services you offer in each segment. Identify any specific financial characteristics of your proposed business.
2) Financial Performance Indicators
Prepare a narrative summary containing the following information:
· Major assumptions about growth and profitability
· Your break-even level of sales based on profitability (vis-à-vis your income statement; this may or may not be the same as your cash break-even point)
· A statement that indicates that you have enough cash to operate your business for three years.
Using your projected financial statements prepare a table showing the three year trend of the financial ratios that you will use to monitor your financial performance:
Liquidity: – Current ratio (working-capital ratio)
– Quick ratio (acid-test ratio)
Solvency: – Debt (total liabilities)-to-total assets ratio.
Profitability: – Return on Assets
– Return on Equity
Efficiency: – Contribution margin ratio
– Gross margin ratio
If your business is carrying inventory and/or receivables, also include ratios on inventory turnover and receivables turnover.
3) Application and Sources of Funds at Start-up
Include two tables indicating: (a) Application and (b) Sources of funds.
Include also a short statement that summarizes:
(i) General Start-Up costs *
(ii) Leasehold Improvements (organized by business segment) **
(iii) Equipment Costs (organized by business segment) **
(iv) Cash Reserve fund
* Include a short statement that describes the type and value of insurance listed in General Start-up Costs. Remember that these costs may be different for each business segment.
** Include a detailed quote for extensive leasehold improvements and equipment in an appendix. Remember that improvements and equipment requirements may be different for each segment.
4) Projected Financial Statements for three years***
A. Projected Balance Sheet Statements
Prepare projected balance sheets for three years (match up with same time period as income statements).
B. Projected Income Statements
Prepare projected income statements for the first three years. Year one will be a quarterly statement and years 2 and 3 will be annual.
C. Projected Cash Flow
Include a monthly cash flow for the first three years.
D. Capital Budgeting Plan
A projected capital expenditures and disbursements plan for three years that shows the purchase of capital assets and sales of capital assets.
*** Your Balance Sheet must be ‘in balance’ and all financial statements must be coordinated.
5) Notes to Projected Financial Statements
The notes should include the following sections and describe all assumptions related to these sections. (Refer to Notes to Projected Financial Statements template)
1. Significant Accounting Policies
2. Capital Assets – a schedule which shows the following:
Net book value (for each of the three years)
3. Long Term Debt
The terms of the loan (amount, term, interest rate, annual payment
A schedule which shows the opening balance, principle payment, and closing balance for each of the three years
4. Capital Stock (if incorporated), Partner’s Capital (if a partnership), Proprietor’s Capital (if a proprietorship)
5. Revenues – all assumptions as to how the revenues are earned
6. Rent – lease payments
7. Management Salaries – salaries paid to senior management
8. Professional fees – fees for legal and accounting services
9. Dividends (if incorporated), Partner’s Draw (if a partnership), Proprietor’s Draw (if a proprietorship)
Organization & Presentation
– Title Page/Cover Sheet 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
– Table of Contents 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
– Executive Summary 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
– General Organization/References 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
– Spelling/Grammar 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
– Appendix Supporting material 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
Part I: Description of Business and Market
– Product & Service Offering/Pricing 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
– Industry Ov.view/Market Potential 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
– Target Market 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
– Competition 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
– Promotional Strategy 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
– Operations – Location & Equip 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
– Operating cost schedules 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
– Management Structure 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
– Leadership & Personnel 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
Part II: Financial Plan
– Nature of the Business 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
– Financial Performance Indicators 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
– Application and Sources of Funds 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
– Projected Balance Sheets 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
– Projected Income Statements 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
– Projected Cash Flow 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
– Capital Budgeting Plan 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
– Notes to Projected Statements 10 9 8 r
7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
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