Guidelines for Business Plan Project
Overview: For this assignment, you will create a business plan for a fictitious business that you are promoting (i.e. for funding). This assignment must include certain required elements (see below, under “Assignment”).
To give you experience writing a long, formal business plan with a clear purpose in mind (again, such as funding). Further, it will help you hone your professional writing skills.
Based on your weekly textbook readings, as well as supplemental materials, you will create a business plan. This plan should be 2,000 to 2,500 words in length. Also, you should include at least five outside research sources to help you “argue” your position about your plan (i.e. that this is a solid business with great odds of success).
Your business plan must include as a minimum the following components, identified below:
- Summary (could also be called “Executive Summary”). Create a brief summary for your plan. Appears first, but you can write it last. This is a very important part of your plan and should include details about marketing, finance and operations.
- Introduction and Mission Statement. Example of a Mission Statement: “Full Service Hair Salon. — We will offer a variety of hair care and skin care services that our customer will find superior to the competition. Our business will have a family friendly atmosphere that will meet the needs for everyone in the home. Our customers are our number one priority. The salon experience will include competitive prices, an excellent staff and a wide variety of service offerings for our target customer to choose from. Every customer will be completely satisfied or she/he will be entitled to a full refund.”
- Industry Analysis. This will be a research-based analysis of your industry, based on the geographical location you plan to base your business. This will indicate whether your business will be able to find a feasible market in your area.
- Organization. This portion of your plan will indicate how you will organize your business, as well as any required licensing and insurance and their subsequent start-up costs. Again, outside research will be important for this section.
- Management/Human Resources. This section gives a general overview of your management structure as well as any benefits you will be able to extend to your employees. You will also want to consider salaries for your employees in order to determine initial payroll costs.
- Competitive Analysis. As a new business owner, you must analyze your competition.
a. Direct competitors: Businesses selling similar products and services. (McDonald’s vs. Burger King)
b. Indirect competitors: Businesses selling different products while fighting for a customer’s disposable income (bowling alley vs. movie theatre); state why/how you will do a better job than your competitors.
- Marketing. Using the secondary data collected, help the reader to understand exactly whom your target customer is and why this customer would want to purchase your product/service. You may want to explore how you plan to reach potential customers and the cost of advertising.
- References page. Please include your outside sources, formatted according to APA guidelines. (Not included as part of your word count)
With every section of this assignment, think about your “audience” (i.e. someone who might consider funding your business or agree to become a partner) and tailor your information to that audience. As with the resume and cover letter, it is CRUCIAL to have PERFECT grammar and spelling. SIGNIFICANT POINTS WILL BE DEDUCTED FOR THESE ERRORS, NO MATTER HOW MINOR!
Also, this is a very formal document, so you will want to avoid contractions, slang, abbreviations, or other elements of informal writing. Please consult the textbook for more information on tone and word choice.
Format: Use APA style for this project. You will want to include a properly formatted cover page as well as a separate page for references used. Headings and subheadings are appropriate; however, make sure be consistent with the font, margins, etc.
Power Point Presentation: This part of the assignment requires you to “nutshell” your information and organize it in a visually appealing way. You may want to consider this portion of the assignment as something you might do if you were presenting your business to a group of people. As with the written project, you will want to keep the purpose in mind that you are convincing your audience of the viability of your business (I think keeping investors in mind is a good way to visualize it-you want them to know that you will make them money).
The requirements are to include a minimum of 10 slides (one for each of the required components above, plus a title slide and a conclusion). Use a combination of text and visuals, and keep the presentation professional and clean. Also, you will need to include notes for each slide that would replicate what you would “say” to your audience; essentially, you will be elaborating on the basic information on the slides (don’t put huge paragraphs of text on your slides). Aim for “speaking” for at least five to ten minutes. If you prefer to include audio instead of text, that is fine. However, if I am unable to “hear” the audio due to computer issues (I have a Mac), then you will have to submit the notes.
This part of the project is due before your final draft; it should be a way to help you finalize your ideas before submitting that last component.