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 1 (140 points, Due Week 3)
This is a capstone business plan so please put in strong substance, avoid doing the just the minimum but keep it focused. Each of the SECTIONs B-N should be about 500 words. If it is much less the student is not fully addressing this area. If it significantly exceeds 500 words, then the writing should be more focused and succinct. Address each section fully. Make sure you use charts, graphs, and other aids to make your plan clear and compelling. Include support documentation in the Appendix to keep your writing to about 500 words per section. You will put your support documents here that provide greater detail and backup for the main body of your plan. You will have more detailed financials, information and raw data about your primary research and any other document that supports your business plan.
The resource material supplied in the course is your very best guide to a quality plan. As seniors nearing graduation, you are expected to use this material as a guide and to conduct self-evaluations of your work against these standards. Address and follow the Course Project Parts 1, 2 and 3. The key quality resources available to you are:
Written drafts (Course Project Parts 1 & 2) and feedback are an important part of this course. There is formal feedback provided in the grade book for Course Projects Part 1 and 2 and an opportunity to improve these. The formal feedback is done in a very structured manner. It is important that you understand and follow the course procedures. Experience has shown the need for some rules on how we conduct this draft and feedback. Each draft must be submitted in a timely manner. This gives you the time you need to fine tune things later in the course. If a part is turned in too late, the opportunity to make a correction and resubmit will be withdrawn. The Course Project Parts 1 and 2 may very well be changed and updated as you learn more for the final Course Project Part 3 submission, but you must still submit timely, competent draft papers.
The Course Project Part 1 assignment is the integration of all the sections including the Introduction and Sections A through D. Part 1 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.
Section A: Business Concept: (30 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 (40 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 (30 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 (40 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.
Here are templates for Course Project Parts 1. Please use these for your project.
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