Your task for this assignment is to write a business plan for a start-up firm. Your word limit (3000 words approximately + appendices) is less than for most business plans and therefore the following guidelines have been written to provide more specific guidance for your work. Please note that you can find useful information on the various parts of a business plan in many Enterprise and Entrepreneurship books at the library (Barringer and Ireland, 2012 and Stokes and Wilson, 2010) and from many other sources. Please ensure that your business plan is written in a formal and concise style and ensure that the proposals and projections you make are realistic. Please use the following headings (some guidelines have been provided for a suggested length of each section, although your group can decide to deviate from these and long as you stay within the overall word limit).
i) Cover Page / Table of Contents – Please indicate the group members on the cover page followed by the table of contents
ii) Executive Summary (200 words) – this provides an overall summary of the main points of your report; you should complete this towards the end, once you have put together the main body of your work.
iii) Product Description (400 words) –
In this section you need to provide an introduction to your planned product or service. Try to put across the excitement and potential of the business idea. Some questions you should answer are:-
What benefits will your product or service bring? What problem does it solve? Why would somebody buy / use it? What value does it add to the customer?
iv) Company Information/ management team (300 words) – As this is a start-up firm you will obviously not include a detailed company history but you should include a brief explanation of how your firm has come together. This section should be fairly short, provide a concise explanation of the skills of the various team members and how they will divide up the various tasks within the business. V) Environmental Analysis (800 words) – Use either a PESTLE or SWOT analysis to show you understand your intended industry environment. Competitor Analysis – Identify competitor or substitute products or services and outline the advantages that your product has over these competitors. vi) Target Market analysis (500 words) – Within this section you should describe your target market. Try to describe a typical buyer – for example, male or female, age profile, income profile, social / ethnic factors, social class, their ‘typical’ lifestyle and any other relevant information. Include in this section details of any initial market research that you have done. Please refer to any relevant sources as evidence of your research. You need to break the industry down into segments and highlight which segment your firm will participate in. Give some details of what you consider to be the potential size of the market and, in addition, outline if the market is scalable.
vii) Marketing plan (500 words) – You need to describe how your business will market and sell its product. You will need to make clear how your firm will position itself in the market and how it will differentiate itself from competitors. As you will be explaining your product adequately in other sections of your plan, concentrate on your firms approach to price, promotion and distribution. The decisions which you outline here need to correspond with what you describe in other sections and your positioning of the product and points of distribution.
viii) Financial projections (300 words) – For this section you need to make some projections about the financial development of your firm. You need to outline any assumptions that you have made in putting together these projections. It is very important that you are realistic in the projections that you make. In order to do this try to answer the following questions:- Indicate how your business will be funded. How many products / services do you expect to sell? (Try to predict sales over a 3 year period and explain the evidence you are using to support your predictions). Explain how much do you expect to be able to charge for your product or service and how this compares with competitors and substitutes. Explain whether you intend to apply any discounts? Outline what costs will you incur, including fixed and direct costs (itemise these as accurately as you can). For this section you will need to provide and explain your ‘Projected Financial Statements’, (referred to as Pro forma financial statements in the Barringer and Ireland textbook).
A couple of final points of advice. Firstly, make sure that sure that the different sections of your business plan fit together well and that there are no contradictions / inconsistencies in the plan. Please also remember that for this work you are required to reference your sources. This would not be the case in a normal business plan but is a requirement here as, for an assignment, referencing provides evidence of the research you have done. Finally, remember that you need to try and convey to the reader the excitement and potential of your business idea. Hopefully you will find this work both enjoyable and creative – Good luck! 2. The individual Critical Reflection and Team Assessment Feedback A 400-500 word document that will provide: a. A critical review of YOUR performance in the team (e.g. reflecting on what you could have done more, or how you believe you could have put your skills to work in a more effective way). b. Also include a critical reflection on what YOU believe could have been done better, overall, to enhance