Assignment 7: The Business Plan

All assignments should be completed using Business Plan Pro and saved as a .BPDX file or exported to a .PDF file.

Must Have:

Your business plan must include as a minimum the following components, identified here as either text topic or table. Most of these were separate assignments throughout the course, and should now combine into a single business plan document.

  • Summary (could also be called “Executive Summary”). This is a text topic. It should include all of the information detailed in Assignment 1: The Business Opportunity. Business Plan Pro automatically includes the Highlights Chart. You could also use what you did for Assignment 6: Summary Memo and bundle that into the plan. Edit this portion, so it isn’t redundant; you probably used your assignment 1 as a beginning draft for assignment 4.
  • Market Analysis. Text topics and at least one table. Should include all of the information detailed in Assignment 2: Market Analysis. Pictures and pie charts and bar charts are welcome.
  • Strategy. One of more text topics. Ideally you’ve got something along the lines recommended in the reading, strategy as a combination of identity, market, and strategic focus. There’s an outline example here, A View of the Strategy Portion and you can click on it to jump to the Heart of the Plan material available online, which you also have in that Heart of the Plan section of The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan book in the readings. In addition, the Heart of the Plan video included in class 11 videos also covers that same material.
  • Competitive Edge. This is a text topic. It’s also called Secret Sauce. This would have been discussed in class 5, Marketing Strategy. And you can also, read The Secret Sauce on the Web.
  • Startup Plan: This is exactly as in Assignment 3: Startup Plan. That’s at least one text topic and two tables, one for startup costs and another for startup funding. The best way to handle the text topic is to make sure that it includes the most important assumptions and explains how you intend to raise the money required (loans, investors, personal savings, etc.)
  • Sales Forecast. Exactly as in Assignment 4: Sales Forecast. That’s sales and cost of sales estimated for the first 12 months and then added up into year 1, and then a larger more general projection for years 2 and 3 of the plan as well. And it includes a text topic that explains your assumptions, and, ideally, a couple of business charts as well.
  • Projected Profit & Loss. Exactly as in Assignment 5: Projected Profit & Loss. At least one text topic and a table; business charts would also be nice. If it’s obvious how you make money then you don’t need to elaborate, but for some of the more innovative new technology plans, if how you make money isn’t obvious, then please make sure you talk about the business model.

Nice to have:

You’ve got a lot of resources here on this website, including two complete online books, so you can see that there’s potentially a lot to add. Use outlines recommended in the readings, or some other order. Here are some specific suggestions, in more-or-less order of desirability — but not the order they appear in the plan:

  • Cash flow. That requires some interaction between the profit and loss, which you already have, and the balance sheet, which you don’t necessarily have. With Business Plan Pro, it’s almost automatic. There’s a lot of detail available in the appropriate sections of The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan book and Hurdle: The Book on Business Planning ebook found within the software resources.
  • Business offering (describing your product or service). This goes well after the summary and before the market analysis.
  • Company description: ownership, facilities, and so on. Goes well right after the summary, before the business offering section.
  • Business model (as noted in the Projected Profit & Loss point above, only if it isn’t obvious).
  • Financial plan: description of funding sources, return on investment for investors, exit strategy.

Remember that business planning requires a lot of flexibility. Every business plan is unique to the business and its specific situation.