02 May Business Plan Overview
To successfully complete the Individual Project Plan assignment later in this course, you will need to understand what a project plan is, how it functions, how to structure a project to achieve maximum efficiency and success.. Considering those goals, this assignment will allow you to interact with explanatory media and software-specific tutorials to gain foundational information about the working and structure of a project and to develop rudimentary skill in using project management software.
Use the media tool “Business Planning,” provided in the Student Success Center via the topic Resources, to complete the assignment.
Select the “Business Plan Videos” button to view the “Introduction Video” and the Business Plan Video: “Elements Video.”
Read the section titled “Business Plan Overview” and then complete the “Business Plan Element Self-Assessment.”
Once you have completed the self-assessment,” select “Microsoft Project or Merlin” and click the appropriate link to learn more about Microsoft Project if you are operating on a PC or Merlin if you are operating on a Mac. You will need to develop basic proficiency in these applications to successfully complete the Individual Project Plan in Topic 7.
Upon completion of your navigation through the components of the “Business Planning” page, write a brief 250-word response in which you summarize the Business Plan Overview. Include in your response an explanation of how the Microsoft Project or Merlin tutorials might help you to be successful creating your Individual Project Plan later in this course.
APA style is not required, but solid academic writing is expected.
This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.
Business Plan Overview – Rubric
1.Business Plan Overview Summary… A summary of the Business Plan Overview is provided with appropriate details and support.
2. Microsoft Project and Merlin Tutorials… An explanation of how the Microsoft Project or Merlin tutorials will be helpful in creating the Individual Project Plan is provided with appropriate details and support.
3.Thesis Development and Purpose… Thesis is comprehensive and contains the essence of the paper. Thesis statement makes the purpose of the paper clear.
4.Argument Logic and Construction… Clear and convincing argument that presents a persuasive claim in a distinctive and compelling manner. All sources are authoritative.
5. Mechanics of Writing (includes spelling, punctuation, grammar, language use) … Some mechanical errors or typos are present, but they are not overly distracting to the reader. Correct and varied sentence structure and audience-appropriate language are employed.
6.Paper Format (Use of appropriate style for the major and assignment).. All format elements are correct.
7.Documentation of Sources… Sources are completely and correctly documented, as appropriate to assignment and style, and format is free of error.
Business Plan Videos
Business Plan Overview
Business/Planning – Evaluation and Development
Business Plan Overview
A business plan is a formal document stating specific business goals, the reasons why these goals are achievable, and a detailed guide of the pathway to success. A thorough business plan provides a comprehensive strategy and a specific timeline for the implementation and operations of a company or nonprofit organization. A typical business plan model can also be adapted when a company plans a large project. It is an effective method of communicating a company’s vision, mission, and goals to the stakeholders that will help launch and grow the business. These stakeholders include suppliers, partners, customers, patients, employees and board members. A well-developed business plan also enables companies to gain a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges in their market and industry. Further, a skillfully crafted business plan that contains the elements described below will allow a company to develop strategies that chart the route to success.
There are many different business plan models. It is not a “one-size-fits-all” proposition. Business plans need to be tailored to the nature of the business or project. The specific needs of a particular business or project will determine which plan is best. While there are many different models, there are many similarities between business plans. The wording may vary, but several components are common to virtually all of them; you will soon become familiar with these similarities.
Here are the sections of a typical business plan with seven sections:
• Executive Summary
• Company Description
• Product or Service
• Market Analysis Components
• Strategy and Implementation
• Management Team
• Financial Analysis
Here are the sections of another business plan with 12 sections:
• Executive Summary
• Vision and Mission Statement
• Business Industry and Profile
• Business Strategy
• Company Products and Services
• Marketing Strategy
• Competitor Analysis
• Financial Forecasts
• Loan or Investment Proposal
• Location and Layout
• Description of Management Team
• Plan of Operation
Descriptions of Typical Business Plan Elements:
The executive summary is perhaps the most important segment of any business plan. It is not an abstract of the business plan. Rather, it is an independent document that is engaging, clear, and logical. It must provide the audience with the key elements of the business, the reasons for approval, and a rationale for the project to be implemented. It needs to include sufficient detail for someone to decide if they want to read further.
Think of it like an elevator speech: You get on the elevator with someone you think might invest in your company and you only have until you reach the 10th floor to convince them to talk to you further. The executive summary is that 5 minutes you need to pique someone’s interest enough to read the entire business plan and give it a chance. Because this section is so important, you should write it last; it is a summary of your entire plan.
An executive summary is usually two pages in length, briefly describing your organization and the product or service you intend to provide. It should be written in a positive manner with the intent of convincing your readers why your service or product is needed. Many executive summaries will contain the company’s mission and vision, along with marketing and financial information. The management team and implementation strategy are often included as well. Like the business plan itself, the content of the executive summary is dependent on the nature of the product or service the company provides. Choose a format that works best for you.
Mission and Vision Statements
As you are certain to discover in your research, virtually all business plans contain mission and vision statements. An organization’s mission is the purpose for the organization’s existence. It is a succinct and cogent explanation of precisely what the organization does. It is the origin of the organization’s strategic decisions. An organization’s vision is a critical, empowering concept. It defines what business the organization is in and paints with a broad and sweeping stroke the overall direction of the organization.
Many vision statements are contained in a single sentence. Here are the vision and mission statements of Grand Canyon University (GCU):
• Vision: “Grand Canyon University is the premier Christian University educating people to lead and serve” (GCU, 2020, p. 15).
• Mission: “Grand Canyon University prepares learners to become global citizens, critical thinkers, effective communicators, and responsible leaders by providing an academically challenging, values-based curriculum from the context of our Christian heritage” (GCU, 2020, p. 15).
Business and Industry Profile
Understanding the industry and market in which you wish to compete is essential. Is your venture feasible? Do you have a potential competitive advantage that can be exploited? To develop a strategic plan on growing your business, you need to identify the market, customers, competitors, and strategic opportunities. Essentially, you need this information to be able to identify the competitive advantage you can offer that will allow you to enter this market and be successful (Scarborough & Cornwall, 2019).
One highly effective method of evaluating your industry and market is by performing a SWOT Analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
Strengths and Weaknesses are internal to your organization.
Strengths are those positive factors that an organization can draw on to work toward its mission, goals, and objectives (Scarborough & Cornwall, 2019). These factors can include:
• Product: Your product and features of your product that can provide a strategic advantage.
• Service: How can you manage your organization and sell your product in a way that provides you with a competitive advantage? What extra can you provide?
• Pricing: How will you market your product and strategically place it for competitive advantage?
• Resources: Your people and the skills, experience, and education they bring to the venture; the capital you have available to invest and innovate.
Weaknesses are negative factors that can prevent or inhibit a company from reaching its goals. These are the same factors examined under strengths, but weaknesses are those aspects that decrease your ability to gain a competitive advantage. For example, your product could be of lower quality than your competitors’ because you do not have adequate capital and human resources to produce that level of quality.
Opportunities and Threats are external to your organization.
• What opportunities and options exist that you can take advantage of and exploit?
• What threats or potential pitfalls are facing your company?
To perform a thorough SWOT analysis, you need to have information about yourself, your company, the industry, the market, and the economy. Start with your economic sector, which is the broad category of service: manufacturing, retail, or distribution. Next, identify the specific industry or industries. Within the industry, consider market size, growth rate, potential growth trends, stage of maturity of the industry, the effect of economic conditions on the industry, financial characteristics, technological advances on the horizon, and regulations or certifications related to the industry (Martin, 2019).
Description of Service
How do you plan to set yourself apart from your competition and develop a successful venture? Describe your product or service. Outline specifically what you are going to do, sell, or provide. Are there any patents, trademarks, or copyrights? How does your product or service compare to those of your competitors? What are the key features of your product or service that will provide a benefit to your customers? If it is a product, where will you buy it or how will you produce it? Products or services that are technical or unusual will need to be explained in detail. Drawings or schematics are appropriate if they enhance the picture you want to create of your product (Martin, 2019). However, make sure you describe your product with sufficient detail to entice investors, but do it without giving away proprietary or sensitive information that would reduce your competitive advantage. This is your chance to clearly explain the product or service to be provided. In its simplest form, this section will explain to the reader what you plan on doing. It will contain detailed descriptions of products and or services your company or organization will provide. This section explains in detail where you are now, where you want to go, and how you want to get there. It is essentially your strategic plan for success.
Regardless of the heading names in a business plan, you will always find some type of marketing information. Make sure you define your customers/stakeholders in detail. Who are your customers? Where do they live, what do they buy or need, and how many potential customers are there for your product or service? You should include details from the following categories: demographics, geographic description, lifestyle and business style description, psychographic characteristics (e.g. technologically adept, conservative, socially conscious, etc.), purchasing patterns, and their view on the importance of quality, price, and convenience (Martin, 2019).
After you have identified your customers, you need to determine how you will reach them. What is the best form of advertising to reach the kind of customers you have described? What is the message you will deliver through your advertising? How much will you spend? Think about using market research in your plan.
How will you sell your product or service, and who will sell it? This can be a particularly difficult question when discussing health care services, as you will need to think about marketing/advertising with a different mindset. Your sales force will be the people representing you to your customers. What kind of sales force will you have and what personal characteristics do you want them to have? How will you train them and compensate them?
The following list is typical of the elements of a market analysis:
• Market Trends, Size, and Growth Rate
• Target Market
• Industry Analysis
• Market Profitability
• Sum of the Revenues of Participants.
• Advertizing and Promotional Plans
Every business plan contains some type of financial data. The exact nature of this data is dependent on the nature of the product or service. You will need to show financial forecasts for several years to demonstrate the potential success of your venture. These estimates need to be realistic and show a well-designed operational plan that takes into account all the expenses related to purchasing or producing your product and selling your product or service.
The business plan should include pro forma financial statements, including an income statement, cash projection schedule, and balance sheet. Pro forma means the statements may include the use of estimates and will only include recurring items (Kimmel, Weygandt, & Kieso, 2016). The figures on your financial forecasts will represent decisions you have made about factors such as product, price, location, customers, and strategy. It is important to be realistic about potential sales and earnings. Be conservative and consistent; choose an appropriate accounting method for your industry and form of business (Martin, 2019).
The figures on your financial forecasts will represent decisions you have made about factors such as product, price, location, customers, and strategy. It is important to be realistic about potential sales and earnings. Be conservative and consistent; choose an appropriate accounting method for your industry and form of business (Abrams, 2003).
Many business plan financial sections will include the following information:
• Income statement (also called a profit and loss statement)
• Current funding
• Net present value (NPV)
• Balance sheet
• Profit and loss projection
• Key performance indicators
• Break-even analysis
• Balance-sheet forecast
• Risk analysis
• Business ratio analysis: profitability ratios, return on sales, return on investment, and liquidity ratios
Your business plan needs to spell out how you intend to measure the performance of your program, when you will measure, how you will measure, what tools you will use to report, and the frequency of reporting.
A well-written business plan must include some type of measurement data. How will you measure success? There are many ways to measure the effectiveness of any program, and you will need to decide which metrics make the most sense. Generally, there are two types of metrics: descriptive and predictive. Descriptive metrics tend to be ones that are general and give a good overview of a program’s performance. Predictive metrics are narrower and give an indication of how a descriptive metric will turn out.
There are many tools that you can use to report your performance. In health care, the two most common methods are charts and balanced scorecards. The term chart is often interchanged with graph. The two most common charts are column charts and line charts. Column charts have vertical bars while bar charts are horizontal. In either case, they are most useful for comparing data that are for a single point of time or for metrics where you are expressing the data as a percent of the whole.
A second tool for reporting is a balanced scorecard. As the name implies, a balanced scorecard shows metrics reflective of more than one category. Balanced scorecards typically measure quality, service, employee satisfaction, and financial data. By looking at more than one area, you can make your decisions regarding the performance of a program from more than one viewpoint.
Because these viewpoints are often conflicting, a balanced scorecard provide a more complete look at your program. Balanced scorecards are especially valuable in health care, as decisions often need to be made on more than just financial performance and quality.
Whatever metric you choose, it needs to be easily understood. The data need to be comprehensible, meaningful, and relevant. Careful consideration needs to be given to the amount of detail presented: Provide just enough information for your reader to understand the significance of the data. Sometimes “less is more.”
Plan of Operation
The operational plan deals specifically with the internal operations and equipment necessary to produce a product or provide a service. It needs to answer several questions: Where will your business be located? What type of building is needed? How big does it need to be? What about office and storage space?
The operational plan also deals with specific equipment issues. This section describes the types and prices of the equipment necessary for your business to be successful. Will you purchase or lease? Where will you obtain and store needed materials? Outline your key suppliers, the purchasing process, and any other relevant supply concerns.
In addition to describing your equipment needs, the operational plan also outlines the human element. How many employees are needed? Are they full-time or part-time employees? Are they salaried or hourly? How much will they earn? What will their work hours be? How will you recruit the type of people you need? This section deals with roles, job descriptions, management structure, and training issues. As with the other elements of the business plan, the exact nature of the business will dictate what information is needed and relevant.
Grand Canyon University. (2020). Grand Canyon University: University policy handbook 2020-2021. https://www.gcu.edu/sites/default/files/media/documents/academics/handbook/2020-21/070820-University-Policy-Handbook.pdf
Kimmel, P. D., Weygandt, J. J., & Kieso, D. E. (2016). Accounting: Tools for business decision-making (6th ed.). John Wiley & Sons.
Martin, B. C. (2019). Strategic planning in healthcare: An introduction for health professionals. Springer Publishing.
Scarborough, N. M., & Cornwall, J. R. (2019). Essentials of entrepreneurship and small business management (9th ed.). Pearson.
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