Useful tips on Business plan Assignment
Enterprise Project UMCD9Q-30-3
Module Handbook- 2019/20
Module Leader: Dr Akin Ojolo
VC Module Leader: Aishath Minha Asif
Module code: UMCD9Q-30-3
Proposal form, to be submitted in-class in Week 14 – W/C 21/10/19
A1: Business plan, submission by 14.00 on 25/3/20
A2: Individual poster presentations on Saturday 16/4/20
Module Leader: Aishath Minha Asif / email@example.com
The intention of the module team is for you to walk away from the module with the confidence and ability to produce a convincing, well argued, professional-quality business plan.
You will be supported by lectures, workshops, and individual supervision through this process and will be encouraged to think both creatively and critically; to help you to develop a credible and rigorously thought through business plan.
This document, the Enterprise Project Module Handbook, explains the content of the module, the learning route, and the assessment procedure. The module has an accompanying textbooks – New Venture Creation – A framework for Entrepreneurial Start-Ups, Second Ed. by Paul Burns and Barringer and Duane Ireland – Entrepreneurship: Successfully Launching New Ventures which you will be required to obtain. Lecture notes will be made available via Blackboard.
The significance of value
The focus on the taught element of this module is around the notion of value. There are three related themes running through the module, and all must be given suitable consideration within a business plan. These are understanding value, delivering value and appropriating value. When we talk of value here we are referring to the value that the (proposed) business creates for its customers. To write a good business plan it is critical to have clarity about the value that you propose to create for your customers (understanding value), how you are going to create that value (delivering value) and how you’re going to ensure a long term future for the business at the same time as you draw an income from it (appropriating value). These three themes could be likened to the three legs of a three-legged stool; without any one of them the stool falls over; as will also happen if the legs are out of balance. Similarly with a business plan; consequently suitable consideration must be given to each, we will look at these further in the taught element.
The significance of value
The learner will, on successful completion of the module, be able to:
- Creatively synthesise multiple sources of data to form the germ of a business idea (A)
- Critically evaluate ideas for new ventures and new markets, of either a commercial or a social nature (A)
- Analyse, evaluate and synthesise primary and/or secondary data to support ideas for a business plan (A)
- Understand and apply the skills necessary to produce a comprehensive and detailed business plan (A)
- Demonstrate the presentation skills to persuasively argue the relative merits of a business plan (A)
In addition the educational experience may explore, develop, and practise but not formally discretely assess the following
- Developing self-management skills
- Resource identification and management skills
The set textbooks are excellent texts and are an ESSENTIAL purchase:
Paul Burns, 2018. New Venture Creation- A Framework for Entrepreneurial Start-Ups Second Ed.
Barringer, B. R., and Duane Ireland, R., 2016. Entrepreneurship: Successfully Launching New Ventures Global Edition, 5th ed., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.
Another excellent text is:
Mullins, J. W. 2013. The New Business Road Test: What Entrepreneurs and Executives Should Do Before Writing a Business Plan 4th ed. London: FT/Prentice Hall.
This is also available as an e-book via the library catalogue.
Additional reading resources
There are a considerable number of New Venture Creation / Business Start-Up texts available; which you might find useful for background reading, these include:
Allen, K. R. 2012. Launching New Ventures: An Entrepreneurial Approach, 6th ed., Mason Oh. USA: South Western, Cengage.
Osterwalder, A., and Pigneur, Y., 2010. Business Model Generation: A Handbook
for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley.
(This is particularly good if you’re considering novel business models and is also available as an ebook from the library)
Stutely, R. 2002. The Definitive Business Plan, Harlow: FT Prentice Hall.
Timmons, J. A. & Spinelli, S. 2012. New Venture Creation: Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century, 9th ed. New York : McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
In addition a number of the more general Entrepreneurship & Small Business texts include sections relevant to new venture creation / business start-up / business planning, e.g.
Burns, Paul, 2010. Entrepreneurship and Small Business (3rd edn). Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Kirby, David A., 2003. Entrepreneurship. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill.
Wickham, Philip A., 2006. Strategic Entrepreneurship (4th edn). Harlow: Prentice Hall.
Assessment is by one component, divided into two elements:
Element A1: Business plan (90% weighting, 8000 words)
This can be based on either of the following possible scenarios: a) a comprehensive and detailed business plan for a proposed new business. Or b) a comprehensive and detailed business plan for an existing business in which you are substantially involved: either as a member of a family run business, or as the founder of a business, or a business in which you have a significant ownership stake. In this instance you will be expected to focus your business plan around a specific significant growth opportunity for the business concerned; merely describing an existing business in which you are involved is likely to achieve a very low mark. NB: Businesses operated under a franchise arrangement are NOT suitable and should not be used.
It is expected that the business plan will cover, but is not necessarily limited to, the following areas:
- Executive Summary
- The Business
- The opportunity, including description of the product or service, and the value that the proposed business creates for its customers.
- Description of the business, including explanation of the proposed business model.
- Its competitive advantage
- Industry analysis, including competitor analysis and likely competitor actions.
- Market analysis, including discussion of the target market, estimate of market size and predicted sales, together with a discussion of key assumptions made.
- Marketing strategy, including consideration of the marketing mix: particularly plans for promotion and distribution and pricing strategy.
- Operations plan, including the nature and location of the production/service process; staffing; and operations and service management issues, e.g. capacity, IP issues, partnership, business control and scalability.
- Costings, including discussion/calculation of fixed/variable costs and unit costings, together with a discussion of key assumptions made. Referencing / audit trail should be provided.
- Financial plan; a narrative including a discussion of key assumptions made, to include:
- Capital requirements, and an explanation of sources of finance (see above).
- Payback and exit strategy (if external finance is used)
- Cash flow forecast (with accompanying narrative) drawing on market analysis and costings sections above.
- Break even analysis
- Income statement and projections
- Critical risk factors, including legal issues; intellectual property issues; and ethical issues – if any.
(Adapted from Barringer and Duane Ireland 2008), also see Paul Burns – New Venture Creation)
Generic requirements: All business plans MUST also meet all of the following generic requirements:
- i) Economic sustainability: The essence of the Enterprise Project is that we want you to write a business plan for an economically sustainable enterprise. This could be a conventional for-profit enterprise that creates economic value which is then appropriated by the founder (and others). Alternatively it could be a social enterprise where economic value is created but where the aims of the business are focussed more around creating social value. However, even in the latter case, the business would be expected to be sustainable in economic terms.
- ii) Income generation: we expect the proposed business to generate enough cash for you to live on.
iii) Legality / reputational risk: Business plans should not be based on or around any activity, product or service which is illegal in the local jurisdiction, or which is illegal in the UK, or which could bring the University into disrepute.
NB: We will expect you to use primary AND secondary data as appropriate as supporting evidence to justify or support ANY claims that you make. ALL evidence should be referenced to provide a supporting audit trail.
Full instructions for this assessment including formatting requirements and submission details will be posted on Blackboard.
Element A2: Individual poster presentation (10% weighting)
This is an individual poster presentation, based on your business plan, and timetabled in the May exam period. This will be part of an Enterprise Fair, open to the public, on the Frenchay campus. The dress code for this is ‘professional’.
You will be expected to make an elevator pitch based on your poster presentation and to answer questions about the poster presentation. We are not interested in your ability to use PowerPoint or other software. Hence, you are not permitted to use a PC / laptop or any other electronic device.
Full instructions for this assessment including the size requirements for the posters, attendance requirements, and detailed assessment criteria will be posted on Blackboard.
Data collection issues
- i) Research ethics: Please note that all data collection needs to confirm with the University code of research ethics, available from http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/research/researchethics
Your project needs to be approved BEFORE you begin data collection.
You will need to provide your supervisor with information about your Enterprise Project, by completing the Enterprise Project Ethics Assessment Form (see appendices, and also available in electronic form on Blackboard). Your supervisor will then assess whether your project is ‘low risk’ or not. If the project raises no significant ethical issues and is considered ‘low risk’ your supervisor can approve it.
For any project which is not deemed to be low risk, the project design should be amended to remove all high risk elements, and the Enterprise Project Ethics Assessment Form subsequently resubmitted to your supervisor for approval as full ethics application to a Faculty Research Ethics Committee (FREC) is not appropriate for undergraduate projects.
Please note that a failure to obtain ethics approval may result in your project not being eligible for marking as it is against university policy to conduct primary research involving human participants without ethics approval.
If you’re at all unsure about this ask your supervisor however, a few basic rules of thumb to reduce the likelihood of needing to redesign your project are:
- Do not collect data from children or minors (under 18 years of age)
- Do not collect data from anyone else who may not be in a position to give their consent
- Do not collect data from, about, or in the NHS or the UK health and social care sector
- ii) Personal safety: Please consider your personal safety at all times when you’re collecting data:
- Let somebody know where you’re going
- Meet people in public places
- Speak to your supervisor
iii) Data Protection: Inclusion of Privacy Notices when collecting personal data – Openness and transparency (as well as security of personal information) is fundamental in complying with the Data Protection Act. A Data Protection Privacy Notice must be included on all online forms/surveys/questionnaires, and at the end of paper documents, when collecting personal data even if the personal information is anonymous.
You should include a confidentiality statement on the page following the title page of your dissertation. Three levels apply and we ask that you include ONE of the confidentiality statements below, as appropriate:
Harvard style referencing is required for assignments in this module.
Guidelines on citations and references:
In the course of your studies you will be expected to acknowledge books, journal articles, web sites etc., used in the preparation of assignments, projects, essays, and dissertations by producing a list of references and/or a bibliography with each one. The reference list gives details of sources you have referred to (cited) within your text; the bibliography lists sources you have used but not referred to directly.
References (citations) within the body of an essay should be linked to the reference list using the Harvard system of referral. This requires the authors’ surname and the year of publication to be inserted at every point in the text where reference is made to a particular document.
There are a number of reasons why you should provide references:
- to demonstrate that you have considered other people’s opinions and read around your subject;
- to acknowledge other people’s work and/or ideas – and thus avoid accusations of plagiarism (plagiarism: is the act of presenting the ideas or discoveries of another as one’s own);
- to provide evidence for a statement;
- to illustrate a point or offer support for an argument/idea you want to make;
- to enable readers of your work to find the source material, e.g. for a particular methodology you have used; and
- to direct readers to further information sources.
When preparing reports, essays, etc. for assignments at UWE, if you wish to refer to something you have read you MUST give a reference for this material.
There are a number of different referencing systems in use. Each one has been developed to suit the particular needs of specific users.
One system used commonly is the ‘Harvard system’. This is the referencing system used within this Faculty.
There are often differences in how this system is implemented as there is no definitive guidance on how Harvard should be applied. However, UWE Library Services have undertaken an extensive review and provide UWE-approved guidance on what is expected by all UWE Faculties that use the Harvard style.
For details of how to reference according to the UWE-approved Harvard referencing style, please visit the Referencing section of the UWE Library website http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/students/studysupport/studyskills/referencing/uwebristolharvard.aspx
You will find advice on how to list references within the body of the text, as well as how to present the reference list.
Plagiarism, collusion and non-compliance with assessment regulations are offences under University regulations and where suspected, will be investigated under formal procedures.
Appropriate citation of source documents is essential when presenting written work and it is crucial that you cite all sources, including books, journals and websites that you used whilst researching your work.
For further information see: http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/students/academicadvice/assessments/assessmentoffences.aspx
|Executive summary||– Brief summary of the elements of the plan NOT an introduction|
|Business Idea||– The opportunity the business is seeking to exploit, which may be framed in terms of the specific value that you propose to create.|
– What’s special about the proposition and why it’s going to work?
– What is the trend that is being explored in the industry that is leading to the business positioning in the industry
– the macro factors affecting the business environment
– Explanation of the proposed business model.
– Its competitive advantage
|Industry analysis |
|– this is about sellers – other people providing similar or related services or products|
– analysis of competition and competitive dynamics within the industry- (evidence of usage of relevant academic tools)
– competitors’ analysis and likely competitors’ actions
– competitive strategy – informed by literature and academic tools
– evidence of appropriate data collection, analysis and usage.
|Market analysis||– What is the market for this business, its size and scope, and predicted sales, together with a discussion of key assumptions made|
– explanation of customer segment that the business will serve – quantitative information is key here to inform sales forecast
– Demonstration of evidence of demand for your idea? – link to industry trend
– Use of primary and secondary data is key here.
– May include marketing plan ( use of academic tools)
– Marketing strategy, including consideration of the marketing mix: particularly plans for promotion and distribution and pricing strategy.
|Operation plan||– this section should explain the business model -how to deliver value created to customers|
– Explanation of critical resources required to take the idea off the ground
– Resources to consider with costs to start the business – all need to be itemised and discussed.
– Operations plan, including the nature and location of the production/service process; staffing; and operations and service management issues, e.g. capacity, IP issues, partnership, business control and scalability.
|Finance||– how the idea needs to be funded and managed|
– revenue forecast needs to be informed by sales forecast from market analysis, and factors considered in making forecast assumptions needs to be well explained – needs to be informed by industry, market analysis and primary and secondary information
– break even and cash flow analysis need to be clearly presented and in-line with forecast and sales assumptions
– simple LP statement to support (Balance sheet not reqd.)
|Conclusions||– any risks to the business idea must be discussed – including legal issues; intellectual property issues; and ethical issues – if any|
– What conclusions do they draw at this stage? – may include exit strategy
|Referencing||– Harvard referencing|
Strengths and weaknesses of the Business Plan
As an aid to the overall ‘feel’ of the dissertation, you may like to use the following in order to note the key points that should be covered, and according to the following scale:
A full, coherent and well-rounded submission showing rigor, clarity and insights leading to elements of originality that meets all the learning outcomes
Outstanding evidence of primary and secondary research methodologies and use of data.
Outstanding demonstration of ability to conduct research into a new business start – up or growth of an existing one through research, data collection, analysis, synthesis and produce robust conclusions or solutions
A well structured, relevant piece of work based on an understanding of virtually all the important aspects of a business plan with good reasoning and insight expressed throughout that is supported with strong evidence of primary and secondary research evidence and use of data.
Excellent demonstration of ability to conduct research into business start – up or growth of an existing one through research, data collection, analysis, synthesis and produce robust conclusions or solutions
A submission that is well focused on the task, showing a good grasp of the business idea and based on most of the important aspects of a business plan. The use of primary and secondary evidence and use of data is well integrated into the Business Plan.
Good demonstration of ability to conduct research on a new business start- up or growth of an existing one, data collection, analysis, synthesis and produce reasoned outcomes.
A submission which demonstrates achievement against all learning outcomes but with some limitations. Some evidence of use of primary and secondary data.
Reasonable demonstration of ability to conduct research into a new business start- up or growth of an existing one through research, data collection, analysis, synthesis and produce satisfactory outcomes.
Some of the relevant materials are identified and there is some indication of an appreciation of the subject matter but does not demonstrate that all learning outcomes have been met. Use of primary and secondary data is weak so is the ability to conduct research into a new business start- up or growth of an existing one through research, data collection, analysis, synthesis to produce satisfactory outcomes.
Contains significant flaws, only a few of the learning outcomes for the module have been demonstrated
NB: A modified version of these criteria will be used to assess element A2, the poster presentations, this will be available on Blackboard.
Marking second marking and moderation are carried out according to University Assessment Policy.
Study skills advice and support
If it is appropriate for you, Disability Services can provide advice on:
- arranging dyslexia and other support needs
- availability of special equipment for disabled students
- special needs of disabled students in classroom and exam situations
Enterprise Project Ethics Assessment Form: To be completed and emailed to your supervisor for approval. Students should include a signed copy of this in the appendices of their business plan. An electronic copy of this form is available on Blackboard
|Name of student (applicant):|
|Student’s email address:|
|Faculty and Department:|
|Name of supervisor:|
|Supervisor’s email address:|
|Supervisor’s telephone number:|
Your first question is: “is my research ‘high risk’?” Please answer these questions:
|Does your research involve….?||Yes/No|
|Other vulnerable groups, including those who lack mental capacity|
|Sensitive topics, e.g. sexual behaviour, experience of violence|
|Human tissue, such as body parts|
|Administrative data which is secured or not publicly available|
|Deception of the participants (e.g. Not saying what the research is really about)|
|Accessing sensitive information (e.g. personal or confidential data)|
|Potential harm or stress to participants and/or yourself|
|Methods which place physical or mental strain on participants|
|Potentially sharing data beyond the scope of consent given|
If the project raises no significant ethical issues and is considered ‘low risk’ your supervisor can approve it.
If you have answered ‘yes’ to ANY of the above, your research may be ‘high risk’. You must discuss this with your supervisor.
For any project which is not deemed to be low risk, the project design should be amended to remove all high risk elements, and the Enterprise Project Ethics Assessment Form subsequently resubmitted to your supervisor for approval.
If your research is not classed as ‘high risk’ you still should ensure that you have considered ethical issues, been granted ethical approval by your supervisor, and conduct your research appropriately.
|1.||Will you inform participants about the nature and purpose of the research and how data will be used?|
|2.||Will participants be clearly asked to give consent to take part in the research?|
|3.||Can participants withdraw themselves and their data from the research project at any time if they choose? Are they told this?|
|4.||Are measures in place to provide confidentiality for participants?|
|5.||Have you ensured secure management of data, (e.g. ideally stored only on UWE computers with passwords)?|
|6.||Is it clear to participants for how long their data will be kept, and that it will be destroyed after that time?|
If you have answered ‘no’ to any of these questions please work with your supervisor to amend your research design.
|Signature of applicant||Date|
|Signature of supervisor||Date|
This should be taken to supervisory meetings where it should be signed off by both student and supervisor at the end of the meeting.
|Supervisory meeting no.||Student: Sign / date||Supervisor: Sign / date|
Please note that it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the supervisory log is completed at the end of each meeting and attached to the assessment submission: we suggest that you scan your supervisory log and include it in your appendices.
Department of Management,
Bristol Business School,
Faculty of Business and Law,
University of the West of England.
 You must have significant demonstrable management involvement. If your business plan is to be based on scenario b above, you MUST get written confirmation from your supervisor that your business meets the requirements detailed above, and include this confirmation in your final submission.
 If you’re unsure what might be considered appropriate professional dress, please discuss this with your supervisor.