Industry Analysis and Trends (state of the industry, market research, barriers to entry, identifying competitors, identifying market niche, expert advice, competitive analysis, strategic positioning).

Length:  Outline: 2 – 5 pages double-spaced pages*

*Students often need more than this page amount to complete the Outline Due: Week 3 by Sunday Midnight

Post:    Week 3 Assignments folder Points:    


The Outline is to follow the research and analysis found in and subsequent to the Literature Review and would use APA Outline and Headings. The Outline is to be three to five pages long following the guidelines below. Bullets may be used but citations for key points (taken from the Literature Review) are to be properly APA cited. The text book is also to be cited.

The headings for the outline are to be as follows (there may be some difference from some business plans – however the majority of these should be included). Remember to use APA headings here as it will help you with your final paper.

In this assignment – the Outline – you will try to match what you have learned in the Literature Review with the headings below. You will continue to research and read your text book for additional information. You may want to meet with a representative from SCORE. (this is an organization that offers free business advice to people trying to start a business – check to see if a SCORE representative will help you in your city).


Note: Remember you are just writing the Outline now; you will fill in this Outline later. So look over all of the sections below and know that you will write the whole paper in Part I (Week 4) and Part II (Week 6) later in this class and then combine those sections into your Final Paper (Week 8). But for now you are to begin this Business Plan by filling in what you can of the below listed 12 Sections of a Business Plan. Remember for each section try to have at least one citation from a primary source from your Literature Review.


The Twelve Sections of a Business Plan



  1. Executive Summary

You will include this section in the Outline – but you won’t be able to write this section until you have completed all of the research and written all of the other sections.

However, it is good for you to know that:

The purpose of an Executive Summary is to write a brief description of your plan that allows the reader to gain the essence of the entire plan in less than two pages.  It is intended to give a busy executive the key information and lead the reader to the sections that will answer the executive’s primary questions.  It is not an introduction to the plan, as you may have written in typical papers.  This Executive Summary, although positioned first in the project, should actually be written last.  That way you know what you are summarizing.  Writing it earlier will cause it to tend towards a traditional introduction. The elements of an Executive Summary are:

  • Purpose of the plan (attract investors, diversification, etc.)
  • Introduction to market opportunity
  • Brief description of the company
  • A description of the unsatisfied need that creates the business opportunity/innovation


  1. Mission and Vision Statement & Company Description

The Mission and Vision should be carefully crafted. You should see evidence of how your operational, financial, and marketing plans are executed in light of the company mission and vision.


Company Description (proposed new organization)

◉      Type of Business and Legal Structure (e.g., LLC, sole proprietorship)

◉    Mission and Objectives

◉     Distinctive Core Competencies


  1. Industry Analysis and Trends (state of the industry, market research, barriers to entry, identifying competitors, identifying market niche, expert advice, competitive analysis, strategic positioning).

◉    The history of the industry

◉     Size of the industry

◉    Industry evolution

◉    The trend–where the industry is expected to be in five to ten years

◉    The key players in the industry (those who do something like this well and those who do not).

◉    Barriers and challenges to entering the market


  1. Strategic Positioning, Strategic Intent (Measurable Goals)

Competition strengths and weaknesses (using SWOT, AAA, and other matrices)


  1. Product / Service (define product or service, what makes the product worthwhile, liability concerns, expert advice)

◉     How does the position in the Product Life Cycle affect this Business Plan?

◉     How does the position in the Industry Life Cycle affect this Business Plan?


  1. Management Plan (hiring projections, board of directors or advisors, outside professionals, licenses, expert advice) Management and Ownership

◉    Board of directors and rationale for members

◉    Management staff structure

◉     Key managers

◉    Plans to attract, develop, and retain key personnel

◉    Future additions to the current management team

◉     Compensation plan

◉     Insurance plan

◉    Government rules and regulations that might apply

◉    Answer Drucker’s Five Questions at it relates to your business



  1. Marketing Plan (defining the product, defining the customers, selling prices, market placing/segmentation, promotion, follow-up plan, and expert advice). Use for more information

◉    What is the competitive advantage that this business will create?

◉          Major characteristics of the target market (what does the customer look like?) ◉             What is the demand of this target market?

◉    Nature of the competition?

◉    What are total sales to this market in geographic area?

◉     What are total sales expected in five years?  In ten years?

◉     What percentage of this demand does this business expect to capture?

◉    What are the four P’s?

◉    Overall marketing strategy

◉    Specific marketing mix

◉          Strengths and weaknesses in ability to satisfy target market needs ◉             Communication plan internally and externally


  1. Operations Plan (operations for product or service from the beginning to the end of the supply chain (Cradle to Cradle) of the supply chain, technology, expert advice).

Key suppliers, Customers Operations

◉     Production and Service Delivery Procedures

◉          Supply Chain

◉          Transportation            Products and services

◉          Detailed Product/Service Description

◉     Product Life Cycle

◉     Copyrights, Patents, and Intellectual Property Rights

◉     Research and Development Activities


  • Environmental scan

◉    Significant factors in the macro environment

◉    Clear statement of the opportunities and threats through SWOT analysis

                         Products and Services

◉    Detailed Product/Service Description

◉     Product Life Cycle

◉     Copyrights, Patents, and Intellectual Property Rights

◉     Research and Development Activities



  1. Financial Plan (income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement, personal financial statement [not included in student plan – but students need to be aware of this requirement], financial ratios, forecasts, expert advice).
    • Financial Analysis

◉     Funds required and their uses

◉    Current funding requirements

◉    Funding requirements over the next three years

◉     Use of funds

◉     Loss Control

◉     Retention of Personnel


  • Financial statements for first three years (monthly first year and annually for years two and three) (may use template)

◉    Income statements

◉     Balance sheets

◉     Cash flow statements

◉    Determine capital requirements


  1. Action Plan: Steps to take to implement business plan including performance evaluation criteria.


  1. Conclusions and Recommendations
    • Conclude why your business is a viable business venture (or a viable business/strategic path for the client company)
    • Explain why the student should or should not pursue the business venture at this time (or why or why not the client)
    • business should pursue the path under investigation)



  1. Appendices & Reference Section (Reference section will include at least 35 sources for research for the business plan and APA citation will be provided for each source). Examples for other Appendices include:
    1. Key employee resumes, product and advertising samples, press clippings
    2. First impression collateral (e.g. cover letters for sources of income, brand, printing, design, charts, graphs and tables, multimedia presentations, etc.)
    3. Information that creates capital (market research, communication plan, financing, websites, trade groups and associations, etc.)



This section continues with the Arabic numbering of pages. Only sources of information that have actually been cited in the project are included here. (see APA sample paper



The appendices continue with the Arabic numbering of pages from the previous section.

(see APA sample paper


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