The Written Business Plan - Products

The New Product Project culminates in two final deliverables: a written business plan and a presentation of that plan. Both should draw together the work you have done on the facets of the project over the semester.
You should write your plan as though you are telling a compelling story that you support with data!

You will turn in FIVE copies of your Business Plan to your section faculty.  There must be a CD (with all the same files on it) included in EACH of those five copies.

Your CD must be labeled "Semester, Section#, Team#, Name of Your Product" and secured in a CD sleeve inside the back cover of each plan.

The CD is to have TWO folders labeled:  “Archive” and “Cross Functional”

The Archive Folder will contain only three files:

File 1: Integrated Text of Your Business Plan
File 2: Appendices of your Business Plan as ONE PDF file and will likely include those indicated by the Integrated Spreadsheet Guidelines and others
File 3: One abstract of 70-75 words that describes your product and its key benefits. This will be put in the SM323 searchable archives.
            Every team will also need to email your abstract to

The Cross-Functional Folder should contain ONLY the files listed below:

An Excel Workbook which follows all of the Integrated Spreadsheet Guidelines and has correct number of tabs - See Core Master Tools site – resources for folder – “Final Plan - Integrated Workbook Guidelines

ONE additional folder within “Cross Functional” labeled:  MK – can be a Word or PPT file with copies of all of your creative and ads in digital form.

The written plan MUST be able to stand alone for the purposes of grading and evaluation – meaning what is on the CD will not be considered as part of the Plan grade.
This means that the written plan can ONLY refer to data and appendices that are in the written plan.

However, your Integrated Workbook will be graded on the extent to which it employs the principles of workbook/spreadsheet design as discussed in QM and also what has been requested by QM. Functional faculty will also review the Workbook as an additional input into their grading, examining if the team has followed what has been requested in the Workbook guidelines.

Time to Format Plan: Pulling together the various sections of the plan from teammates and formatting of the final plan WILL take longer than you expect.
You should aim to do final editing, integration and formatting 24 hours before its due (past Core teams have indicated that this process, after all content is complete, can take at least 12 hours).


Teams MUST properly cite and acknowledge ALL information or contributions in your plan that are not original.  As you know, the Plans will be analyzed using for any similarities to Core Plans from previous semesters and for publicly available information on the Internet.
So, not only will your team lose points for IMPROPER citations, your team will be referred to the Academic Conduct Committee.

An issue has been the readability of exhibits (in the text and appendices). If it’s not easily readable it won’t be considered!

LENGTH:    70 pages MAXIMUM of INTEGRATED text & exhibits (tables, figures, charts, etc.) This page limit does not include the Executive Summary. Do NOT use Roman numeral numbering on main section or appendices.

                    50 pages MAXIMUM of appendices (allocated across the 4 functional areas at your discretion - no more than TWO appendices per page
                      (DO NOT use dividers between each appendix)

USE OF COLORA team’s grade will be penalized if you exceed the allowable color pages - 50 color page MAXIMUM (includes text, appendices). Do NOT use color borders on any pages – except for the 50 pages which do use color all else must be black and white or grey scale.

                      Your plan MUST include the following (where noted, these sections do NOT count against your page limit so you will want to use roman numerals on these pages):

Cover Page [does not count against page limit]
Authenticity Statement and signature page [does not count against page limit]
Table of Contents with corresponding page references #s [does not count against page limit]
List of Exhibits within the plan (figures, tables, charts, etc) with corresponding page references #s [does not count against page limit]
List of Appendices with corresponding page references #s [does not count against page limit]
Executive Summary [does not count against page limit]
CSR summary page [does not count against page limit]
Integrated Text of the Plan (maximum 70 pages)
Appendices (maximum 50 pages)
List of Sources Used/Works Cited (5 pages maximum[does not count against page limit]
FIVE dividers used where you feel appropriate (no page numbers on dividers). [does not count against page limit]
Copy of your non-Qualtrics consumer survey including product visuals used [does not count against page limit]

FONT SIZE12 point, Times New Roman (nothing smaller than 10 point font can be used anywhere in the document)
SPACING:   1.5 spacing
MARGINS:  1" on all sides (top, left, bottom, and right)
BINDING:  You must use a spiral type binding (similar to SMG Copy Center is fine)
PRINTING & PAPER: Printing should be DOUBLE-SIDED and on regular, normal white paper. No cardstock!

Using Adobe PDFIt may be easier for teams to PDF sections of your plan and then merge the PDF files together, rather than merging document files that may have been created on PCs or Macs and with different versions of software. A number of PCs in the SMG lab have Adobe PDF maker installed on them.

Page #1 should start with the first page of text in your plan and pages should be numbered accordingly using the guide and rules. Teams who do not follow this will be downgraded.

We want the plan to be INTEGRATED. Your team can still divide the Plan into 4 functional sections, however, integration means that what you discuss in each functional section is consistent and logical with what you have discussed in the other functional sections.

As a "rule of thumb" you should plan that 25%-35% of the 70 pages should be exhibits, diagrams, figures, etc.
Key graphs, charts or figures should be summarized and referenced within the text of your report. (if it is a detailed appendix, provide us with a summary chart or figure within the text and a full version in the appendix).

TABLE OF CONTENTS:  Include page reference #s in your Table of Contents
APPENDICES:  Provide a List of ALL appendices and corresponding page references #s
FOOTNOTES:  Use FOOTNOTES (so they appear at the bottom of the appropriate page) NOT endnotes (at the end of the document).

  • A footnote should NOT say "See MK Exhibit 8 for details." This is not a footnote!
  • Footnotes should provide a FULL reference and citation of the material you are using (author, date, page#, who was interviewed, when interviewed, etc). You can use either MLA or Chicago style guides for your footnotes. If you are footnoting an assumption, the assumption should be clearly stated, along with a brief description of your reasoning.
  • Footnotes should not be used for extensive commentary (put it in the text or appendix).
  • Footnotes should be single spaced and placed in the bottom footer (margin) of the page.
  • Make sure to ALWAYS cite and give credit to the source/author. Do not use "ibid" except where you would have the same citation at the bottom of the page more than once.
    A very BRIEF summary of a key appendix should be inserted at or near that point where you first refer to it. Such an arrangement maintains the flow and avoids asking the reader to flip back and forth between text and the detailed exhibits

REFERRALS: Each time you include a figure, table, graph, chart, you must give it a title and a number, and discuss it in the text.

Figure 1: Supply Chain Diagram - Level 1

Note on Incorporating Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives

Your Core plan should discuss at least the TWO CSR initiatives that you are implementing.  The initiatives should be integrated into the relevant subsections (remember each initiative is likely to affect more than one functional area).  In addition, you must provide a TWO page evaluation and summary of your CSR initiatives immediately following your Executive Summary. This 2 page section should also discuss the process you used to evaluate the CSR Initiatives (again refer the “Process to Evaluate” section of the Tutorial)


Basic Structure
A basic structure for the plan is outlined. It consists of an executive summary, sections which contain the research and analyses on which the plan is based, plus a section for appendices or other documentation which is not included in the text of the plan. Each of these sections is discussed below.


Cover Page
The cover page of your business plan (the page we see when you hand it to us) MUST include:

  • Your Section#, Team#, the Semester, the professors, and the Date
  • The name of your product
  • Any corporate affiliation you have created
  • It should include a graphic / drawing/ picture of product

Authenticity Statement and Intellectual Property Statement
The page after the cover page is where the statements below should appear, followed by the printed names and signatures of each member of your team, each attesting to its authenticity. Each team member is responsible for the entire contents of the plan and by signing is assuring the authenticity of the plan.

This business plan is the original work of the undersigned. All facts and figures are authentic. All contributions from others have been appropriately acknowledged. We have not read, reviewed or used any past Core plans in any way in the development of our plan. We did not misrepresent ourselves to suppliers or to anyone else who contributed information to this plan.

We each understand that the ideas, analysis and text contained in our plan are the collective intellectual property of our team.

Table of Contents (with page reference #s)
Indicate the different sections of the document and section sub headings. Page references MUST be included in the Table of Contents so the reader can easily flip to that section.

List of All Exhibits (with page reference #s)
Exhibits are such things as figures, tables, charts, etc.

List of Appendices (with page reference #s)
You must LIST ALL appendices to facilitate reading and understanding. Each appendix must be numbered and MUST BE referred to in the text of the plan. An appendix that is not discussed in the main document has no value and will not be considered.  Some appendices can be referred to in several sections of the report. For instance, a detailed design of the product may be useful in a discussion of product features in marketing and also in operations. If appendices are based on existing documents, make sure to cite the source, and indicate if you have adapted or just reproduced it.

List of Sources Used/Works Cited
You can use either MLA or Chicago style guides for the sources. FIVE pages maximum.
No photocopies of existing documents are acceptable or a “cut and paste” of any secondary report, e.g. from Mintel.
At a minimum you must recreate the portion of the needed document and reference it. The only exception to the "no photocopy" rule is for photographs and certain other types of "art".

Executive Summary (3 pages MAXIMUM - not shorter than 1.5 pages)
An executive summary can greatly facilitate the communication of a complex document. It gives the reader a clear picture of ALL the important conclusions you have drawn from your analyses.
It helps the reader see how each successive piece of your analysis fits into a single overall line of reasoning and supports the actions you propose.

The executive summary should mirror the document it summarizes. Present the sections you include in the executive summary in the same sequence as in the report itself. Don’t discuss a topic in the summary that is not part of the report.
The executive summary is where you set forth a concise, to-the-point, integrated overview of the business plan. An executive summary should contain little, if any, analysis and should briefly present the "whats" of your business plan. The executive summary should include:

·         what investment is needed for this venture, and  what results – in terms of sales, profits, and financial outcomes as well as other measures of overall performance you expect to achieve

·         Why is the market is attractive and why do you have an opportunity to succeed with your product

·         what product - a clear description of the product and its key differentiating benefits; what market segment, what distribution channel, what price,

·         a concise statement of each of the major courses of action you propose, covering all four functional areas; set forward in a way that reflects how they fit together as components of a coherent overall business strategy;

The research and analysis sections will offer the "whys" – the research findings, the reasoning and analysis that stand behind each of your "whats."

Research and Analysis (Introduction through Conclusion)
The research and analysis sections are the heart of your written plan. How you divide those pages among the different sections depends on the specifics of your product. Your analyses should be apportioned among the different functional areas on the basis of their relevance and importance to your specific project. The research and analysis sections should develop the logic that stands behind the action proposals, cost estimates, and projected results outlined in the executive summary. It is here that you should take each component of your overall strategy and show the analyses of research findings and other reasoning on which you base your conclusions.

The questions you address in these sections are those with which you dealt in the workshops and during the semester. The lists below are non-inclusive and only summarize the important questions to which you should provide answers. 
The lists are NOT in any prescribed order NOR are they exhaustive. Depending on your product, you will need to add additional issues which you deem important.

Introduction and Overview

o    Overview your product, including key product attributes and key differentiating benefits

o    What trends, if any, do you see in the social, political, technological, and economic environments for which you may need to make provisions in launching your product?

o    What product category will you compete in and with what other products and firms will you compete? (include a table which summarizes your closest competitor products, their prices, and a description that highlights the differentiating characteristics (strengths and weaknesses of each product, including your own). Why is this category attractive?

o    Develop a mission statement for your business

          • As you encounter decisions throughout the establishment and development of your business and its operation, consider the alignment of your decisions with your organization’s mission.


Objectives and Segmentation

o What are your marketing objectives? (objectives can be related to issues such as revenue growth, awareness, ACV, etc)

o Which segments are you targeting and why?

        • What did you learn from your marketing research?
          You will want to weave what you learned into the Plan, but also have appendices where you summarize key learnings from EACH of the major types of research you performed:
          interviews and focus group
          social media listening
          retailer research

o Discuss how you utilized purchase intent data to determine your pricing strategy


Communication, Budget, and Creative

Provide a communication schedule for Years 1-5 broken down by push and pull, cost of each vehicle, CPMs and awareness generated for each vehicle
Discuss your rationale for the key components of your communication schedule and how you grow it over time
How are you going to measure the effectiveness of your communications?
Discuss your web presence and your online strategy.
Show samples of your packaging and advertisements and briefly discuss the selected tone, message, unique selling proposition, etc.
  (Appendices should be where you place scanned images of brochures, packaging etc or other marketing materials you have generated).

Channels and Pricing

o What channels of distribution will you use and in what year(s)? and why?

o What retail selling price will you suggest to each channel? What prices do you expect to charge each of your channel intermediaries? What are the margins in each channel? (not the same as markup on cost)

o What discounts and promotions will you offer your various channels (provide both % and dollar amount by intermediary)

o What channel conflict do you expect?  How will you deal with it? Be specific in terms of quantitative and qualitative items

o What sales volumes will you generate through each type of channel? (independents, chains, mass merchants, etc)

o What type of sales force will you use? What are the costs and benefits of the type of sales force you have selected?

o Discuss and detail the margin or commission paid to manufacturer’s reps (10%) and wholesalers (if using). Cleary show in a table, both in percentage and dollars, total amount paid out each year to those manuf. reps or others

o Discuss and detail the commission paid to your own sales people (if using) in both % and dollars paid to each sales rep each year

Sales Projections

o What are your Base Case sales projections for the 5 years to your target market (s)?

o As noted in the Integrated Spreadsheet Guidelines, provide a DETAILED BASES sales forecast for the Base Case for EACH target market for EACH year.

o The Marketing section should end with a set of key conclusions


o    How does your product design meet customer requirements, cost, and performance goals?

o    What does your supply chain look like? Which parts of the chain will you do (make) and which will be done by someone else (buy)?  Why?

o    Who will supply your necessary parts, materials, and services?  Why were they selected?  (provide a list of suppliers with contact information.)

o    How will materials be transported throughout your supply chain?

o    Where will you locate your in-house operations and how will you lay out your facility?

o    How will you design your assembly process?  What tasks and equipment are required? 

o    What is your capacity and how will you staff your organization? 

o    How will you ensure the quality of your products?

o    How do you plan to match monthly production with demand?

o    What types and quantities of inventory will you need?  Why?

o    What process will you use to fulfill your direct online orders?  How many workers are required to do so?

o    How many workers will you need to respond to customer inquiries about your product?

o    Have you taken any steps to reduce the impact of your operations on the environment?

o    How do your operations plans integrate with those in marketing and finance? 

o    What is the impact of your operations decisions on your financial statements? (e.g., inventory, facilities, equipment, workforce, etc.)?

o    How would your operations plans and costs change if demand comes in at higher or lower levels?

o    Please provide an org chart, pay levels, and a compensation plan

o    Show your plan for online and telephone staffing, queues, etc.


·         What is the funding request to launch your project? Specify both start-up funding and total funding required over the entire project life.

·         What is the Base-Case IRR?

·         Based on the Beta of established firms in the same industry group, and current market rates, calculate the minimum required rate of the return that could be used as a discount rate for your project.

·         Create an NPV profile over a range of likely discount rates.

·         Discuss your profit estimates across time. How does your cost structure evolve from year to year as your business develops?

·         How long will it take before your project achieves EBIT break-even?

·         When do you expect to become cash-flow positive?

·         How long will take for the investment to achieve pay-back?

·         Identify what gives your product the uniqueness that allows it to achieve a healthy IRR.

·         Include a description of your competitor and industry ratios and explain how and why your ratios are different from theirs. Focus on the years when you have achieved your desired market share and are operating at a healthy capacity utilization.

·         Include a discussion of your terminal value and how you calculated it.

·         Explain how your project life-cycle assumptions relate to your Terminal Value estimate.

·         Summarize why you believe investors should invest in this product or business.


Cross Functional Risk Assessment and Management


·         Please refer to the folder on Tools under QM called “Instructions for Written Business Plan and QM 20” which provides a comprehensive list of what is required for QM for the final plan.




A reader should be able to ignore the appendices and not miss issues of importance to the plan. What should be done with the exhibits – drawings, tables, diagrams, charts and graphs – that you feel a reader must see?
You should include a summary of key exhibits within the body of the plan and, if needed, a more detailed version in the Appendix section.

You have 50 pages MAXIMUM of appendices to be allocated across the 4 functional areas at your discretion. DO NOT use dividers between each appendix/exhibit or those count against your page limit.

Place ONE or TWO appendices on a page but NO MORE than TWO appendices on one page and minimum of 10-point font. If it’s not easily readable we won’t consider it!

The Appendices Section should contain those documents which you feel should be made available to the reader if he/she wants to delve into them, but which are not essential the flow of the business plan itself. Such documents might include a full tabulation, and other analyses of the survey questionnaire, a more detailed operational supply chain, and more detailed versions of financial statements. They are documents to which the reader should need to refer ONLY IF DESIRED.

If you report findings from your survey research, always indicate the number of respondents on which the statistics are based. Make sure to include an appendix that SUMMARIZES your focus group(s).

At the end of the Appendix at the very end of your plan, provide a blank copy of your non-Qualtrics customer survey and the product visuals that were included with it (DO NOT shrink the survey or visuals as this section of the Appendix does not count against your page limit. Place it at the very end of the Plan – after Works Cited.

Listing of Sources Used/Works Cites (5 pages maximum – pages should not be numbered)
The bibliography or listing of sources used and works cited MUST include articles and books consulted, people/experts interviewed/consulted, and particularly online resources.
Online resources should be cited fully and properly. Use this link for citation instructions and it is recommended to use MLA Style:

Writing Style
Keep your paragraphs short (3-4 per page)

Use headings where needed as there should not be page after page of text with no headers. Each change of topic should be signaled by a header.
From an editorial perspective, never use "I" - always use "We."  The document should read as if there were one author.

Use precise language.

Avoid overuse of superlatives or redundant adjectives, such phrases as "revolutionary new product," "huge opportunity", "tremendous success," etc.

Editing is an essential task in putting this plan together. Schedule your work in a way that leaves you time for careful proofreading.

Do not let the quality of your work suffer because of careless errors.

ALWAYS maintain a backup. Good Luck!!


Design Team 11/15