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Advanced Seminar in Business Plan Writing

Contributed by: Ed Rubesch, Thammasat University, Thailand

Introduction:

Course Description:

The business planning process turns a vague idea into a focused business opportunity
that can be successfully implemented. Most business plans are produced to justify a significant
investment in a new product or strategic business unit within a company,
or in a new company formed specifically to profit from the opportunity promised by a
new idea or innovation.

There are many reasons for writing a business plan. It forces the planner to consider what
factors are critical for the plan’s success. It helps determine performance standards for judging
progress during implementation. Finally, the business plan provides an overall road map for
implementation. However, two major reasons for writing a business plan outweigh all others: 1) It
is used to substantiate a market or business opportunity, which justifies the proposed investment
and 2) it is a valuable communication tool for motivating employees, management, or investors to
support the proposed project.

This course is designed to train students to address the complex challenges of developing a plan
for a new or innovative business opportunity. The course is practical in nature, applying concepts
learned in other courses, including marketing, finance, and management. Students, working in
teams, screen potentially feasible business opportunities, research them to determine market
potential, write the business plan, and present the plan as if seeking actual funding.

Two key skills will be emphasized throughout the course: justifying the market opportunity that the
business plan seeks to address, and communicating and defending the ideas and assumptions
presented in the business plan. These skills are necessary regardless of whether the plan is
used to describe a new business, or a proposed investment within an existing business.

Text:

Dorf, R. and Thomas Byers, Technology Ventures: From Idea to Enterprise

Assessment:

Group 45%
 Write-up 5-questions about team business opportunity (1-2 pages) 10%
 Business plan: Market and Industry section 10%
 Business plan: Product and Marketing sections 10%
 Ranking in competition 5%
 Overall written business plan 10%

Individual 55%
 60-second pitch 5%
 Evaluation of 60-sec pitches (5% each) 5%
 Test #1: Opportunity, Business Model, Marketing 15%
 Test #2: Financial Plan and Spreadsheets 15%
 Test#3: Sources of Funds 15%

CLASS SCHEDULE AND ACTIVITY PLAN

Fri Sun Topic / Theory Student Deliverable

1 Sep-23 Sep-25 Course Introduction: Opportunity Reading: Ch. 2.1-2.4,


Analysis Ch. 3.3-3.5
Course Introduction Warning!!! Start Thinking About
Lecture: Ideas Now
• Opportunities, the 5Qs and 60s
pitch
2 Sep-30 Oct-2* The Business Model Reading: Ch. 4,5
Workshop: • 60 second pitch (any company
• Apply the 5 questions to an that excites you)/evaluation
existing business
• Basic modeling on spreadsheet
3 Oct-7 Oct-9 Marketing Entrepreneurial Reading: Ch. 11 (Except 11.4 and
Ventures 11.7)
Lecture:
• Marketing Innovations
• Market / industry analysis
• Differentiating Your Business
From Others
4 Oct-16 Ideas Screening • Present 2-3 of your team’s best
• Defend in front of outside panel ideas
• Approx. 5 minutes per idea
5 Oct 21 Oct 23 The Financial Plan Reading: Ch. 17
Guest Lecture:Dan McKay Test #1: Opportunity, Business
Model, Marketing
6 Oct 28 Oct 30 Guest Workshop:Dan McKay 5-Questions Analysis of Idea Due
Spreadsheet Modeling
7 Nov 4 Nov 6 The Business Plan Reading: Ch. 8.9
Lecture: The Business Plan Test #2: Financial Plan and
Spreadsheets
8 Nov 11 Nov 13 Sources of Funds Reading: Ch. 16-18
Lecture: Offer and Harvest • BP: Market/Industry Section
Due
9 Nov 18 Nov 20 Intellectual Property Reading: Ch. 10.3-10.7
Guest Lecture: Test #3: Sources of Funds
10 Nov 25 Nov 27 The Business Plan Process • BP: Product & Marketing
Section Due
11 Week of Dec 12 Workshop: To be scheduled by each team
Presentations
12 Dec. 18** In-class Competition Business Plans Due