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Business Plans

Suggested Timeframe: 2-3 hours


To assist students to become more familiar with the concept of a business plan – an essential document for business success.


Activity 1 Researching business plans

Students can learn the scope of business plan techniques by researching business plan competitions online. Either individually or in groups, they can choose their own plan to study before presenting a report about that plan to the class. They should cover what worked and what could be improved, and why they think the writers of the plan made their structural decisions (i.e., presenting team members first, for example, or focusing on financial projections).

If you want to set the field of research go online and choose some varied examples yourself, which you can then hand out to the class. Discuss the similarities and differences, focusing on the different priorities and structures given to each business plan. Ask students why they think the executive summary feature has become almost universally used, and which of the business plan examples they think was most effective and why.

Activity 2 Developing a business plan

Using the Business Plan Essentials guide in the student handout (listed below), ask students to form groups of five (if possible), to develop their own business plans. They must decide on an industry, product and brand name before completing the plan, with each student responsible for a section (Executive Summary, Business Strategy, Marketing, Team and Management Structure, and Financial Budgets and Forecasts).

Try to emphasise there is no ‘right way of doing things’, and that by researching their chosen industry and product type they will be able to assess their business strengths and structure their business plans accordingly. Each plan can then be assessed on the detail of the research, the practicality of its plans and the structural choices the group made in terms of what they chose to focus on. This activity can be adapted to be carried out in class or as a long-term project, depending on the level of detail and research required.

Last updated 11 November 2016