Management and Business Context 1 (ECOB131) Individual assignment (75% of coursework ) I. Task description: Prepare a basic business plan of an SME of 1500 words (± 15%) Deadline: Please see on the Moodle page of the module. Topic: You must prepare a basic business plan for a small or medium enterprise (SME) that is either (i) hypothetical (that you envisage) or (ii) operating in real-life (with which you are somewhat familiar with). Objectives: To design the fundamentals of a business that is viable (i.e. profitable) and to ensure and demonstrate this in as many aspects of the project as possible. The following conditions must be met: – Overview: Summarize key background information about your company; explain its main purpose and aims. – Products or services: Describe your main products or services. Why could they be unique and appealing to consumers? – Target market: Is there a clear (medium or long-term*) demand for it? Is it worthwhile to start dealing with it at all? – Competition: What are some of the drivers of competition? What are some strengths and weaknesses of your competitors? – Site selection: Some fundamental geographical and economic advantages and disadvantages of the chosen site should be considered, and a basic reasoning for the decision should be given. – In addition to the above, you must select one of the following four topics to be elaborated in detail: o Human resources: Describe the essential human resources needed for your business. Estimate how much time and labor you will need for the tasks to be performed. The tasks associated with the workforce, the time to complete them and the wages must be realistic. o Operations plan: The primary operation of the business must be planned. Provide basic information on facilities, equipment, and personnel requirements. o Marketing strategy: What marketing strategy will you use to spread the word about the existence of your product or service to consumers / users? o Financial plan: Provide a rough budget (including income, expenses and cash flow forecasts) for the first few years of the business. What are the most important fixed and variable expenses that you expect? * We want to exclude the short term because it is not necessary to establish a project company, which changes its image every two weeks, adapting to the given market needs. 1 Further expectations: The plan must be (1) realistic, (2) feasible and (3) authentic! (1) Realistic: Adapt the activities of the business to your possibilities, knowledge and reality! Do not take on tasks you cannot do or require expertise you do not have†! (2) Feasible: The proposed business does not have to be a unique startup. It is expected that the aspects presented are feasible, supported by appropriate justification and data. (3) Authentic: The data in your business plan must come from authentic sources. II. Formal requirements: Upload to moodle a formal business plan in .doc or .docx format before the deadline. Other formats will not be accepted. The paper should meet all the general requirements related to style, structure, paragraphing and referencing of academic papers learnt in Academic Skills. A paper can be uploaded several times, only the last version will be read and assessed. Do not leave the first upload to the last 24 hrs! III. Academic conduct notice: Harvard-style referencing needs to be used consistently throughout. Incomplete referencing shall result in reporting the case to the Academic Conduct Officer, who keeps a record of such violations. First offenders may resubmit their papers and may receive 50% at most. Repeated violations of academic standards shall be sanctioned in line with the plagiarism regulations as detailed in the Student Handbook. Where the Academic Conduct Officer has reason to suspect that a piece of work submitted by a student was wholly or in part written by someone other than the student who submitted it, and this has not been disclosed by the student, they may call for the student to defend the work in a viva or a written comprehension test. The burden of proof in such a viva or test will be upon the student to demonstrate to the examination panel’s satisfaction his/her full comprehension of the work s/he has submitted. Failure to appear without satisfactory explanation will result in immediate failure of that assessment, with consequences of academic misconduct and application of sanctions. † Do not try to bypass this tip by proposing to hire a workforce that does not exist (e.g. “I hire a programmer who develops the world’s most downloaded app for me”…. or “I pay a researcher who develops an anti-virus tool and we sell it, etc.”….) 2 IV.Assessment: The assignment will be assessed based on the following criteria (see the grid on Moodle): Approach to task (15%) Understanding of material (20%) Description and analysis (30%) Source use (10%) Structure (10%) Language and mechanics (15%) V. Retakes: There will be a retake opportunity in the exam period. Deadline: The resubmission deadline will be specified on Moodle after the grades for the original submission are published. Marks in the second round are capped at 40%. The task description will be identical and all formal requirements and assessment criteria for the individual assignment will apply. 3
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