- Peer Review: Business Plan Development Guide
Business Plan Development Guide
- Nov 1, 2019 by Business
The textbook and its templates are a step-by-step guide to creating a basic business plan document with financial information. The textbook’s content and length, combined with the structure and detail in the templates, provides a viable framework for covering the topic across a standard semester and for having defined project deliverables. The subject matter, business plan development, is appropriate for students in business degree programs and for others interested in entrepreneurship such as adult learners in community-based education classes.
This textbook and its accompanying spreadsheet templates were designed with and for students wanting a practical and easy-to-follow guide for developing a business plan. It follows a unique format that both explains what to do and demonstrates how to do it.
- Type of Material:
Open (Access) Textbook
- Recommended Uses:
Could be used as an individual or a team project to develop a business plan with the majority of the work done outside the classroom. Concepts from the textbook and examples of completing the templates could be used as in-class (in-person or online) lessons in preparation for the work outside of the classroom.
The amount of work required to research and develop a business plan using the textbook and templates will require multiple weeks, so project would likely need to be completed across a semester; aspects or steps from the plan could be assigned on a fixed schedule.
- Technical Requirements:
From this site, download as PDF, ePub, eBook
Google Chrome Version 72.0.3626.109
Adobe Reader version 19.010.20098
Java 8 Update 161
Adobe Flash 126.96.36.199
- Identify Major Learning Goals:
- Students will learn the steps in developing a business plan
- Students will learn how to complete the plan
- Learning goals are presented for each chapter.
- Target Student Population:
Given that development of a business plan pulls together knowledge from multiple disciplines such as strategy, financial decision-making / accounting, sales, marketing, operations, etc., a course using this for a project assignment should be at least senior-level in a bachelor’s degree program (e.g. a capstone project).
This material and business plan development project would also be appropriate for an entrepreneurship class for adult learners / community-based education. Prerequisite knowledge is needed (see below).
- Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
- Microsoft Word and Excel to use templates.
- Basic financial accounting knowledge is necessary to understand and apply some of the concepts and terminology discussed in the textbook and the templates in relation to developing a business plan.
- Basic financial accounting knowledge is necessary to develop the inputs required for, and then interpret the outputs from the Excel-based financial template.
- The textbook and related templates address the major aspects of business plan development, and if followed, would result in a viable business plan document as a deliverable or output.
- The descriptions of concepts are concise but complete, and the relationships among concepts are discussed and reinforced as the material progresses.
- The materials provide an effective overview of strategic concepts related to business plan development mixed with active learning via the business plan document and financial templates.
- This book was written in 2017; it is very current and relevant.
- The author also discusses how to present the “pitch” to sell the business plan.
- The content as written, perhaps 5%, is specific to the Canadian business context such as links to external resources and some information in the financial templates. This may deter some potential users, reducing its perceived flexibility (i.e. a majority of the content in this textbook applies in other contexts such as the U.S.).
- Because of the specific nature of the links included in the textbook (and some of the information in templates), the risk of outdated information and broken links is increased.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
- There is a large amount of content presented in a concise textbook that could be covered in a standard semester timeframe.
- The model of the Business Plan Development Process provides a useful framework for organizing the material and helping learners grasp the stages/steps that will be addressed and worked through.
- Other figures such as Different Levels of Analysis (with examples of tools) are also helpful for understanding content and seeing relationships.
- Business plan document template in Word and financial template in Excel are structured, detailed, and easy to follow in relation to the type of inputs required for each section, with additional information not only on content but on format and other development aspects.
- The textbook can be easily integrated into different business classes such as entrepreneurship, strategy, and other courses that may have limited information available on business plans.
- It can also serve as an excellent reference on required elements, and formatting items are specifically discussed for the business plan.
- The textbook and Excel financial template lack information on prerequisite knowledge (basic accounting as the primary gap). Although the textbook refers to the need for accounting knowledge in the business start-up process, it would be extremely difficult for learners to complete some sections of the business plan document and the majority of content in the Excel template without some basic understanding of accounting (e.g. revenue, expenses, financial statements).
- The lack of completed examples of written sections from the business plan Word document and the financial inputs / outputs in the Excel template limits the overall effectiveness of the tool for learners who benefit from modeling as a learning technique.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
- The availability of the textbook in multiple formats (online, pdf, EPUB and MOBI) is a great feature – which allows people to access offline as well as online and in their own preferred format. This also enables people to take advantage of features in a preferred format (such as highlighting text, notes, font/text size).
- Because of the format options, access should be available via smartphones if users have appropriate apps such as Adobe Reader, Kindle, etc. installed (was not tested by reviewer).
- Experienced no issues downloading and accessing pdf and EPUB formats (MOBI format downloaded but did not work with Amazon Kindle on my computer).
- Figures and diagrams are presented in the book to explain concepts.
- Models are presented - for example, the PESTEL model is used with Porter’s Five Forces to analyze the different segments of the external environment
- Depending on the format, some of the graphics were difficult to read. For example, Figure 1 is clear and readable in pdf and EPUB formats, but blurry in the online textbook version.
- No issues accessing links included for resources and templates in the downloaded digital pdf and online formats, but issues with some of the links in EPUB format (where links also did not appear in a standard format – blue text – indicating them as links).
- Since links are not active in the Print_PDF format, would be useful to readers if that was stated.