e-Business Plan Tutorial Assignments

This appendix to the e-Business Plan Tutorial is a compilation of the 20 assignments introduced in the various lessons in the tutorial. Links to the relevant lesson are included.

In completing any assignment, the student should consult with the instructor to determine if the assignment is required or optional, if there are any changes to the assignment as written here, and whether the output from any assignment is to be submitted, presented, or saved.

Executive Summary:
Assignment 1: After you have written the competitor analysis, draft a 1-2 page executive summary (you will be reminded of this at the end of that lesson). Then review and finalize the executive summary at the end of the tutorial (a reminder will be included at the end of the last lesson).

Business Description:
Assignment 2: Identify the industry within which your e-business will operate and write an industry analysis.

Assignment 3: Draft a mission statement for your e-business. Include a paragraph or two that explains or justifies the mission statement. This mission statement may change slightly as you continue to develop your business idea, but it should also be complete and accurate enough to guide the formation of goals and the value proposition.

Assignment 4: Write at least six goals for your business. Each goal should include both a clear statement of purpose and a brief explanation.

Assignment 5: Write at least three SMART objectives for each of the business goals you developed in assignment 4. The best way to present these objectives in your plan is to make them part of the relative goal. That is, following each goal statement, list three or more objectives that contribute to the achievement of the goal.

Assignment 6: Formulate and write the value proposition of your e-business. This should be a paragraph or two that clearly states the benefits your business will offer to customers and justifies why this is an important proposition for customers and in the marketplace.

Assignment 7: Select one or two (rarely three or more) business model(s) that accurately describe your proposed business activities. For each model, identify it and briefly describe the model as it applies to your business idea. Include the value proposition (from assignment 6) and the revenue model in your description.

Assignment 8: Write a products and services section for your e-business plan.

Market Analysis:
Assignment 9: Identify and briefly describe at least two and no more than three target markets for your e-business. Make sure your markets are scoped correctly— not too broad and not too narrow. Your description should include as many demographic, geographical, psychographic, and consumer characteristics as possible.

Assignment 10: Complete your description of your target markets by adding objective, quantitative data to the general description you completed in assignment 9. Based on your market research, you may have to make minor adjustments in your target markets.

Competitor Analysis:
Assignment 11: Find, list, and rank 7-10 direct competitors, or fewer if less than seven major competitors can be found. Find, list, and rank 3-5 indirect competitors and 3-5 future competitors for your e-business.

Assignment 12: From the lists you complied in assignment 11, complete the competitor analysis grid for 2-3 direct competitors, 1 indirect competitor, and 1 future competitor for your e-business.

Assignment 13: Write up the results of your competitor search and analysis for inclusion in your e-business plan.

Assignment 14: Identify 1-3 competitors who are popular with your target markets. Conduct a critique of their Web sites using resources such as those listed above.

Assignment 15: Use opportunities and threats approach, the competitive strategies approach, or both, to identify at least one (hopefully more) sources of competitive advantage for your business. Write this up so a reader of your e-business plan will understand how you expect to use these to achieve commercial success.

Operations:
Assignment 16: Based on your intended Web site host requirements, select: (a) storebuilder service, (b) Internet service provider, (c) dedicated hosting service, or (d) self-hosting and investigate the feasibility and cost of hosting a Web site for your e-business (the cost information will be used in the financial statements). As part of your operations plan, briefly explain and justify your decision.

Assignment 17: Based on your intended Web site requirements and the considerations listed above, select (a) internal development, (b) external development, or (c) partnering for your start-up site construction and ongoing site maintenance. Briefly explain and justify the decision.

Assignment 18: Find an available domain name (one currently available at the time you investigated it) for your e-business and write a brief paragraph to explain and justify it.

Financial Statements:
Assignment 19: Beginning with the draft spreadsheets, create a start-up budget, income and expense statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement for your e-business. As appropriate, make all projections three years into the future. Write up a summary of these statements (at least one paragraph per statement) that highlights key points of interest to prospective investors (e.g., when the business becomes profitable, how much invested capital is required, where the capital will come from). Also include a list of key assumptions that support the numbers in the statements. Optionally, include a table of key financial ratios and/or supplemental statements such as an investment schedule.

Making an Effective Business Plan Presentation:
Assignment 20: Following guidance from your instructor about length, scope, target audience, etc., prepare a professional presentation of your business plan following the instructions provided above.

Navigation Guide for the e-Business Plan Tutorial
Introduction to the E-Business Plan Tutorial
   Top Ten Resources for Writing an e-Business Plan
Fundamentals of e-Business Planning
Writing a "Read Right" Plan
Executive Summary
Business Description
   Mission Statement
   Business Goals
   Project Objectives
   Business Model
Market Analysis
Competitor Analysis
Operations
Financial Statements
Making an Effective Business Plan Presentation
Appendix: e-Business Plan Tutorial Assignments

This e-Business Plan lesson was last updated on June 7, 2005. Questions, comments, and suggestions for improvement can be sent to Dennis Viehland (d.viehland@massey.ac.nz).