Top Ten Resources for Writing an e-Business Plan

This list of Top Ten Resources for Writing an e-Business Plan has been prepared for use with the e-Business Plan Tutorial that supports the Prentice-Hall textbook Electronic Commerce 2006: A Managerial Perspective. Students who need to know more about writing a business plan or have special requirements for completing a business plan assignment are welcome to use these resources to further explore this exciting area of business activity.

Library of business plan articles: Creating Your Business Plan offers a number of articles of interest to business plan writers. A representative sample of articles in this library— Why You Need a Business Plan, Creating a Business Plan That's You, Updating Your Business Plan, Elements of a Business Plan— indicate the value of this site. Some articles have tools for downloading and additional resources to access.

Business plan workshop: There are a few business plan workshops on the Web, each promising to lead you step by step through the process of writing your plan. No site does this as well as the American Express Creating an Effective Business Plan workshop. The business plan writer is guided through the seven elements of a business plan (e.g., business description, sales and marketing, financials) with explanations, samples, and interactive tutorials (e.g., "Which of the following you do think is a good positioning statement?" with explanations about why a choice is a good one or not). Most pages have handy hints, there is an FAQ page, and you can submit a question to a small business advisor.

Business plan outline (short version): What should be in a business plan? Business Plan Outline gives a brief list of the contents of a business plan from cover sheet to supporting documents.

Business plan outline (long version): A much longer and more detailed outline is The Business Plan: Road Map to Success. The first few screens of this very long page don't offer much more than what is in other resources. But then the detail begins: each section and subsection of the outline is described in some detail with important questions to consider. In many places fill-in-the-blank forms are provided for a writer's convenience. There is also a zipped, downloadable text version of this page.

Sample business plans: The 60 free sample business plans at Bplans.com is the most extensive collection available on the Web. The plans at this site are too simple to be real and frequently important elements are missing. However, the sample plans can be good idea generators for writing your plan.

Business plan off-line book: There are dozens, perhaps over a hundred, how-to-write-a-business-plan books. One of the best is Writing a Convincing Business Plan (2nd edition) by Art Dethomas and Lin Grensing-Pophal (Barrons 2001). It is one of the most comprehensive books available, yet not overwhelming with detail. The book is well organized and easy to understand.

Business plan online book: InSite: The Book on Web Planning is an online book that will be of interest to e-business plan writers because of its emphasis on planning a Web presence. Unfortunately the multi-layered navigation design means the reader receives only a small amount of information per click.

SWOT analysis resources: Most business plans will utilize a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis as part of the business planning process (this tutorial does too, in the Competitor Analysis lesson). SWOT analysis is a collection of resources to help business plan writers with this exercise, including how-to articles, tips, and a template.

Business plan evaluation: As emphasized numerous times in this tutorial, the business plan should be written with the reader's needs in mind. The Business Plan Evaluation Scale offers 12 factors an investor is likely to consider as he/she reads a business plan. This is one of those excellent and wish-we-had-thought-of-this-first ideas, but it would be much better if the scales were interactive (i.e., click on each 10-point scale and the results are summed automatically).

E-commerce business plans: So, what is different about writing a business plan for an e-commerce project? Building a Business Plan for an e-Commerce Project is an insightful article that helps you think about business planning in an e-commerce context.

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).