[Project Name] Business Planning Document


      [Document Version Number]                                                                               



     Document Author(s):                                                                                            






I. Introduction

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance for the creation of a business plan for the eCommerce project.  The business plan places the project in a market context and demonstrates the outlook, usefulness, as well as expected growth of demand for the system.



II. Executive Summary

This section should be created last.  It needs to encompass the following four areas:


The Company, the Founders, the Vision

Tell who the company is and what it does to make money.  Highlight the management – their accomplishments and aptitude.  Sum up what management expects financial and operational output to be over the time covered by the business plan.


          Market Opportunity

Why is this venture a good idea?  What sort of market does the venture face in the future?


            Use of Proceeds

How does the company plan to use proceeds?  This section is often represented as a financial statement showing net proceeds, capital expenditures, and proceeds for working capital and reserves. 


            Financial Snapshot

Financial overview is provided in this section.  It includes items such as revenues, cash flows, and selected performance metrics.



III. The Enterprise

This section is included to provide information about the product or service and its advantage in the market place.  Here, you are ‘selling’ the project.


            The Product

Business plan readers need to understand the product.  Provide enough detail in order to communicate to the intended audience what you will produce.


            Competitive Advantage

Put the product in the context of the market to demonstrate its advantages.  A good way to show these advantages is in tabular form that compares the performance, cost, or other features to those of leading alternatives or substitutes.



IV. The Market

No matter how good of a product your group has, it needs a market to drive support for its creation.  This section builds the case to the readers or investors of why they need to invest in the project.  Here, you are ‘selling’ the market’s potential.


            The Industry

Give an overview of the industry of which your project will be a part.  Include a background discussion of this industry, as well as industry trends that show future growth.


            Market Size and Growth

Discuss your project’s market.  Note the size and growth rates that your team is facing.


            Target Market

Quantify and describe the segment(s) for which you are gearing your project.  Talk about segment prospects – their needs and wants and the trends that these segments are facing that may influence your project.



Talk about your competitors.  Give key attributes of competitors or broad descriptions of competitor classes in this subsection.


            Promotion and Advertising

What channels will you use to get people educated about your product?  This subsection will provide a description of the advertising, education, and public relations that you will employ to drive demand.  Describe the types and quantities of the media that will be used.



V. Operations

Use this section to talk about the items that are specific to the company’s operations.  In this part of the document, talk about any technological development efforts done to date, staffing, quality, or productivity if applicable.  Give a description of the facilities and computer resources (information systems) that you may have.  Take note, however, that management may not want some items disclosed to outside parties.



VI. The Organization

Include the names and titles of key officers in the company.  Include brief, factual, relevant, career summaries for these officers.  Officer compensation, supporting professionals (legal advisors, legal firms, and accountants), an organization chart, and employee headcount forecast may also be included if relevant.



VII. Business Risks

It is important to identify potential problems within the business context.  It is often helpful to include some form of a risk mitigation strategy for these business risks.



VIII. Prospective Financials

Include financial information including assumptions made, balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements.



IX. Document Revision History

This section includes a list of significant changes that have been made to this document after 1.0 version has been submitted for assessment. The revision history should contain a dated list of revisions to the document consisting of: the date of each change, the person responsible for the change, and a description of the change. You should be able to trace changes to the individual who completed the modification.  Changes are to be listed in reverse chronological order, recording the following information for changes:



File version number.


Name of individual(s) responsible for the change.


Date of change.

Change Description

Description of the changes made to the file.