characterize the external environment

Project – Phase 4 – Instructions – Fall 2019


Phase 4 of your retail business venture project will build on the work done in previous phases. From the scope of research that remains to be done, you will proceed with the Observations (Part 1) and Questionnaires (Part 2). You will continue focusing on 2 areas: 1. characterize the external environment (PESTLE – impact of the external environment on the business) and 2. how the project MIGHT unfold, with an emphasis on the marketing aspects of the business (4Ps, segmentation et al.). Please remember, for the project, you are an external research team (consultants) that is under contract to a potential investor. You will also need to wrap-up the project by discussing what remains to be achieved (Part 3), the quality of your research (Part 4) and your learning experience (Part 5).


  • A short introduction will describe to the reader 1. the purpose of Phase 4 and 2. the content of the report.
  • The body is divided into 5 parts:
  • Part 1: You will use the Observation tool to continue the search for knowledge/answers in the 2 areas identified above. There will be a minimum of 4 observations in 2 different types of locations, each type having its own purposes. This part has 3 components:
  1. What were the purposes (i.e. questions to be answered or knowledge to be acquired) for each type of observation?
  2. How was each type of observation done: structure and execution; clear explanations required
  3. Information found, presented in a manner that allows the reader to grasp the key points observed and their potential impact on your retail venture.
  • Part 2: You will use the Questionnaires tool to wrap up your primary research. You will design one questionnaire aimed at your target market (i.e. the segment of the population that will be your main customers). There will be a minimum of 20 questions, using a minimum of 3 types of questions and 8 different forms. A minimum of 40 fully completed questionnaires (i.e. responses collected). You will use the face-to-face method. You will explain how you managed not to insert any biases in the selection process of respondents (refer to the RIDE program in how police officers stop drivers in a manner that clearly indicates that there was no biases (i.e. all drivers are stopped or at a fix interval, e.g. 10 cars)) to meet the justice requirements of fairness). This part has 3 components:

2.1 What were the purposes (i.e. questions to be answered or knowledge to be acquired)?

2.2 How was it done; structure and execution; with clear explanations required on the design of the questionnaire. A copy of your questionnaire needs to be attached in an appendix.

2.3 Information found, collected in a manner that allows the reader to grasp the key points observed and their potential impact on your retail venture. You will need to use a minimum of 5 different graphics in the illustration of your data in addition to as many tables as required. Your raw data needs to be attached in an appendix in a manner that will allow the reader to consult it.

  • Part 3: You will identify and discuss the questions or the body of knowledge that remains to be answered after having completed your secondary and primary research. You will explain why you were not able achieve these. This part aims to have you reflect on the level of knowledge you now possess, and the shortcomings in regards to understanding your external environment (PESTLE analysis), and your potential customers and how to approach them (segmentation and 4Ps).
  • Part 4: Reflecting on your project, you will characterise the relevancy and the quality of the processes you have used, and the information gathered by addressing the following points:
    • Discuss the confidence and reliability of the tools used, including understanding the effectiveness of the process used in answering your questions or acquiring the body of knowledge needed
    • Discuss the reliability and quality of the information gathered, identify areas where the information is strong or weak, providing an explanation (relevancy and sufficiency)
    • This section will be challenging for you as it entails that you do a critical review and analysis of the methods, processes, steps taken, quality, etc. used to obtain the information found in Phases 2, 3 and 4. This is a segment of the project that should be done as a group at the end of the project, as you are required to review what you have done during the 3 latest phases. One person might write this part, but it needs to be the combination of everyone’s written contribution. To facilitate this process, each team member who did research ought to have taken notes when doing it. These notes can then be used to complete this section.
  • Part 5: In regards to this project as a whole, what would you change in the way you have managed the project and how you proceeded in doing your research to support your retail business venture. Be candid with your comments. Honesty and critical sense are highly respected in any work environment.
  • A short conclusion will present what you want the reader to remember.
  • A bibliographical reference sheet, if required, for any secondary research done in support of your primary research (on a separate sheet). Not included in the word count.
  • Appendices as required. Not included in the word count.
  • The document needs to follow the APA format: Refer to slide in the PPPs.
  • I suggest your report be visually structured (i.e. section headings and subheadings if required), and might include other tools (picture, illustration, table, graph, etc.). Make your reports interesting and appealing to read.
  • If you elect to divide the work between the team members, you need to ensure that the report is harmonized. This implies that you will need to coordinate your team work from early on and frequently. Part 5 needs to be done as a group exercise Also, please remember what Winston Churchill wrote at the end of a 5-page letter to a friend: Sorry for the long letter as I did not have the time to write a shorter one. It is all about added-value.


  • Phase 4 report is to be presented in the binder, and placed after the fourth separator.
  • There is no need for a table of content. Write at the top of the first page the following: Phase 4 – Your retail sector – Section no.
  • After the conclusion, at the bottom of the page, write the following: names and student numbers, date and the number of words. You are limited to 5,000 words for the introduction, the body and the conclusion.
  • The report will need to be filed in Turn-it-in by 1 student before it is handed in.


  • Phase 4 is worth 45% of the overall project mark.
  • The marking will be based on the rubric provided in eConestoga.
  • You are asked to apply and demonstrate your understanding of the tools and methods taught in the course. To achieve this point, you must read the textbook and study the PowerPoint presentations. If you do not, you are exposed to not meeting my expectations.
  • Please note that the content (relevant and sufficient), and the format are key elements of the marking structure.
  • Please remember that facts are powerful, while opinions are a reflect of who you are. At this time, based on your limited knowledge and experience, your opinion does not count for much yet. Time will add weight to your opinion.


  • Phase 4 report will be handed in the binder at the beginning (<5 min.) of Lec. 12 (week 13).

For further details, refer to the Project Instructions document in eConestoga, to the feedback provided in your Phase 1, 2 and 3 reports and in the PowerPoint presentations, and to the textbook.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me at my Conestoga e-mail [email protected]. Do not use eConestoga e-mail.


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