Project Description

Project Description

For your Capstone Project, you will be creating and presenting a business plan for a real or fictional business of your choosing. See Next Steps and full assignment below. Read the Business Plan Presentation Prompt PDF for additional details about your presentation.

Next Steps:

  • This week, complete the course developing A Business This course will introduce you to each section of your Capstone Project assignment.
  • For the capstone, you may work individually or in a group of up to 5 students. If you’d like to work in a group, please choose your partners by the end of this
  • If you have any questions about the Capstone, we would be happy to address them over Slack or email at [email protected]

Learning Outcomes

When completed successfully, this project will enable you to:

  • Identify a promising opportunity through researching and analyzing an industry and its
  • Create a cohesive, detailed plan to capitalize on an opportunity by forming a new business.
  • Evaluate the potential risks and rewards of a business

Assignment

For your Capstone Project, you will be creating a business plan for a real or fictional business of your choosing. Begin by making a copy of this template. (Note: after opening the link, click “make a copy” to begin working on your own copy of the template.) The template provides key guidelines; follow those instructions to create a successful plan,  but remember to delete the advice from your final document.

Your business can offer any product or service—use this assignment as an opportunity to research an industry that interests you! If you are stuck, you might try completing this  quiz from Business News Daily to find ideas that may suit you, or you could make a business plan for your current company.

Presentation

You will also be required to present your business plan (either live over video conference or recorded and submitted) in a 10-15 minute presentation with a slide deck. You’ll have the opportunity to submit a video recording of your presentation or schedule a live video presentation starting at the beginning of Specialization Period 3.

You can submit your video or schedule your presentation no later than the last day of your final week in the program.

You can find more information on the Business Plan Presentations in the Business Plan Presentation Prompt and Rubric,” including a scoring rubric and instructions on how to submit a recorded video, on your home screen.

The presentations will be hosted through a video chat with our grader, and will be graded based on a separate rubric, with the intent to evaluate your pitch skills and your mastery of you own project topic.

Checkpoints

  1. Industry Background Check-In: Your first check in for the project will be in the week before or after you submit the Industry Background for your Business Plan. You’ll receive an email inviting you to schedule a video conference session with our librarian, Kristina

The Industry Background section  is  described  in  your  Business  Plan  template,  and  in the Developing a Business Plan course in the lesson Analyzing the Business Environment. Remember to follow the guidelines you learn in that course.

Submitting your draft Industry Background is mandatory. It will be graded for completion rather than content, however.

  1. Mid-Point Check-In: Later on in your project, you will also have the opportunity to check in with your Business Plan grader. For both check-ins, we will send out notifications over Slack and email letting you know how you can sign

Resources

  • Refer to the Business Plan Development course for specific guidance on each section of the business plan
  • Refer to the S’Naps Sample Business Plan as an example
  • Reach out to Smartly and schedule time with our librarian to deepen your industry background knowledge and market research
  • Revisit Accounting III: Financial Statements and Creating Financial Statements in Excel for help writing the financial plan

Submission and grading

Submit your work as a single PDF file. To do this, from the google docs menu click “File” then “Download as” then “PDF Document (.pdf)”. If working in a group, include the names of all group members on the PDF submissions.

See the rubric at the end of this document for details on how your plan will be graded. The final page includes the checklist that you can use to make sure you’ve completed all  of the required parts of your project

Research Guidelines and Citations

While your business may be fictitious, your industry and market research must be based upon factual information.

Please include a list of sources in the appendix. Good sources include NYU’s list of historical industry growth rates and projections from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can also use information from reputable industry-specific associations—for example, The Toy Association for toy manufacturers.

Smartly uses Chicago-style citations as guidance. You can find answers to FAQs about our citation policy here.

Plagiarism Policy

Smartly defines plagiarism as: “Knowingly representing the work of others as one’s own, engaging in any acts of plagiarism, or referencing the works of others without    appropriate citation.” This includes both misusing or not using proper citations for the works referenced, and submitting someone else’s work as your own. Smartly monitors all submissions for instances of plagiarism, and all plagiarism, even unintentional, is considered a conduct violation. It is important to be conscientious when citing your sources. When in doubt, cite! You can find more about our plagiarism policy here.

Contents Checklist

Please write your plan by making a copy of this template. (Note: after opening the link, click “make a copy” to begin working on your own copy of the template.) You must complete the entire template to receive full credit for your plan, including each of the following sections:

  • Cover page
  • Table of contents
  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Management summary
  • Industry background

Competitive analysis

Market analysis

  • Marketing plan
  • Operations plan
  • Financial plan
  • Appendix (including at least your financial statements and a list of sources, as well as optional milestones and sample business materials)

Business Plan Capstone Rubric

Score Description
5 The business opportunity, key people, business context, and potential risks & rewards are all clearly, thoroughly, and compellingly described. The plan includes all relevant sections (see checklist below), is organized in   a thoughtful and purposeful manner, and provides visual aids and optional addenda where useful.
4 The business opportunity, key people, business context, and risks & rewards are all clearly and thoroughly described. The plan includes all relevant sections (see checklist below), is organized in   a thoughtful manner, and provides visual aids where useful.
3 The business opportunity, key people, business context, and risks & rewards are all described, though some details are missing or incomplete. The plan includes all or most relevant sections (see checklist below) and is organized in a reasonable manner.
2 The business opportunity, key people, business context, and risks & rewards are all described, though there are significant information gaps or inconsistencies within those descriptions. The plan includes most relevant sections (see checklist below) but may be disorganized or poorly presented.
1 The business opportunity, key people, business context, and risks & rewards are not all described, and/or there are such significant information gaps or inconsistencies that the descriptions are not comprehensible. The plan is missing key sections and has no clear organization. May have poor presentation and/or be difficult to read.
0 The assignment is either plagiarized, not turned in, or completely off topic.

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