Your final writing assignment is to write a business plan. Think of a business you would like to start upon graduation. Be creative in thinking about your business, taking into account how a business will need to operate and succeed in a world in which COVID-19 is still a concern and, therefore, we will continue to have some level of social distancing. The business plan should provide a brief description of this new business: the type of products or services, your objectives, your marketing and sales strategy and how the business will be run. These are typically the most important aspects of a business plan. However, for purposes of this business plan I am mostly interested in the following other important aspects of your business that we covered in class:
- Business entity – How will your business be organized (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation)? In discussing the organizational form of your business, explain why you chose one form over the others, taking in to account factors such as tax implications, liability, funding and branding.
- Corporate governance – You will want to ensure that your new business has strong corporate governance. If you select a corporation for your business form then you will have a board of directors. But if you choose another form, assume you will have a board of advisors. In either case, describe the role of the board, it’s ideal composition and any steps you might take to ensure there is strong corporate governance. You should use any lessons learned from Theranos (although do not specifically reference Theranos).
- Work culture – You will also want to ensure that you create a positive work culture in which employees feel empowered, respected and motivated. Again, you should consider any lessons learned from Theranos as well as our HBS case studies and any experiences you have had.
You are writing your business plan for a number of audiences. You will be looking to attract investors, who believe that strong governance and positive work environment are critical to the success of the business. In addition, you will share your plan with potential employees who you hope to recruit to your business. Other partners and vendors will also be interested in reading your business plan to determine whether they wish to do business with you.
In evaluating your business plan, I will be looking for the following:
- Business law concepts – Address in depth the three items above (business entity, corporate governance and work culture).
- Organization – The plan should be easy to follow and well structured with different concepts denoted by headings and/or good topic sentences.
- Clear writing – Do not use jargon, cliches, passive voice, etc. in your writing (see the Hamilton College Seven Deadly Sins of Writing that I distributed earlier this semester).
- Concise writing – Your sentences and paragraphs should be short and to the point. Be sure to re-read, edit and cut unnecessary verbiage.
- Opening sentences and paragraph – This is the most important part of your writing. Spend a disproportionate amount of time writing the opening in order to catch the reader’s attention.
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