Business Plan for the first year of your own IT consultancy practice
Read the additional documents carefully, my first assignment was a failure, as we don’t have final exam for this course, this will be my last chance to past this course, otherwise I will not be able to graduate within this year, sorry for hard question.
You are required to prepare a customised, personalised Business Plan for the first year of your own IT consultancy practice based on your readings and research combined with your own experience, judgment, and preferences.
The dual purposes of this assignment are to: (1) give students experience in formulating a feasible business plan for a consultancy practice; and (2) give the lecturer evidence of the student’s grasp of the course material.
The major issues to be considered by a consultant starting up a new practice are in large part the same as those of a client in need of a review and evaluation of business practices. Secondly, the Business Plan format and requirements are designed to reflect course topics, reading materials, guest lectures, and independent research.
A business plan (BP) is a generic term for a formal document that spells out an intended course of action and the reasoning behind it. The aim of this business plan is to document your strategic thinking about the business opportunity and the operational aspects of how it will work. Generation of a business plan as the major assessment is designed for you to synthesise your thinking and research about each aspect of a consultancy practice that is covered in this course. Consequently, the BP that you will submit will not match any format that you are likely to find in reference books on how to write business plans.
Books and articles may help you to understand the purpose of sections of the BP, such as knowing what business you are in, or assessing the competition, or determining a marketing strategy; but the format that you follow for the purposes of this assessment is the one designed for this course.
Each section of the BP is based on one of the topics in the course. You are responsible for covering all sections. To achieve a passing grade you must adequately discuss each of the required sections, and include a reasonable number of references to show that you have done research on your own, as well as having read the assigned readings.
On the following page is a section-by-section guide to writing the assignment. The first criterion in marking the assessment is that you have included all of the required sections. This checklist will be used by the markers. You should also use it when preparing your plan.
Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Construct Your Business Plan
The following list of questions will help you to understand the purpose of each section in the Business Plan. These questions are not to be copied into your business plan.
• Purpose of my business (what am I setting out to do?)
• Type of business (what kind of services will I offer?)
• What is it that I know and can do that some people and businesses are willing to pay for?
• SWOT analysis
• What strengths do I have that will help my business be successful?
• What weaknesses do I have that I either needs to improve upon, or to have a strategy for that will counterbalance what I’m not good at?
• What’s happening in the world (opportunities) that will make my business even more attractive to people?
• What’s happening in the world (threats) that can adversely affect my business?
• Who needs what I have to offer?
• Who would be willing, and can afford to pay for it?
• Where are they located?
• How much should I charge?
• What will it cost me to run my business?
• How much will I make (i.e., estimated revenue, fixed costs, direct costs, net profit)?
• How will I let people know what I have to offer?
• How can I get to meet people who may be potential clients?
• What should I do if I am asked to do work that is beyond my capability?
• Who are my competitors?
• Who already does what I do?
• What are their strengths and weaknesses?
• What else could people do as an alternative to spending time and money to get advice from me?
What aspects of the management principles will I use in my business?
• Project management (Do I know enough about how to set-up and manage each client, and my business, on a ‘project’ basis?)
• Change management (Do I understand the deeply rooted behavioural responses of people to change in their lives and at work? Do I have sound strategies to help them cope, and to enable a solution to be implemented?)
• Quality management (Do I have a clear view of what service quality in consulting means, and the level that is appropriate for me to provide? Do I understand that there is both a cost for providing a quality service, and a cost for not providing it?)
• Benefits management (Am I really committed to ensuring that my clients both identify and realise the benefits of the planned change resulting from implementing the proposed solution?)
• Legal issues (Do I know where the dangers are in giving advice and in contractual arrangements as a consultant? How will I avoid the potential losses that can occur through ignorance and poor management?)
Growth Plan (assuming all goes well, wheredoI go from here?)
• What new business will I go after?
• Is it time to respond to tenders?
• Should I add new services, staff, and offices?
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