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eCommPublishing Kit Curriculum Guide

Step 7 Supplement

Business Plan Template (Instructor Version)

What is the Name of your company?

Rug City Student Press

What does your Company expect to accomplish as a result of this Project? Include specific and measurable goals.

Rug City Student Press will publish a book of short stories that are each set in our community of Amsterdam and are written by students of our high school. Our goal is to sell 500 copies of the book at the average unit price of $11.75 each and make a total profit of at least $3,000.

We also want to promote the business and writing intelligence, skills, professionalism, and maturity of the students who attend our high school. By being successful with this project, we have the opportunity to prove to the residents of our community, the colleges we apply to and our future employers that we are learning and developing the skills necessary to function successfully in the workplace.

Still another objective of our Company is to create a product that attempts to accurately describe how living in our community can impact our lives. We believe sharing these stories will bring our community closer together and help us understand each other better.

In addition, our Company will be committed to conducting ourselves at all times in a legal, completely ethical, and highly professional manner so that when the project has been completed, our school, our families, and our community will be proud of what we’ve accomplished and how we accomplished it.

Who is your market for this book?

We will direct our efforts at the following groups of people or market segments:

  • Students in our school – (list quantity)

  • Staff in our school – (list quantity)

  • Students and staff of all other schools in our community – (list approximate quantity)

  • People living in our community/school district – (list total population)

  • People who used to attend our school and/or used to live in our community

What strategies will you use to persuade your market to purchase the book?

  • The goal of our marketing strategy will be to make every individual in each of our market segments personally aware of the story behind the book. Our marketing efforts will emphasize that this is a book about life in our hometown written by the best student writers in our hometown’s high school.

  • Our marketing efforts will be designed to personally involve our market in the production of the Book itself. These will include contests, polls and solicitation of testimonials plus display of reader comments and opinions.

  • We will implement a publicity campaign that will be designed to make our market aware of the plot and setting of each story included in the Book and how they relate to our community. Furthermore, our publicity program will promote the skills and talents of the student authors of these stories

  • We will conduct an aggressive pre-publication sale of the Book, offering a cost savings to those who reserve a copy prior to actual publication.

  • We will expand exposure and distribution of the Book by negotiating with area businesses and organizations to sell the book at their locations and by negotiating with various school groups to sell the books at school events and activities.

What resources and techniques will your Company use to execute these strategies?

  • We will design, create, and maintain an official Web site for the Book and use the site to offer extracts from the Book, as a primary means of communicating with our marketplace, as an online store accepting orders for the Book and as an information center for businesses and organizations interested in selling the Book on our Company’s behalf. A site plan for this Web site will be attached to this Business Plan at a later date.

  • We will create inserts for our school’s morning announcements that remind students and staff of the Book, Book-related events and activities, its authors, and how to purchase a copy.

  • We will write and distribute press releases and letters to the editor describing this project, promoting the Book, its authors, and driving traffic to the Web site on a community-wide basis.

  • We will seek and negotiate business partnerships and distribution arrangements with school and community groups and local businesses that can sell copies of the Book at their respective events and locations.

  • We will create and promote a formal reader’s group or Book Club for the Book and dedicate a page at our Web site to that Group’s activities. We will then conduct a viral marketing campaign by asking all members of the reading club to text message, instant message, or e-mail five Amsterdam residents and five former Amsterdam residents to encourage them to order the Book.

  • We will plan and coordinate interviews and guest appearances for the student authors with local media outlets.

  • We will plan and coordinate readings of the stories by the student authors at various area venues including the Library, at retail outlets selling the book, at a Chamber of Commerce meeting, at a Rotary Club meeting, etc.

  • We will contact the art teachers in all of the other schools in our school district and ask them to assign their students the task of creating a promotional poster for the book. We will then choose a winning design and present the selected artist with a $100 savings bond. We will also pick out the best of the non-winning posters and display them throughout the school district and community.

What kind of workers will your Company need to implement this plan and what types of skills will these workers need?

Our company will create four work teams or departments to complete our plan.

  • Marketing Team

    The Rug City Press Marketing Department will be responsible for developing a strategy that assures every person who could possibly want to buy the Book knows the book exists and is presented with an opportunity to purchase at least one copy. Marketing will identify the market for the Book, design and implement promotions, publicity, advertising and special events for that market, maintain the Company’s Web site, find and negotiate distribution for the book, and analyze the effectiveness of each effort for future planning purposes.

  • Production Department

    The Production Department of Rug City Student Press will be responsible for converting the manuscripts of the five stories that comprise the Book, into a finished, saleable product. This includes all aspects of the book manufacturing process; editing, prepress, printing, and binding. The department will make sure there are enough copies of the book on hand at all sales locations to handle projected and actual market demand. Two of the department’s key responsibilities are cost control and quality control.

  • Finance Department

    The Rug City Student Press Finance Department works with the Management Team to develop the Company’s budget. This department than monitors the ongoing expense and revenue generation activities of the Company and reports its findings with regularly issued financial reports that detail the Company’s balance sheet, cash flow situations, and financial performance versus budget at the time the reports are issued. In complete accordance with all school district policies, the Finance Department will also help oversee the Company’s purchasing process, making sure the products and services purchased and used by the Company are invoiced correctly and paid for in a timely manner. The Finance Department will also make sure all revenues generated from sales of the Book and third-party sponsorships are reported accurately per the requirements of the school district’s policies for such revenues.

  • Management

    This department’s primary responsibility will be to make sure Rug City Student Press has the resources necessary to fulfill its primary business mission. The Management department will consist of the Company President, Vice President, Managers of the company’s Finance, Production and Marketing departments and an Instructor/Advisor. This team will be responsible for documenting and maintaining Rug City’s Business Plan and monitoring the Company’s performance versus the goals established in the plan. If performance lags and targets are being missed, it will be the Management team that leads the effort to analyze what is going wrong and modify the plan accordingly. Management will be responsible for making sure the Company’s three other departments are coordinated to communicate and interact with each other in a productive way. Management Team will be responsible for making sure the Company and all of its workers conduct themselves at all times in a legal, completely ethical, and highly professional manner. Management will have final control of all Company communications, including all Web site, promotional materials, publicity content, and public pronouncements of any kind. Our classroom instructor will be part of the Management Team. Our teacher will make sure the students chosen for this team have good leadership skills, good communications skills and the character and maturity necessary to perform in a responsible way at all times. Students seeking careers in business management, teaching, law, and public administration should consider working on this team.

How will your company pay for the above effort and resources?

  • The students of our class are filling the employee roles and instead of compensation, they are working for academic credit and internship credit.

  • Rug City Student Press will generate all necessary revenues to fund the implementation of this Business Plan from the sale and sponsorship of the Book. A general description of anticipated revenues, expenses, and cash flow is as follows and is detailed in the attached cash flow analysis.

    We are estimating that our company will need to spend $2,120 during our first two weeks of operation to implement our marketing strategy and pay for the printing of the books we will be selling. We will obtain this revenue by selling $300 worth of ads inside the front and rear covers of book to local businesses, and convincing our school district’s Board of Education and/or the officers of the local chapter of the Teachers’ Union to purchase two shares of stock in our Company at a cost of $250 per share.

    We will generate the rest of the start-up money we will need by offering a pre-publication discount of $5.00 to people willing to order the book before it is printed. We expect to sell 150 copies at this pre-publication price of $10 per copy, generating a total of $1,500 of revenue from the pre-publication promotion. The anticipated ad revenue, investment capital and pre-publication sales revenue adds up to $2,300 and will provide the cash needed to pay the expenses our business will have during its first two weeks of operation before we actually have the books to sell.

    We are forecasting that we will then sell an additional 350 copies of this book after the prepublication promotion ends. The Book will list for a price of $15.00 per copy. With discounts for special promotions and third party distribution terms factored in, we expect to realize the net amount of $13.00 per book sold from these 350 sales we expect to make after the pre-publication promotion has ended. This will generate an additional $5,200 of revenue.

    Total anticipated revenues from the sale of the book will therefore be $7,500.00. Total anticipated expenses of our business are $2,175.00. This represents a 71% return on investment. We will then issue a dividend of $177 for each share of outstanding stock and purchase back each share for $250.

What are potential reasons why your Company might fail to achieve the goals of this project? After each potential reason, describe what your Company can do to avoid it from causing the project to fail.

  1. We are not getting enough people to order the Book.

    How to avoid this situation:
    • Two weeks after the Book becomes available for sale, members of the Rug City Student Press marketing department will survey various market segments to find out reasons why people in that group have not yet purchased a copy. Marketing will then analyze the findings of these surveys and develop recommendations to overcome buyer rejections. These recommendations might include reactions such as price modifications or modification of marketing strategy. For example, let’s assume such a survey indicates that students at our high school are not purchasing the Book because they think it is too expensive. The response recommendation might be to try offering a “Student Only Discount.”

  2. One of our work teams or some of our employees are not getting their work done.

    How to avoid this situation:
    • Weekly team meeting will be held to make sure work is getting done according to plan.

    • The management team will attempt to figure out what is causing a team to fall behind and address those specific problems.

    • If a team is falling behind with its work, the management team will respond by lightening the team’s workload or getting additional help for the team.

  3. The newspaper is not printing the press releases we sent them.

    How to avoid this situation:
    • Make sure you find out what the newspaper’s press release publication policy and process are. You can usually find this information at the newspaper’s Web site. If it is not available at the site, call the newspaper and ask for this information.

    • Make sure your News Release follows some general rules. (See the eCommPublish Kit “How-to-Write a Press Release”) Keep it short. Double-space. Write clearly, addressing who, what, where, when and why in the very first couple of paragraphs. Identify who exactly is sending the release and include the name and daytime phone number (with area code) of the individual you want contacted if the Newspaper has questions. This contact-reference should be your Instructor or the student selected as President of your Company. Date the release and indicate that the material is for immediate use.

    • Follow-up calls are effective after submitting a press release. Call as early in the day as possible to avoid calling reporters or editors when they are on deadline. When you do a follow-up call, make sure the person doing the calling is prepared to effectively and accurately respond to additional questions about your project and requests for additional information.

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