Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

Business Plan Elements

In order for a plan to be accepted into the Quinlan Social Enterprise, it must be focused on social enterprise and meet the definition listed in the above “What is Social Enterprise?” section.  The decision of the judges in this regard is final.  If that initial hurdle is met, the judges will then evaluate all eligible business plans against the following criteria.

In evaluating these elements, the viability of the organization as presented in the business plan, the perceived ability of management to implement and achieve the business plan, and whether the organization has a legitimate chance of being successful will be substantial factors in the judges’ overall evaluation of the business plan.

General Business Plan Elements:

  • Executive Summary: Is it clear, exciting, and effective as an overall summary of the business plan? Does it pique the interest of the reader as a bona fide business or nonprofit opportunity?
  • Social Enterprise Description: A description of the organization and the common good that is furthered by this particular organization must be described in detail.

  • Organizational Background: Does the plan describe the purpose of the organization, its history, the genesis of the business concept, its overall strategy, and the culture and values of the organization?

  • Business Concept/Business Model: Does the plan describe the features and benefits of the product or services brought to the market?  Does it address the potential factors that stand in the way of success?
  • Industry: Does the plan describe the attractiveness or lack thereof of the industry in which the organization intends to compete?

  • Competition:  Does the plan adequately describe the current nature of the competition in that industry?

  • Target Audience: Does the plan describe target customer, the needs of that customer group, and the manner in which those needs will be met by the organization?

  • Operations: Is there a plan for the production/delivery of the product or services? Have the issues of margins, operational complexity, resource requirements, technology, intellectual property, and operations/delivery/supply chain practices and procedures been appropriately addressed?

  • Market Analysis & Strategy: Is there an analysis of the market, needs identification, customer profiles, potential market share, selling premise, demographic trends and the regulatory environment?  Is there a competitive analysis and plan for addressing unexpected events?

  • Sales: How will the organization sell its goods or services to its customers? Is there an appropriate sales and promotional strategy?

  • Management/Human Resources: What are the backgrounds and expertise of key individuals? Are they equipped to address the strategic needs of the organization? What are the personnel needs of the business, and what is the appropriate organizational structure?

  • Risks: Are financial and non-financial risks addressed? Are external risks (e.g., interest rates, unemployment, economic growth, etc.) addressed? Are unexpected events and the business’s potential responses to them addressed? What is the impact on customers and competitive advantage if these risks materialize?

  • Capital:  Are the capital needs of the organization adequately addressed?  Is the likelihood of investors or other entities investing in the organization adequately addressed?

  • Financials: A balance sheet, cash flow statement, and income statement reflecting the first three years’ financial performance of the organization, as well as a break-even analysis, must be presented.  Are they presented in a form that is easily read and understood? Are they consistent with good accounting principles? Are they effective in capturing projected financial performance? Are the assumptions made in the plan realistic and reasonable? Do they indicate that the team has a solid understanding of the financial requirements of the business?