BPD2100 - International Business Challenge (IBC-2)
Assessment 2: Business Case
(Maximum 12 pages not counting Business Cover Letter, Executive Summary, References and Appendices)
DUE – WEEK 11
Assessment 2: Overview
As a team between 4 team members, you will develop and write a Business Case for a new international business initiative. Please note that company/ organisation is selected by you or by your lecturer, and subsequently is approved by your lecturer.
The selected company/ organisation and your unique business idea must encompass business initiatives/projects or community based activities or partnerships, etc. that will enhance its immediate or longer term business performance and profitability. Furthermore, your unique business idea for the business case must enhance company/ organisation corporate image as a socially responsible citizen. In addition, the selected organisation must be large enough to have a comprehensive public website and information base (including public access to annual and other financial and non-financial reports), as well as being large enough to support a diverse range of activities.
The focus of your business case and presentation is on justifying the merit and viability of your business case and making a sales pitch to internal funding authorities. You should assume your organisation has allocated a total ‘pool’ of $5m in seed funding for these projects and expects to fund several projects out of the $5m. You are in competition with the other teams for a share of this funding and the senior management will decide how many projects can be funded depending on the merit of the business case and the funding required. It is expected most business cases would require seed funding in the range of $250,000 to $1m. The seed-funding is only available for up to three (3) years and projects requiring more than $1m need to be approved by your lecturer.
You will discuss the nature of the business case in seminar activities,
but it is important that your business case has the following characteristics:
1. It must be an example for which your team can reasonably research and develop a business case and ultimately develop a detailed project management plan to implement it. Thus, your business case needs to very clearly defined and quite specific. It needs to be large enough to require significant resources (people and physical resources) and yet not so large or technical to be beyond the capacity of your team to develop a detailed management plan to implement it. For example, any business case that involve design and manufacturing of new products should be considered carefully as to whether there is enough knowledge and expertise in the team to be able to research what is needed to work out the detailed planning and costing information needed to implement the design and manufacturing of a new product.
2. It must be an international business initiative which must have an Asian focus. It must cross international borders between Australia and Asia or between two Asian countries or between Asia and the rest of the world. This could include:
• Business expansion from one country to another
• Exporting or importing a new product or service from one country to another
• Modification to an existing service/product offered from one to another country
• Taking an existing service or product to a new market overseas
• Multi-stage development of a new product or service across more than one country
• Organising a business or CSR related event in another country
• International partnership or joint venture opportunity
3. It must be the business case which is in-line with the mission and objectives of your organisation and will improve the short or long term bottom line of the business. It must also have an element of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Thus, it must be expected to make a positive contribution to the chosen organisation’s profit and its image as a responsible corporate citizen by having at least an element of the venture that is in some way good for the community, employees and/or the environment.
4. Your TEAM is assumed to be part of your nominated organisation. All of your business case team are assumed to be existing graduate “employees” of that organisation, and the cost of employing each member of your team on at least a part time basis is one of the costs to be included in the budget for your project. Your business case needs to demonstrate that the case is in-line with mission and objectives of your organisation and will be potentially good for the business.
What your team needs to do to begin researching your business case…..
1. Research the background of your selected organisation and the nature of its business and its mission and objectives and its current operations and its business and CSR activities.
2. Review the organisation’s website and, where available, the annual report and press reports to understand the nature and diversity of its business activities and to see how it already discharges its corporate social responsibilities.
3. Researching for the selected countries that include cultural norms, custom and perceptions, laws, international business reputation, potential risks, government initiatives, political environment, economic environment and free trade agreements.
4. Source and evaluate ideas for your initiative by reading literature on corporate social responsibility and by researching to find examples of similar activities already being undertaken by your organisation, its competitors, or even by other organisations in different industries.
5. Conduct research using academic texts, databases, and relevant government, community, or business based websites into entrepreneurship, business development or corporate social responsibility. This may provide further ideas and information.
6. Research more widely to try to identify possible products, services or community projects which may be appropriate. For example you could do one or more of the following:
• Look for innovative ventures, services, products or events responding to changing demographics or other local or international trends;
• Analyse current or future changes in customer desires and preferences, concerns about climate change, energy costs and availability, ethical, social or cultural issues, etc.
• Conduct a survey, interview organisation managers, industry experts, community leaders, suppliers, etc.
Format of submission…..
In professional life you often will be required to follow a prescribed format, whether prescribed by your own organisation or by a potential client requesting a tender document or a funding organisation. Tenders, consultancy briefs, finance applications and internal project funding applications will often have very specific formats depending on the organisation, so learning to deal with specific format requirements is an important part of the learning objectives of this task.
In this case you must follow the template requirements below and your team’s adherence to these requirements will be part of the assessment criteria. Each team member is responsible for meeting these requirements: it needs to be a team effort and should not be allocated to one team member.
• Use margins of 2cm and ensure pages are numbered.
• 12 point Arial Narrow font for the body of the text
• Single spacing with blank line before and after headings and between paragraphs
• Adopt and use a consistent style for headings and subheadings in terms of how you use larger font size, bolding, italics or underlining, and consistent spacing before and after headings. Set up your heading styles so you can create a Table of Contents with automatic page numbering. (Search Word help menus if you don’t already know how to do this).
• As part of the final proofread make sure all page breaks are in appropriate places in the body of the report, and that each appendix commences on a new page.
• Your assignment submission including all associated attachments must in a single pdf file and must not exceed 5mb.
Format and content requirements:
1. Cover Page with business case name, team name, team motto, individual’s team names and VU student IDs for every student.
2. Business Cover Letter – provide an introduction of your business case and your team to the reader
3. Executive Summary
• This is the last part to be written as it has to be a one-page summary of the key elements of your business case, designed to catch the attention of the reader and to give them critical information about the project and its merits. It must contain no new information that is not in the body of the plan.
• Your aim should be to summarise in one page what the project is, why it will good for the business, why it will enhance the organisation’s CSR profile, what it will cost and why the organisation should provide the necessary seed funding to get it started. The executive summary needs to convince the reader that the project is credible and worthwhile for the organisation and make the reader want to look at the rest of the document to see the detail.
• A really good executive summary is critical for a winning business case, as it gives the reader important early impression of the rest of the document. The best executive summaries will carefully summarise the key selling points of their business case and the financial projections and be credible enough to make the ‘business decision maker’ feel confident with the content of the body of the report, before they even read it. That is why it has to be the very last thing you write when everything else is complete. It should be the most professional and the most convincing summary you can possibly make.
4. Table of contents (with automatic page numbering)
5. Introduction and background to the business case
• Overview of your business case - i.e. explain the nature of the business opportunity and exactly what is seeking to do. There can be no ambiguity or “maybe’s” about what you intend to do so the nature and scope of the business case must be decided and agreed before you write this section.
• Provide very brief overview of the organisation’s existing business activities and the business environment in which it operates and an overview of its existing CSR activities. Explain how the business case fits in the context of its existing business and CSR activities.
• Provide a brief analysis of the opportunity for your business venture. Demonstrate your research with well-chosen and relevant citations.
6. Business case definition and scope
a. Nature of the business venture. Provide a crystal-clear explanation of exactly what your business venture is and what will be done.
b. Business Case Aim - clearly state the overall aim of your business case and how it fits with the organisation’s mission statement. Your aims should incorporate both business and CSR elements.
c. Business Case Scope (inclusions and exclusions). Explain and justify decisions to restrict either the nature or size of the business venture or the time frame for the project.
7. Feasibility analysis
• Provide a market analysis for the selected country in your business case. This should include the nature of the industry, competition, and other relevant marketing information such as market segmentation, past and future trends related to your industry and to your business case. Include supporting market research information about potential customers, suppliers, competitors and future trends to justify your business case.
• Provide an appraisal of the external environment (SWOT analysis) to identify any risks or threats that might confront the organisation if it adopts your business case. Briefly explain any opportunities that might arise from the new business initiative being proposed AND an internal appraisal of the capacity of the organisation and your project team to successfully deliver the objectives of your business initiative - i.e. do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. Identify key issues emanating from SWOT.
• Establish relevant macro-environmental factors relating to your business case using the PESTEL (political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal) analysis. Both SWOT and PESTEL analysis must be supported by the evidence of research.
• Justify the feasibility of your business initiative from a practical point of view. Identify what are the logistical and operational issues that may impact on the success of your business case.
8. Business Case stakeholders and stakeholder analysis
Use the template to identify key stakeholders and their respective interests in the project. Explain any implications of your stakeholder analysis for the management of the project and support by the evidence of research.
9. Program Logic Model
List between 4-6 SMART objectives in total and develop a comprehensive Program Logic Model using the template provided in VU Collaborate.
Program Logic Model essential criteria:
• Each objective must satisfy the SMART criteria; it must be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.
• Each objective should be one sentence long and SMART in its own right.
• Each objective must be linked to the activities needed to achieve those objectives and how the success of each activity can be measured.
• Objectives should include at least one operational objective, one marketing objective, one financial objective and one CSR objective.
• All objectives must be specific enough to be measurable, but together they must define the measurable criteria for the success of the entire business case.
• Clear links must be provided between each objective and activities, activities and outputs and outputs and outcomes.
• Develop a comprehensive list of the resources required for the tasks as listed in your Program Logic Model and Gantt Chart. Try to quantify and provide specific details for each resource including cost indications. This must be consistent with the project schedule.
• Prepare a well-constructed resource list under the following sub-headings (annotated/referenced as appropriate to show basis for human and physical resources required):
• Design and prepare a table to show a breakdown of how many people will be needed and for how long and with what qualifications or experience. For each person or category of people indicate on what basis will they be employed (full time or part time employment contract, casual etc). If using subcontractors instead of, or in addition to employees, indicate how many and for how long. Clearly annotate as appropriate to show basis for human resources required.
• Design and prepare a table to provide a comprehensive list of physical resources needed including premises, furniture, equipment, vehicles, materials etc. Quantify your requirements for each item in physical terms and provide appropriate units (not monetary values). Clearly annotate as appropriate to show basis for physical resources required.
11. Gantt Chart
• In the body of the document provide a brief summary and rationale of major tasks/activities required to complete your project. Work out which tasks are sequential or dependent on the completion of other tasks and which ones can be done concurrently. These need to link with the previous elements of the business case, while starting/ finishing times and duration of all activities must be realistic.
• Prepare a comprehensive Gantt Chart using the excel spreadsheet template. The Gantt Chart must include all identified tasks as per the program logic model and associated timelines. The final copy of the Gantt Chart to be submitted in the excel spreadsheet on a separate worksheet alongside with the budget.
12. Budget (using Excel spreadsheet with calculated cells)
Using summaries for Human and Physical resources conduct research and identify exact cost for each resource is required in your business case. You must ensure that each figure in your budget is appropriately referenced and/ or explained, while using in-text and a full reference approach according to the Harvard Style of referencing. Subsequently develop budget using the template provided in ‘VU Collaborate’.
• Provide summary of financial projections of income and expenditure and expected return on initial investment based on your comprehensive budget developed in the excel spreadsheet. The financial projections should indicate how much seed funding is required from the organisation to start the business case and estimates of future costs and income for the duration of the business case. Amounts for all estimates must be justified and appropriately referenced. Justification must include clear explanation of calculations and estimates and evidence of research (references) to show where amounts were derived. Provide a clear justification of the viability of your project in terms of its costs and benefits to the organisation and its return on investment. NOTE: These financial figures/ summaries should be drawn from the Excel Budget sections.
Your comprehensive budget that is developed in the excel spreadsheet must account for all human and physical resources to be used in your business case and it should consist of four parts:
a. Immediate once–off costs (and revenues if applicable)
b. Detailed month-by-month budget for one year (or the duration of the business case if less than one year. Make sure you research and include realistic costs and pay rates and include any employee obligations such as superannuation, work cover insurance and payroll tax. You should allow for any likely price increases over time (e.g. increases in wage rates, price increases over time for other resources due to inflation or other influences)
c. Summary budget projections (up to 3 years) based on the above using key categories of income and expenses.
d. Break-even point - identify the number of sales to be made in relevant monetary value or units, before all-inclusive project costs is covered and profit occurs.
NOTE: In the budget excel spreadsheet provide a clear reference citations and annotations for all figures that are listed. These annotations and references can be placed in the footnotes and it must be used to explain and justify calculations and estimates and to show sources of information upon which each of the estimates were based. The budget needs to be consistent with your Program Logic Model, Gantt chart and Tables of Physical and Human Resources. Ensure that your budget makes sense, is legible, and will be easily understood by the reader – you need to be transparent in how the figures are derived and it must look credible in the eyes of an objective reader. You also need to consider format issues including meaningful labels, appropriate spacing and column widths and formatting of numbers (e.g. removing cents).
• Harvard referencing style must be used throughout the business case to correctly acknowledge all sources in the body of your report with a matching entry in the reference list. Show all quotes and in-text citations correctly, especially if you are quoting from websites, which students often neglect. There are many good guides available for how to do correct Harvard referencing including that from the VU library website: http://libraryguides.vu.edu.au/harvard .
• The Reference list must be properly formatted in accordance with Harvard style guide and be in alphabetical order. It must also include details of each reference used in all appendices.
• Demonstrate use of each reference in the Reference list by providing appropriate citations (Harvard Style) throughout the body of the business case. Do NOT use footnotes. Lack of referencing, or lack of care/attention to detail in the formatting of references and in-text citations will be heavily penalised in the marking of the business case.
• References selected must provide evidence of substantial wider reading in recognised academic research publications and journal articles. The use of website material, Wikipedia, or popular press (eg. newspaper), is NOT acceptable.
• Appendix 1: The Project Team
Provide background of each of the business case team by creating a brief narrative statement (one paragraph = 100 words) for each member. The narrative statements are to be consistent in style, and are to be written in the third person, highlighting qualifications and experience of relevance to the business case. The narrative statements are about the experience and capabilities of each person. (They are NOT a description of who did what on the assignment!) (Such capability statements are often a critical element for assessors of business case, tenders and consultancy proposals, and sometimes the first thing decision makers will look at to judge if the team looks capable of delivering the business case.)
Appendix 2: Business Case Methodology
Drawing on the project management literature, use up to two pages to describe the extent to which the approach taken to the management of the project by your team is consistent with current project management theories and practices. You must demonstrate that you have read a variety of sources by providing appropriate citations of sources listed in your references to explain and justify your methodology (at least 3 academic references are required in this section). You can access reference sources outlined in the unit-guide and those in ‘VU Collaborate’, as well as the vast array of project management resources
• Other Appendices – as required
Use additional appendices only if appropriate to support information in the body of the business case. For example, supporting calculations and justifications for your financial estimates, additional country analysis, supporting information for the background to the business case or your organisation or its industry referred to in your introduction or your market analysis. Appendices can be carefully used to ensure you meet the page limits in your business case.
You are required to submit 3 separate files for this assignment: 1. Assignment - Business Case, 2. Budget & Gantt Chart Spreadsheet and 3. Team Peer Evaluation Form.
1. Nominate one student from your team who will submit Assignment 2 as per the instructions below to VU Collaborate’: Assessment Dropbox
2. Record every team member full name, student ID, allocation scores for each team member (team rating), relevant comments on the peer evaluation form and every team member to sign.
3. Assignment ‘Business Case’ including all associated appendices and attachments must be in Portable Document Format (PDF) with the automatic page numbering and must not exceed 5mb.
4. Three files before submitting must be named as: 1. Assig2 – Business Case - Your Team Name, 2. Assig2 – Budget & Gantt Chart - Team Name and 3. Assig2 – Peer Evaluation - Your Team Name
1. Mandatory Turnitin requirement: In accordance with the College of Business guidelines, you must lodge 3 files through the ‘VU Collaborate’: Assessment Dropbox: Assignment 2 - Business Case 1. Business Case (main file), 2. Budget & Gantt Chart Spreadsheet and 3. Team Peer Evaluation Form (signed by all). This process will automatically submit your assignment through Turnitin.
2. Strictly one assignment submission (including 3 files) per each team to be submitted. If more than one submission from any team is submitted, only the first submission will be assessed and marked and the rest will be ignored.
DUE: WEEK 11 – by the starting time of your scheduled class, SHARP! i.e. if your scheduled seminar start at 9am on Monday, this assignment submission must be submitted by 9am on Monday in week 11, at the latest.)
• Are available in ‘VU Collaborate’
Assignment 2: Business Case Marking Rubric
Content HD+ HD D C P N N Low
Cover Page with Automatic Table Of Contents, Cover Letter, Executive Summary and Background of the Business Case HD+
8 + D
6 + P
5 + N
2.5+ N Low
Distinct CSR element, Evidence of International Business Initiative with an Asian Focus, Business Case Definition and Business Case SWOT, PESTEL & Stakeholder Analysis HD+
8 + D
6 + P
5 + N
2.5+ N Low
Feasibility Analysis- Industry, Market, Competitors, Suppliers, Customers, Logistics and Operations HD+
8 + D
6 + P
5 + N
2.5+ N Low
Comprehensive Program Logic Model, Listing all SMART Objectives, Relevant activities, Outputs and Outcomes, Gantt chart HD+
8 + D
6 + P
5 + N
2.5+ N Low
Comprehensive/Relevant Human & Physical Resources, Budget Credible and Based on Human and Physical Resources, Including Immediate/Once Off, Month by Month and 3 Years Summary with Evidence of Research HD+
8 + D
6 + P
5 + N
2.5+ N Low
Appendices: Business Case Project Team, Project Management Methodology and Other Relevant Appendices HD+
8 + D
6 + P
5 + N
2.5+ N Low
Writing, Style & Submission HD+ HD D C P N N Low
Professional Standard of Writing, Spelling, Grammar, Punctuation and Template Requirements: 2cm Margin, 12 Point Arial for Body, Spacing, Consistent Heading Style HD+
8 + D
6 + P
5 + N
2.5+ N Low
Timely Submission - All Submission Requirements are Satisfied as Stated in the Unit Guide HD+
8 + D
6 + P
5 + N
2.5+ N Low
Referencing HD+ HD D C P N N Low
In text References and End References According to Harvard Style. HD+
8 + D
6 + P
5 + N
2.5+ N Low
Quality and the Quantity of the Credible Sources. (Not Web Pages Only) HD+
8 + D
6 + P
5 + N
2.5+ N Low
Overall Score HD+
100 + HD
80 + D
70 + C
60 + P
50 + N
25 + N Low