Module: Entrepreneurship Responsibility:
Unit 2: The Business Plan—Part 1 Business Plan Committee
CEO and VPs
Virtual Enterprise students will research business Weeks 3-8 for a 10-hour program
opportunities and participate in the development/ Weeks 6-12 for a 5-hour program
revision of a business plan. (Must comply with
national Virtual Enterprise format for
Lesson Create the SWOT Analysis and discuss the economic conditions and business
Objective(s): risks for the selected business opportunity.
A SWOT analysis is a tool used to audit an organization and its environment. This framework helps
you to focus your activities in areas where you are strong and where the greatest opportunities lie. It
is the first stage of planning and helps marketers to focus on key issues. It provides a good
framework for reviewing strategy, position and direction of a company or business proposition, or
any idea. This analysis should be used to build on strengths, resolve weaknesses, exploit
opportunities, and avoid threats.
Internal Audit—Inside the Firm
Strengths—A firm’s resources and capabilities that can be used as a basis for developing a
Strengths Examples of Strengths
What advantages do you have? Strong brand names
What do you do well? Good reputation among customers
What relevant resources are accessible Favorable access to distribution networks
What do other people see as your Convenient location
Weaknesses—List of areas where the company might struggle. Also included are the absences of
certain strengths which may be viewed as weaknesses. Do not use lack of training or expertise of
employees as a weakness. Companies would not hire a person for a position unless they have the
knowledge, background and skills needed to perform the job well.
Weaknesses Examples of Weaknesses
Do customers recognize your brand Weak brand name
What is your reputation in community? Poor reputation among customers
What is your cost structure? High cost structure
Do you have access to primary Lack of access to key distribution
distribution channels? channels
External Audit—Outside the Firm
Opportunities—Areas that may reveal new opportunities for profit and growth.
Opportunities Examples of Opportunities
What is going on in the world that may Changes in technology and markets
contribute to your success?
What are the interesting trends in your Local events
Does your product meet a currently Changes in social patterns, population
unfulfilled customer need profiles, lifestyle changes, etc.
Has the government recently removed or Loosening of regulations
modified any international trade barriers
Threats—Changes in the external environment which may present threats to the company.
Threats Examples of Threats
What obstacles do you face? Shifts in consumer tastes away from
What is your competition doing? New government (local, state, federal)
Is changing technology threatening your Emergence of substitute products
What changes in the economy will impact Increases in interest rates, high
the company? unemployment, high gasoline prices, etc.
Discussion of Business Risks
Risks Identified—Possible areas where the business may be in jeopardy of reaching stated
goals. What could happen (inside or outside the company) that inhibit your company from
reaching its goals?
Risks Addressed—Clear evidence of understanding of identified risks and feasible
solution/strategy proposed to eliminate or reduce risk. What could your company to minimize
or reduce risk?
*Extracted in part from “United States Network of Virtual Enterprises National Business Plan Competition” with explanations from SCVEN.
What you need to do and how to do it:
Use the Market Analysis (Lesson 3) information, the website resources, and the SWOT Analysis
Worksheet to help create/revise the SWOT Analysis of the business plan using the guidelines above.
Make sure you have documentation of your analysis. For example:
If you are selling cars, an increase in interest rates may affect sales because customers will need to
pay more to borrow money to purchase a car. What documentation have you found that indicates an
increase in interest rates will substantiate your statement? (ie., economic forecast, auto sales
information based on previous increases in interest rates, etc.)
For the discussion of business risks, identify your business risks and explain how you would
eliminate or minimize these risks. Investors want to know you are prepared to react in a positive way
to potential risks.
SWOT Analysis SWOT Analysis Rubric
Economic Conditions and Business Risks
Materials Needed: SWOT Analysis Worksheet
Market Analysis (Lesson 3) information
Eggland, Steven S., Les R. Dlabay, and James L. Burrow. Intro to Business. 5th ed. Cincinnati:
Greene, Cynthia L. Entrepreneurship Ideas in Action. 2nd ed. Cincinnati: South-Western, 2004.
Townsley, Maria. Survivor’s Guide to Small Business. Cincinnati: Thomson South-Western, 2003