Four Papers

  • Week two assignments due February 17, 2019
  • Part one

#1. Course Objectives:

  • Refine your business concept (if applicable).
  • Develop the business plan and understand all key components required for success development and implementation


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Review the Business Plan comparison, including the examples provided, on the Small Business Administration site found at:


  • Compare and contrast a traditional Business Plan with a Business Model Canvas.  What are the pros and cons of each?  Which do you think would work best for your proposed business and why?
  • Use credible sources with in-text citations and create a references page.
  • Write a brief one-page paper following APA 6th guidelines.
  • Part two

Course Objective:

  • Develop the business plan and understand all key components required for successful development and implementation

Business Plan Project

You will be completing a traditional Business Plan and a Business Model Canvas. An accompanying video pitch presentation is OPTIONAL.

Instructions for traditional Business Plan:

  • This assignment DOES NOT need to be in APA format.
  • It should be formatted in an attractive way so as to bring attention to your document.
  • Review template at:
  • You will, however, need to keep track of any resources/sources used within the paper and submit a REFERENCES page as an Appendix (part of same document) — this will be formatted according to APA 6th standards.
  • Complete the following sections:
  1. Company Description.

III. Products & Services.

  1. Marketing Plan.

SWOT Analysis

Competitor Data/Competitive Analysis

Instructions for Business Model Canvas:

Review the Business Model Canvas Instructions AND Template found at:

For this week, you will still complete the worksheets noted above but will also fill in the following sections on the Business Model Canvas:

  • Key Partners
  • Key Activities
  • Key Resources
  • Value Propositions

Note: If it is requiring payment just do the assignment and discuss the pros and cons of using the traditional business plan vs any type of business model canvas (in general).

  • Week Three Home Work Assignment due February 20, 2019


Course Objectives:

(7) Assess your market opportunities

Forum Prompt:

  1. Complete the Target Market Worksheet on page 22 of Simple Steps for Starting Your Business.
  2. Complete the Competitor Data Collection Plan on page 24 of Simple Steps for Starting Your Business
  3. Complete the Competitive Comparison Worksheet on page 26 of Simple Steps for Starting Your Business
  4. In your Forum post, share what you’ve learned about your Target Market and your potential Competition for your proposed business.


  • Week Three Home Work Assignment due February 24, 2019

Course Objective:

  • Analyze your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats (aka SWOT analysis)
  • Assess your market opportunities



  • Complete a SWOT Analysis worksheet for your proposed business using the SWOT Analysis Worksheet.



Expert Answers


Week 2 Assignments: Part One

Traditional Business Plan vs. Business Model Canvas

These two documents are developed by individuals or teams wishing to start business ventures. A traditional business plan is developed through the collection of information necessary to justify the individual’s or team’s assumptions about the opportunity, the problem, the solution, the market size, and the competition. It involves a lot of information, including sales forecasts and financial statements (SBA, n.d.). A business model canvas, on the other hand, focuses on the development and testing of the selected business model and is usually presented in a short document that describes how the team will create, capture, and deliver value (Ovans, 2015). It also explains the various interactions between the various sections of the team or company. The major difference between the two documents is the level of detail (SBA, n.d.). While a business model canvas may only be a single page of information, a traditional business plan may be very long, depending on the relevant information. Besides the level of detail, a business plan is static while a business canvas is dynamic (Hong & Fauvel, 2013), a difference which has implications on the time period spent in the development of the documents and the time spent in building the business idea.

A business plan generally plots the economics of a business for a long period of time, say five years, which often involves a lot of assumptions and guessing. The plan needs to include a lot of information to back the assumptions. A business canvas takes shorter time trying to back up information provided since it acknowledges the fact that assumptions are just assumptions. It focuses on testing the assumptions made to either confirm them or adjust them accordingly (Ovans, 2015). A business plan helps the team to think strategically about the business and provides structure since it necessitates that the business owner documents their expectations and assumptions about the future of the business. On the other hand, a business canvas is more visual and dynamic, focusing more on the key activities and testing assumptions than on the expected or projected results (Hong & Fauvel, 2013). For these reasons, I believe that both documents are important when starting a business. I think preparing both documents would be good for my proposed business.


Hong, Y. C., & Fauvel, C. (2013). Criticisms, variations and experiences with business model      canvas.

Ovans, A. (2015). What is a business model. Retrieved July 5, 2016.

SBA. (n.d.). Write your business plan. Retrieved February 16, 2019, from

Week 2 Assignments: Part Two



Company Mission Statement

To provide sustainable food security through supplementing the local foods provided in the local market.

Company Philosophy and Vision

Our values: Our company’s culture is based on customer service excellence and working together as a family. Our core values include honesty, openness, integrity, service, innovation, community, transparency, and accountability.

Our vision: To guarantee food security in the country through the provision of quality, nutritional, healthy, and affordable food products to the public.

Company Goals

Our company aims to provide nutritional food products to supplement the already existing food products in the local market. The main objective of the company is to ensure that food security in the country is achieved. The company also aims to improve the health of citizens through the provision of quality, highly nutritional foods. Our goal is to provide affordable nutritionally-rich foods to the citizens. We aim to assure food quality, to meet the required food standards, and to eliminate and sustain the current food deficits in the local market.



Target Market

The primary target market is made up of local food retailers and consumers across the country. Food retailers provide a large market for any form of imported food products.


The food industry in the country comprises of businesses and companies dealing with food and nutritional products importation, distribution, and sale. Many of the firms in the industry are involved in local trade. The industry has been growing at a steady rate since 2015, with the population of the country and the Gross Domestic Product growing. With continuous population growth, the amount of food required to feed the country is ever increasing, providing a good opportunity for our company to establish business and grow. With a population of approximately 4.8 million people in 2018 (Statista, 2019), investing in the food and nutritional products industry is a lucrative opportunity in Liberia. Sustained economic growth, developments in education, and improvement in the living standards of people have led to health and fitness awareness, with people looking for nutritional and healthy food products. The possibility of success is very high in the country.

Legal Structure

The company will be a sole proprietorship, at least during startup. With continuous growth, the legal structure of the company may change. With a sole proprietorship, it shall be easy to centrally manage all the business activities and use my expertise in providing direction to the employees.



The purpose of the company is to provide sustainable food security through the supplementation of the local food products available in the local market. The company primarily focuses on the provision of nutritional food products. As such, the company will provide various food products in the local market, including rice, fish, fruits, and other food products that are in deficit in the local market. We shall derive a competitive advantage from the provision of products that have a high demand and by the provision of high-quality products. The regulation of prices will be based on the market demand and supply curves, and we shall act as the middleman between the international food products suppliers and the local food products retailers.


The food industry in the country is at the growth stage, with several food production firms and food retailers joining the industry every day. Many of the firms in the industry are involved in local trade and the industry has been growing at a steady rate over the years. The population of the country and the Gross Domestic Product continue to grow (Statista, 2019). Continuous population growth means that the amount of food required to feed the country is ever increasing, which provides a good opportunity for our company to establish itself in the market and grow. The country has a population of approximately 4.8 million people (as at 2018). The total quantity of food produced in the country is not sufficient to feed the growing population. Therefore, the idea of sourcing food products from international suppliers and selling them to local retailers is lucrative.

A few barriers to entry exist in the industry. The cost of starting up is quite high. In addition, the company might face brand recognition challenges and high registration costs. The marketing costs may also be quite high, considering that the company is new. With investor funding, however, these challenges and barriers may be overcome.

SWOT Analysis


1.      Quality, internationally-sourced food products.

2.      High-nutritious food products.

3.      Low production cost.

4.      Qualified/competent workforce.


1.      Brand recognition challenges.

2.      High costs of transportation.

3.      High marketing costs.

4.      Modest advertising and promotion budget.


1.      A growing population – a large market.

2.      Increased demand for healthier food products.

3.      Provision of food products to local food manufacturers.


1.      Competition from foreign companies.

2.      Uncertain economic environment.

3.      The rising cost of food as a result of increased agricultural costs and climate change.

4.      Technology changes that may result in the local production of cheaper GM Foods.



The company will face minimal competition as most of the businesses in the industry focus on providing food products that are produced locally to the customers. Since our company will focus on providing food products to retailers from international traders and suppliers, there will be minimal competition. The company will play the role of a middleman between the local food products retailers and the international suppliers, bridging the gap that currently exists between them. Any competition that the company will face my only come from international companies that may be interested in selling their products directly to the local retailers in Liberia.


Statista. (2019). Liberia: Growth Rate of the Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 2012 to 2022 (Compared to the Previous Year). The Statistics Portal. Retrieved from

Statista. (2019). Liberia: Estimated Total Population from 2012 to 2022 (in million inhabitants). The Statistics Portal. Retrieved from


Week 3 Part 1


Target Market Worksheet

Target Markets Local food products retailers.
Channel Position Personal selling

Direct marketing



Sales agents.

Key Demographics A high volume of spending

Retailers of different food products.

Buying Habits Pricing

Company reputation



Market Size and Share The entire national market – minimal competition



Competitor Data Collection Plan

Business SWAT UCI Fouta Corporation
Price High High Average
Features Upscale High quality Customer oriented
Size/Profitability International

High margins


High margins


High margins

Market Strategy Premium quality products Premium quality products Affordable products


Competitive Comparison Worksheet

Name My business:


Competitor 1:


Competitor 2:


Competitor 3:

Fouta Corporation

Benefits/Features Focus on affordability (+).

Quality products (+).

Fast delivery (+).

Premium quality products (+).

Well-established distribution channel (0).

Premium quality products (+).

Good reputation (+).

Affordable products (+).

Good reputation (+).

Well-established product distribution network (0).

Pricing Low affordable pricing (+). High pricing (-) Affordable pricing (+) Affordable pricing (+)
Sales Size/Mix 120,000MT per year 100,000MT per year 100,000MT per year 70,000MT per year
Market Strategy Premium quality and affordable products Premium product quality High-quality products Affordable pricing
Business Model Importer and distributor Importer and distributor Importer and distributor Importer, distributor, and retailer
Location Local local local Local


Forum Post

After conducting market research on the various competitors in the industry, I identified three main competitors in the business of rice importation and the importation of other agricultural products in the country. these three companies account for more than 90 percent of the country’s total rice imports: SWAT and UCI import approximately 100,00MT of rice every year, while Fouta Corporation brings in approximately 70,000MT of rice (Kamara et al., 2011). SWAT has a very strong financial position in the industry. The company mostly sells rice (5 percent broken kernels) but also manages a supermarkets chain, the Harbel supermarkets, which provide an avenue for marketing its products. UCI mainly sells 100 percent broken kernels and its sister company, Group Carre d’Or / SDTM, is the largest rice importer in Cote d’Ivoire. Fouta Corporation is the third largest rice importer in Liberia, bringing in about 70,000 metric tons into the country every year.

Fouta corporation is part of the larger Conex Group J.V, which is the largest business group in the country, and Fouta Corporation is the largest local or indigenous import-export organization in the country (Tsimpo & Wodon, 2008). The company also imports sugar. These companies are already well-established in the country, with a good reputation and well-established product distribution networks. They have been in the business for many years, and have a ready market for their products. As such, the three companies will pose a lot of competition for my business. In order to ensure that my business remains competitive and performs well in the market, the marketing and pricing strategies have to be carefully selected. An evaluation of the level of competitive forces, using Porter’s model (Porter, 2008), will be very helpful in the determination of the right strategies to achieve a competitive advantage over the competitors in the market.



Porter, M. E. (2008). The five competitive forces that shape strategy. Harvard business review, 86(1), 25-40.

Tsimpo, C., & Wodon, Q. (2008). Rice prices and poverty in Liberia. The World Bank.


Week Three Homework Assignment

SWOT Analysis Worksheet

The following is an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) facing the Pro-poor Group of Companies Food Import Company:

Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats  
Product/ Service Offering Low pricing of the products, attracting a large market. The product will be new in the market, necessitating intense marketing. High demand for rice in the country. Already established competitor products in the market.  
Brand/ Marketing Experienced marketing personnel.


A good relationship with suppliers and retailers.

Lack of a well-established and reputable brand.


Lack of a well-established distribution network.

Capitalizing on social media marketing to reach a wider market.


Employing marketing executives with vast marketing experiences.

Strong brands in the market, such as those belonging to SWAT.  
Staff/ HR A visionary and ambitious chief executive officer. The high cost of hiring experienced employees and leaders. Employing employees who are hardworking and who share the vision of the company. Competitors with experienced leaders and staff members.  
Finance Knowledge in finance management. Limited capital and other cash flow problems.


Difficulties accessing additional capital.

Establishment of strategic alliances with suppliers and distributors to minimize costs. Difficulties in finances acquisition.  
Operations/ Management Proper organizational structure for effective management. Lack of experienced staff in operations management. Employing qualified operations managers. The high cost of managing countrywide operations.  
Market A good understanding of the target market’s needs. The high cost of conducting market research. Conducting continuous market research and surveillance to identify the performance of the product. A probability of market resistance towards a new product.  
Can any of your strengths help with improving your weaknesses or combating your threats?  If so, please describe how below.
 The weakness of not having a familiar product brand in the market will be countered through intense marketing and the low-pricing approach. The weakness of not having well-experienced management and experienced will be tackled by employing experienced employees and having a visionary and experienced CEO. The challenge of not having adequate funds will be handled through strategic alliances or arrangements with international rice suppliers and local retailers. The threat of competition from established companies will be mitigated through the provision of high-quality food products and through proper marketing.
Based on the information above, what are your immediate goals/next steps?
 The immediate goals for this venture are to access additional capital from investors and other financiers, to hire a qualified and experienced workforce, to identify my suppliers, to establish relations with the customers (local retailers), and to set up the company’s headquarters and warehouses across the country.
Based on the information above, what are your long-term goals/next steps?
The long-term goals of the company are to establish and build a strong, reputable brand in the country, to provide high quality and affordable food products in the country, to establish healthy and strong relationships with international suppliers and customers, and to make profits for the company’s stockholders. The company also aims to venture in the importation and distribution of other food products, besides rice, in the future.


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