Saint Louis University

Have a Business Plan/Feasibility Study Done

Saint Louis University students have a national reputation for excellence in crafting business plans and feasibility studies. The plans for successful local businesses like Slackers, TKO DJs, and Akermin came from our classes, as did plans for Sprint's original retail cellphone stores and several industrial products for Solutia. The deadline for submitting an application to be considered for a student-done business plan or feasiblity study is Monday, August 29, 2011 for the Fall Semester and Monday, January 2, 2012 for the Spring Semester.

We recommend entrepreneurs or managers seeking a plan to review this webpage, and the example proposal (download here) to get a complete idea about the requirements. Typically, students have multiple opportunities to work on plans for others, so preparing a proposal has elements of informing and elements of selling.

To see the results of our students' efforts, you can view an example of a SLU-developed feasibility study, click here. For a business plan example, click here. [Both of these examples are being published as part of our McGraw Hill textbook Entrepreneurial Small Business, Third  Edition other plans have been published in Gale's Business Plans Handbook.]

We are always open to offering our students a chance to work on plans for existing or new businesses. We depend on the business community to help us identify good prospects. What makes a particular business plan or feasibility study good?

  1. The client is willing to teach: The entrepreneur or manager behind the request needs to be willing to take the time to work with the students, teaching them about business, even as the students are working for the business.
  2. The client is willing to open up: The entrepreneur or manager behind it has to be willing to share inside information with the students to help them understand the business and industry, and put together plans that are realistic.
  3. The job has to be well-defined: Students have at most 10 weeks to work, and having a clear goal in mind helps determine if the work can be done in the time available, organize the work and know what is important as they work. The clearer you can be about what you want, the better off everyone will be.
  4. You need to be willing to let the judges see the plan: One major benefit of having a plan done at SLU is that we are able to bring some of the top entrepreneurs and experts in the nation into our classrooms to work with student teams as judges and mentors. We work with you to pick judges with whom you are comfortable, but in the end, those people and the other students will see and hear about your idea in our classes. Neither SLU nor our students will sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreements) as part of the project.

For most projects, students will develop a full-scale draft by mid-semester and present it to a panel of judges including the faculty and outside experts. They will get detailed feedback and will have the remainder of the semester to revise the report. You will get to see the report throughout the process, but you won't get the report formally until the send of the semester.

Feasibility Studies: For start-ups and very small businesses seeking a feasibility study, the entrepreneur is expected to make a contribution to the Entrepreneurship Program of $1000, typically provided in two $500 checks at the beginning of the study. Clients who do a good job of working with the students get back one of the $500 checks at the end of the study. For other businesses, the expected contribution is $2500. Feasibility studies for charities and non-profits are always free, as are studies done for the student's employer, family or self. When there are unusual costs (e.g. commercial-grade surveys, specialized database searches, reports available only at commercial rates) the client is expected to pay those costs, after giving purchase approval.

Business Plans: For start-ups and very small businesses, the entrepreneur is expected to make a $1500 contribution to the Entrepreneurship Program. This typically consists of two $750 checks provided at the beginning of the study. Clients who do a good job of working with the students get back one of the $750 checks at the end of the study. For other businesses, the expected contribition for a business plan is $5000. Feasibility studies for charities and non-profits are always free, as are studies done for the student's employer, family or self. When there are unusual costs (e.g. commercial-grade surveys, specialized database searches, reports available only at commercial rates) the client is expected to pay those costs, after giving purchase approval.

For additional information on commissioning a business plan or feasibility study, contact Prof. Jerome Katz ( katzja@slu.edu).

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