Project Everest


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The new handover process and a template for the business plan.

Posted by William Ashford Jun 30, 2017

Over the last few years, Project Everest has experimented with a number of different ways to ensure that organisational knowledge is retained within the business and to ensure that that knowledge is passed from team to team. 

When the majority of the projects were assessment projects, this was conducted with "handover documents"; large documents detailing research findings and suggested next actions. 

This moved on to handover videos when the complexity of the conversations was too great for a single handover document and a lot of Trekkers were simply not engaging in the documents. The caveat of this system is that, as many of the projects approach a time where they need to be prepared for the acquisition of debt or equity finance, written business plans need to be written and developed for prospective creditors and investors and the handover videos simply aren't appropriate for these audiences. 

To prepare for the acquisition of this finance and to minimise the amount of time required by teams to write handover documents, a new system is being trialed. This system is the creation of business plans for each project and the editing of these plans by teams as they work on the development of the projects. 

The advantages of this system are as follows:

  • Following editing by Trekkers, these documents can be shared with prospective creditors and investors for the acquisition of finance.
  • They allow for Trekkers to understand what developments are required on a project, helping to avoid duplication of effort. 
  • For multinational ventures, such as FarmEd, a single business plan allows for economies of scale to be achieved in the writing of these plans. 
  • They allow for staff, Trekkers and external stakeholders to understand each project with greater transparency and greater consistency in internal communications pertaining to and understanding of each project. 

At the commencement of each project, Trekkers need to read and understand the business plan. This will help them to understand what the project is, how the businesses have been developed, and what the next steps are. 

At the conclusion of each project, Trekkers need to amend the existing business plan to reflect their developments and their research. 

There is no requirement to make significant changes to these business plans from team-to-team and if there are no valuable changes to be made, the plan should be left as is. This is because Project Everest is not an assessment exercise. Rather it is an exercise in collaboration and contribution towards a shared goal; the alleviation of poverty through the development of social businesses that address the Sustainable Development Goals. As such, there is no requirement to amend documents for the purpose of mere addition of meaningless words. What is more important is that valuable and viable conntributions are committed to the record. 

The first teams writing these business plans will bear a greater load in their writing than teams in the future. They will have to review the past handover documents and collaborate with their Team Leaders, Group Leaders and Project Everest Staff to ensure that the content is correct and that the structure is appropriate. This burden will be greatest for teams working on more established projects, such as FarmEd and Everest Recycling Solutions. 

These teams have some respite though as there are multiple teams working on these projects. This means that the individual contributions need not be lengthy or burdensome. However, there will be some Team Leaders who will need to show initiative and organise for international and inter-team communication and collaboration on these business plans. 

In order to help you on your way in writing these documents, a basic template for a business plan is found below. There will be specific sections that may need to be added, ammended or removed as per the nature of the project, however this should serve as a suitable foundation for all projects. 


Section 1: Executive Summary (1-2 pages). 

  • Business name.
  • Business summary (what, how and why),
  • Business aims (a concise summary of the goals),
  • Financial summary (the most important numbers).
  • Include a business model canvas as an extra page.
  • Include any critical information.  

Section 2: Ownership structure (length as required).

  • Who owns the business (default is Project Everest),
  • Main shareholder profiles (profiles on shareholders who own more than 5% equity).
  • Education, experience, what they bring to the table, their role as major shareholders. 

Section 3: Products and Services (length as required). 

  • What does the business sell. 
  • Details about the product/services. 
  • If there are different goods and services being sold at different stages of growth, explain this. 

Section 4: The Market (length as required). 

  • Who are your customers,
  • Different market segments being targeted at different stages of growth. 
  • How do your consumers or will your consumers interact with your goods/services and how would they choose your goods/services? 
  • Have you sold your products/services to your customers, if so, detail these sales or the nature of them. 
  • Are people waiting to buy your goods/services?

Section 5: Market Research (length as required).

  • Relevant secondary research,
  • Empathise breakdown (pains, gains, jobs to be done),
  • Define breakdown (what are the needs/wants of your customers and consumers).
  • Nature of the needs your business is/will satisfy. 
  • Relevant field research,
  • SWOT analysis.

Section 6: Marketing strategy (length as required).

  • Brand,
  • Channels of communication, 
  • Costs,
  • Past, current and planned campaigns. 

Seciton 7: Competitor Analysis (length as requried). 

  • How are your customers currently being served,
  • If near identical competitors exist, detail them,
  • Unique value proposition. 

Section 8: Operations and Logistics (length as required). 

  • Means of production,
  • Supplies and suppliers, 
  • Method of delivery of products and services, 
  • Overheads,
  • Legal requirements,
  • Insurance requirements, 
  • Employees, 
  • Organisational structure. 

Section 9: Cost and Pricing Strategy (length as required). 

  • Cost breakdown of each service
  • Price points and justifications. 
  • Competitor price points. 
  • Net and gross profit margin for each good/service.
  • Be sure to allocate the appropriate proportions of overheads to the net profit calculation. If in doubt, be conservative. 

Section 10: Financial Analysis and Reporting (length as required). 

  • Balance sheet,
  • Cash flow statement,
  • Breakeven analysis,
  • Profit and Loss statement. 

Section 11: Contingency planning (length as required). 

  • Major risks to the current model. 
  • Actions on these risks eventuating. 


As always, if there are any questions regarding this, please email me at 

All the best and good luck with your projects, 



This post was edited on Jun 30, 2017 by William Ashford

This post has 1 subscriber

Comments (6)

Georgie Scott says... Jul 10, 2017

If you have not read already please do so. 

Connor Moon says... Jul 10, 2017

Have a suss, might be something we could get started on late week 2/ week 3

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