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NOTE: Since 2009 the title of the International Journal of Entrepreneurship Education (IJEE) has been changed to the title above.  ISSN numbers: IJEE 1649-2269 and IRE 2009-2822

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Moonpig.com - Do MBA Business Plans Really Work? Case Study Part 1: Against All the Odds

IRE Vol 9: Issue 4, 2011

Author(s): Robert Brown and Stephanie Hussels (Cranfield School of Management, UK)

Abstract:
The case study is the first part of a three part case study series that tells the story of Moonpig.com, a UK innovative high-growth company that started in 1999 when Nick Jenkins progressed from writing his first MBA business plan to create one of today’s most successful Internet-based greeting card businesses. The case series vividly demonstrates how an overly optimistic and detailed MBA business plan, even with frequent reiterations and modifications, was nonetheless key to the development and financing of a finally successful company. There are lessons, however, for teachers and students alike in the preparations of such plans and the management of the process for attracting what Nick Jenkins termed investors' 'hope money'! Part 1 describes the first three years of Moonpig.com. Following several reiterations of the original business plan, which required a £50,000 investment for a business predicted to be profitable in 12 months, the business was forced to raise £2 million of new investment while still predicting profitability within 12 months’ time. Part 1 focuses on whether to invest a further £300,000 into the business in 2002 and if yes, under what conditions. It also raises the question on how to grow the business further. A detailed Teaching Note with an analysis and suggestions for questions is also available to stimulate discussion in the classroom. (Moonpig.com Part 2 and 3 are also published in this edition of the International Review of Entrepreneurship).

Keywords: Entrepreneurship, business plans, Dot.com companies

NOTE: The case has been prepared by Robert Brown, Visiting Fellow, and Dr Stephanie Hussels, Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, at the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurial Performance & Economics with help from the MBA students Philip Irvine, Tom Keohane, Joel Leeson, David Stark, and Chris Wyper. The authors would like to thank Nick Jenkins for his generous support and kindly provided insights into Moonpig.com. The case is intended as a basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of management situations

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