Business Plan

You have decided to be an entrepreneur and open a small food truck business. To get the funding together, you will need to present a business plan to a group of investors. You need to approach this Business Plan with the current Covid-19 situation in mind. Writing a business plan is an opportunity to carefully think through steps of starting your company so you can prepare for success. This is your chance to discover any weaknesses in your business idea, identify opportunities you may not have considered, and plan how you will deal with challenges that are likely to arise or contingency plans for the unexpected (i.e. Covid-19).  A good business plan is clear and concise. A person outside of your industry should be able to understand it. ·        Proofread your completed plan to make sure it’s free of spelling and grammatical errors. ·        11 or 12 point font  ·        One inch margins ·        Double spaced ·        Times New Roman or Arial font  ·        Typed in a Word doc or converted to a word doc from a Mac file ·     This template is a guide only!   You do not need to address every detail…many of the questions are just “prompts” to help you think through the process.  Please do not get overwhelmed…reach out to me for any concerns.     Business Plan Company name [Insert Date] Add a picture/logo II. Company Description 1.      Company mission statement A mission statement is a brief explanation of your company’s reason for being. It can be as short as a marketing tagline (“MoreDough is an app that helps consumers manage their personal finances in a fun, convenient way”) or more involved: (“Doggie Tales is a dog daycare and grooming salon specializing in convenient services for urban pet lovers. Our mission is to provide service, safety and a family atmosphere, enabling busy dog owners to spend less time taking care of their dog’s basic needs and more time having fun with their pet.”) In general, it’s best to keep your mission statement to one or two sentences.   2.      Company philosophy and vision a.      What values does your business live by? Honesty, integrity, fun, innovation and community are values that might be important to your business philosophy. b.      Vision refers to the long-term outlook for your business. What do you ultimately want it to become? For instance, your vision for your doggie day-care center might be to become a national chain, franchise or to sell to a larger company. c.      Business Ethics & Social Responsibility (i.e. maybe you use biodegradable utensils and plates, give a portion of your revenue to charity) 3.      Company goals Specify your long- and short-term goals.  For instance, maybe one of your goals is to open a second location or expand to another location. 4.      Industry Describe your industry and what makes your business competitive: Is the industry growing, mature or stable? What is the industry outlook long-term and short-term? How will your business take advantage of projected industry changes and trends? What might happen to your competitors and how will your business successfully compete?  (Blockbuster probably missed or didn’t revisit this part of the plan)  III. Products & Services 1.      Your company’s products and/or services: What do you sell, and how is it provided? Include details of relationships with suppliers or partners that are essential to delivering the product or service to customers. 2.      The problem the product or service solves: Every business needs to solve a problem that its customers face. Explain what the problem is and how your product or service solves it. What are its benefits, features and unique selling proposition? Yours won’t be the only solution (every business has competitors), but you need to explain why your solution is better than the others, targets a customer base your competitors are ignoring, or has some other characteristic that gives it a competitive edge. IV. Marketing Plan This section provides details on your industry, the competitive landscape, your target market and how you will market your business to those customers. 1.      Market research  This section of your plan should explain: ·        Trends in the industry – is it growing or shrinking? ·        The total size of your target market, and what share is realistic for you to obtain ·        Trends in the target market – is it growing or shrinking? How are customer needs or preferences changing? 2.      Barriers to entry What barriers to entry does your startup face, and how do you plan to overcome them? Barriers to entry might include: ·        High startup costs ·        High production costs ·        High marketing costs ·        Brand recognition challenges ·        Finding qualified employees ·        Need for specialized technology 3.      Product/service features and benefits Describe all of your products or services, being sure to focus on the customer’s point of view. For each product or service: ·        Describe the most important features. What is special about it? ·        Describe the most important benefits. What does it do for the customer? In this section, explain any after-sale services you plan to provide, such as: ·        Product delivery ·        Warranty/guarantee ·        Service contracts ·        Ongoing support ·        Training ·        Refund policy 4.      Target customer Describe your target customer. (This is also known as the ideal customer or buyer persona.) You may have more than one target customer group. For instance, if you sell a product to consumers through distributors, such as retailers, you have at least two kinds of target customers: the distributors (businesses) and the end users (consumers).  Identify your target customer groups, and create a demographic profile for each group that includes: For consumers: ·        Age ·        Gender ·        Location ·        Income ·        Occupation ·        Education level For businesses: ·        Industry ·        Location ·        Size ·        Stage in business (startup, growing, mature) ·        Annual sales 5.      Key Competitors One of the biggest mistakes you can make in a business plan is to claim you have “no competition.” Every business has competitors. Your plan must show that you’ve identified yours and understand how to differentiate your business. This section should: List key companies that compete with you (including names and locations), products that compete with yours and/or services that compete with yours. Do they compete across the board, or just for specific products, for certain customers or in certain geographic areas? Also include indirect competitors. For instance, if you’re opening a restaurant that relies on consumers’ discretionary spending, then bars and nightclubs are indirect competitors. 6.       Positioning/Niche Now that you’ve assessed your industry, product/service, customers and competition, you should have a clear understanding of your business’s niche (your unique segment of the market) as well as your positioning (how you want to present your company to customers). Explain these in a short paragraph. 7.      How you will market your product/service In this section, explain the marketing and advertising tactics you plan to use. Advertising may include: ·        Online ·        Print ·        Radio ·        Cable television ·        Out-of-home Which media will you advertise in, why and how often? Marketing may include: ·        Business website ·        Social media marketing ·        Email marketing ·        Mobile marketing ·        Search engine optimization ·        Content marketing ·        Print marketing materials (brochures, flyers, business cards) ·        Public relations ·        Trade shows ·        Networking ·        Word-of-mouth ·        Referrals What image do you want to project for your business brand? What design elements will you use to market your business? (This includes your logo, signage and interior design.) 8.  Pricing How do you plan to set prices? Keep in mind that few small businesses can compete on price without hurting their profit margins. Instead of offering the lowest price, is it better to go with an average price and compete on quality and service? ·        Does your pricing strategy reflect your positioning? ·        Compare your prices with your competitors’. Are they higher, lower or the same? Why? ·        How important is price to your customers? It may not be a deciding factor. ·        Give an example of some menu items and their prices 9.  Location or proposed location If you have a location picked out, explain why you believe this is a good location for your startup. If you haven’t chosen a location yet, explain what you’ll be looking for in a location and why.  For example: ·        Convenient location for customers ·        Adequate parking for employees and customers ·        Proximity to public transportation or major roads ·        Type of space (industrial, retail, etc.) Types of businesses nearby

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