Since I got to college, all I have heard is “if you want to start your own business you NEED to have a business plan!” Never did I really know what that actually meant or the importance of it. As I expressed in one of my prior blogs, “My Entrepreneur Plan,” I have always dreamt to someday open up a cozy coffee bar that would ideally bring the community together. I have all the decoration details, activities and events that could potentially help reach my goal of better communication with our generation BUT, I had no real “plan” to help me execute my business and fix any flaws I might have. Writing a business plan will allow me to fix any issues before I invest too much time and/or money into my project. Once my future business is up and running, I can also refer back to my business plan whenever I’m struggling to see what I can improve in my business model or how to get back on the track.
My plan should express my enthusiasm and present my model in the best possible perspective. I do not want to try to hide any mistakes or challenges that I may face like, for me-obtaining a liquor license. Business plans should be open and honest when it comes to any potential threat, that way you can foresee any problems and fix them now before they occur. I would want to address my competition with other coffee companies like Starbucks and Dunkin Doughnuts. By addressing issues like this now it will help me be more successful in the long run, rather than being blindsided later.
One of the last things I will write in my business plan is my “Business Description”. I do NOT want to write about “how it’s always been my lifelong dream to open up this kind of business.” I want to express how I will be profitable and why the readers should invest in my business. This is where I need to really sell myself. This section is to also help prevent readers from getting bored from my long detailed business summary. This section of my plan explains things as if the person reading knows nothing about the business itself (coffee shops). I need to explain things the reader might just assume-like, I will not be another “Regular Joe” coffee shop. I need to explain what makes me different. That being said what makes me different is my goal to bring the community together. I will need to offer more options to get the community talking and to provide a cool place people will want to hang out. I believe by hosting different events such as musicians, poets, and open mic night, it will give people something to do rather than binge watching Netflix series. I will have many things visual to talk about (local art from nearby colleges, funky lamps and lights, etc) and I will offer games, adult coloring books, and other interactive activities for my costumers. I need to explain these details from the perspective of an outsider. In my Business Description of my plan I will address my target audience (17 and up) and I will need to explain my organizational, operating, financial, and sales plan. I will need to describe my competitive advantages, the problems my business will solve, and how I will be profitable. Details and being unique in this section is key to the Business Description.
No matter what the is business, all owners and entrepreneurs should have a business plan. A lot of business owner’s do not have a business plan, but they should because it would help prepare and predicting finances. You want to keep in mind though, when creating your business plan try to stay away from prewritten business plans or templates because lenders will wonder how much time and thought went into your plan. Why would any funding source want to invest in your half fast plan? It is good to use websites, consulting books, and templates as a reference…but it will scare most investors away. Investors will know you used these sources because those resources all look very similar. Using online templates will make you look lazy and calculating finances SHOULD NOT look lazy. Finances will make or break your business. If I under estimate my finances or if I can’t get a loan-I will be in big trouble. That’s why it is important to keep track of all expenses. Even the small expenses because they will eventually add up. For businesses that need a business model but are already operating-you have a leg up because you will have your own real financial data that is current and accurate to work with. You will not need to estimate most of the numbers in your financial plan of your model. You will have a better idea of how to budget your money, what works, and how to improve spending expenses and profits, etc.