Every business should have a plan. Too often, new business owners fail to commit their business goals and objectives to writing. Whether your dream is to start a winery, open a restaurant, buy a bed and breakfast, or to create your own wine based or hospitality business, you need a plan. A well thought out business plan helps you to determine where you see your business headed in the future.
Do you have a business strategy? Do you know who your customers are and where to find them? How will you try to raise money? What do you want your business to look like five years from now? A good business plan sets out your goals and tactics in a measurable way to guide you in achieving your dreams.
A good business plan at a minimum will address key elements:
Business strategy – What is the nature of your business? How will you describe your products and services? What are the elements that make your business a success? What is your geographical location? How consolidated or fragmented is your customer base geographically? Why and how will your business have a competitive advantage?
Marketing and Sales Planning – What’s your commercialization strategy? Who’s your target market? How do you plan to reach your customers? How will you gain market share? What trends and changes impact your target market?
Financial Information – How much income will you need? What are your sources of financing? Do you turn your inventory quickly or slowly? What are your sales projections? Do you have audited financial statements, profit and loss reports, balance sheets?
Management – What is the legal structure of your business? Are you incorporated? Are you a partnership? How will your business be managed? What is the biographical information for your directors/officers? What are the details of the ownership or your company? Will your family members work in your business?
Operations – What is your company’s organizational structure? How much personnel will be required to reach your goals? What functions will your business require and how will they relate to the generation of revenue for your business? What facilities, equipment and supplies will you need? How will your operations change as your business grows? How will your business operate day to day?
Milestones – What factors will determine when you’ve reached and achieved your goals and objectives? Are your milestones measurable? What are your short and long term goals? How will you overcome challenges and gage your accomplishments? How will you determine if you are on track?
As you can see, there are many factors to consider. A well written business plan is your blueprint for success. It will serve as your guide for your business vision months and even years later. A solid business plan can be critical to ascertaining funding and investors for your business. A banker or loan officer will require you to produce a business plan. Your business plan is your calling card.
Are you ready to start a winery or vineyard? Are you ready to open your restaurant or wine tasting business? Do you have an existing business you want to grow? If so, commit to writing your thoughts in a logical, organized way. The U.S. Small Business Administration has a useful guide to writing your business plan and a tutorial to guide your through the process.
Plan for the success of your business. Create your business plan.