Anda di halaman 1dari 171

The Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies

by Rhonda Abrams
Fourth Edition

Published by

The Planning Shop

Palo Alto, California

Chapter 1: The Successful Business

Factors of a Successful Business

Business concept Understanding the market Industry health Clear strategic position Capable management Motivated employees Financial control Adapting to change Values and integrity

Business Concepts
Something new Something better Underserved or new market New delivery system or distribution channel Increased integration

Understanding the Market

Define the market Gather market data Evaluate the market Determine market readiness

What kinds of changes to anticipate?

Technological changes
new methods of production, distribution

Sociological change
-- market changes due to demographic, lifestyle, or trend changes

Competitive changes
-- competitive landscape changes due to new entrants, lower prices, more aggressive marketing

Chapter 2: Getting Your Plan Started

Business Plan Process

Lay out concept Gather data Refine concept based on data gathered Outline specifics of the business
(e.g., the sections of your business plan)

Put your plan in compelling form

Starting Your Research Make a statement, then challenge it

Statement: Theres a need for a new drycleaner in the neighborhood. Challenges:

How many drycleaners are there now? How much business do they have? What indications are there that residents are currently dissatisfied with current drycleaners? How does that neighborhoods use of drycleaners compare to other neighborhoods with similar economic/social characteristics? What are trends in drycleaning nationally?

Information Sources
US Census Bureau
Economic Census County Business Patterns Current Industrial Reports

State data centers

Trade associations (Gateway to Associations)

Evaluating Data
Recent data is more likely to be more reliable than older data Translate into units (or constant dollars) to account for inflation Give most reliable source the most weight when making decisions Use the most conservative figures for your projections

Chapter 3: Making Your Plan Compelling

Questions most likely to be asked by readers of your plan:

Is the idea solid? Is the market large enough? Are the financial projections realistic and positive? Is management experienced and capable? How will I get my money back?

Ways to Make a Greater Impact:

Use hard numbers to support your statements Use business and industry terms Use objective language Include graphs and charts

Chapter 4: The Executive Summary

Executive Summary
The most important part of your plan People read this section first and then go to the Financials You may be asked to send just the Summary and Financials to some investors Write it last when youve done the work

Two Types of Executive Summaries

sums up whats in rest of plan good for all types of businesses

tells a story good for businesses with one or two dominant elements

Chapter 5: Company Description

Factual Company and Product/Service Overview

Objectives/mission statement Legal issues Products/services Management Location Development stage/milestones Financial status

Types of Company Names

Business name Legal or corporate name DBA or fictitious name Brand name(s) Model name (s) Subsidiary company name(s) Domain names

Mission Statement
Nature of products/services Commitment to quality Service & customer relationship Price positioning Management style & work environment Goals for growth & profit goals Social, environmental goals

Legal Issues
Legal form
corporation, LLC, sole proprietorship, partnership?

Ownership Intellectual property:

trademarks, patents, copyrights?

Loans, leases, or obligations Contracts, agreements

Products & Services

General type of products/services Number and type of product lines Unique features or innovations

Other Descriptive Issues

Management Location Development stage/milestones Financial status

Chapter 6: Industry Analysis & Trends

Health of Economic Sector

Broad general categories
(two-digit NAICS codes)

Includes areas such as:

Retail Manufacturing Wholesale trade Construction Information

Industry Analysis
Which industry (industries) are you in? What is its size and growth rate? How mature is the industry? How sensitive is it to economic cycles? How affected is it by seasonal factors? How affected is it by technological change?

Industry Growth Rate versus GDP Growth Rate

How does your industrys growth rate compare to the growth of the overall economy? Is your industry gaining or losing ground?

8% 7% 6% 5% 4% 3% 2% 1% 0% Year Year Year Year Year 1 2 3 4 5

Industry GDP

5.0% 4.5% 4.0% 3.5% 3.0% 2.5% 2.0% 1.5% 1.0% 0.5% 0.0% Year Year Year Year Year 1 2 3 4 5

Industry GDP

Factors to Consider to Assess Industry Growth

Total revenue Total number of units/volume sold Total employment

Maturity Level & Characteristics

New Industry Expanding Industry Stable Industry Declining Industry Very high growth, no market leaders High growth, emerging market leaders Low growth, fixed market leaders Little or no growth, decreasing competition

Other Industry Issues

Economic cycle sensitivity Seasonality Technological change Regulation/certification Supply and distribution channels

Financial Characteristics
What financial patterns characterize your industry?

Chapter 7: Target Market

Target Market Must Be:

Definable specific characteristics that define what customers have in common Meaningful characteristics must meaningfully relate to buying decisions Sizable market must be large enough to sustain the business Reachable methods (e.g., media outlets or sales channels) must exist to effectively reach market

Demographic Geographic Lifestyle/business-style Psychographic/company culture Purchasing patterns Buying sensitivities

Basic, objective aspects of customer base Specific, factual traits Examples:
consumers: age, gender, income level, ethnic group businesses: industry, revenues, number of employees

Area served Density/type (suburban, urban, rural, etc.) Nature of location (regional mall, industrial park, near transportation, etc.) Climate

Lifestyle/Business Style
Concerns and interests Life stage or business stage Issues theyre facing How they spend their time Examples: magazines, where they shop, cars they drive

Self-image Values and attitudes Examples: early adopter, fiscally prudent, religious, socially responsible

Purchasing Patterns
Where they buy When they buy How they make their purchases How often they buy

Buying Sensitivities
Price Convenience Service Reliability Brand name Credit terms Ratings, recommendations

Market Size
Too small: possible lack of sufficient customers or unsustainable demand Too big: market is very expensive to market to, probably lots of competition

Market Trends
Is your market growing or shrinking in size? Are customers changing their need/use of your product/service? Is the market changing in demographic or lifestyle make-up? Are social values (e.g., the environment, health concerns) changing market values/demand? Is technology changing market behavior?

Chapter 8: The Competition

Who are your competitors? On what basis do you compete? How do you compare? Who are potential future competitors? What barriers to entry make it difficult for new competitors?

Customer Perception Factors

Examples: Features Direct Costs Indirect Costs Quality

Internal/Operational Factors
Examples: Financial resources Marketing Efficiencies Strategic partnerships Company morale

Market Share Distribution

What percentage of the market has been captured by each/leading competitor? Who are the market leaders in terms of sales/customers?

Market Share Distribution

Company A Company B Company C All Others

Barriers to Entry
Intellectual property/patents High start-up costs Substantial expertise Licensing, regulation

Chapter 9: Strategic Positioning & Risk Assessment

Strategic Position:
What unique role will your company hold in the marketplace, giving it a defensible competitive position?

Some Strategic Positions/Differentiators:

Customer perception factors Market segment Market share Operational/technological advantages Proprietary products Sales channels

Customer Perception
Factors that make customers choose your products/services over competitors: Better, faster, cheaper

Market Segment
Geography/location Age Income level Gender Specific needs

Market Share
Establishing and maintaining market dominance, thus intimidating the competition

Other Strategies
Operational/technological advantages
improving profit margins through operational/technological innovation/productivity

Proprietary products
develop or secure exclusive assets

Sales channels
develop and maintain unique or improved sales channels

Types of Risk
Market risk Competitive risk Technology risk Product risk Execution risk Capitalization risk

SWOT Chart
Illustrates balance between companys: Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats

Chapter 10: Marketing Plan & Sales Strategy

Marketing Plan Defines:

How you make customers aware of you The message youre trying to convey The specific methods you use to deliver your message How you make actual sales

Marketing vs. Sales

Marketing increases customers awareness and delivers a message Sales direct actions to solicit and procure orders

Four Ps of Marketing
Product Price Place Promotion

Five Fs of Marketing
Functions what it does Finances what it costs Freedom convenience Feelings self-image, intangibles Future durability, long-term costs

Marketing Vehicles
examples: Brochures Companys website Ads: print, TV/radio, online Advertising specialties Direct mail: print or email Trade shows

Sales Activities
examples: On-site: sales personnel, point-ofpurchase displays, etc. Mail order, catalog Telemarketing, incoming call center Online sales, e-commerce Off-site: sales calls, trade shows Third-party: distributors, retailers

Prepare the Marketing Budget

Complete worksheet using known or projected costs for each marketing activity Indicate costs in the time period they are anticipated to occur If using the Electronic Financial Worksheets, these numbers will automatically be added to the Income Statements and Cash Flow projections

Prepare the Sales Projections

Enter the projected number of units in each product line to be sold in each time period Enter the unit cost of each product line Enter commission and return rates If using the Electronic Financial Worksheets, commissions and returns will be calculated from the Setup worksheet, and all projections will automatically be added to Income Statements and Cash Flow projections

Chapter 11: Operations

Operations Include:
Facilities Production planning Inventory management Supply Distribution Order fulfillment Research & development Financial control

As part of a Business Plan, this section is not intended to be an operations manual!

Location(s) Lease Improvements Utilities/maintenance

Production Planning
Labor/variable labor Productivity Capacity Quality control Equipment and furniture

Supply/Materials Considerations
Cost of goods Reliability of suppliers More than one supplier? Additional costs Terms

Distribution Considerations
How does product get to consumer? Names and numbers of distribution companies Effectiveness and reputation of distributors Terms Alternative distribution methods

Other Operational Issues

Regulation Insurance Legal Health and safety Environmental issues

Start-Up Costs
Not included in Income Statement but affect the amount of money needed to be raised to start your business IRS treatment some costs must be depreciated over a number of years rather than expensed in the first year of business

Prepare the Start-Up Costs

Enter the actual or projected costs to get your business underway If using the Electronic Financial Worksheets, some of these expenses will automatically get transferred to the Balance Sheet

Chapter 12: Technology Plan

Why a Technology Plan?

Decisions now may be difficult/expensive to change later Good technology can give company a competitive edge Inappropriate technologies can be cumbersome, inhibit growth Choices may be confusing

Some Technology Uses:

Industry-specific equipment and/or software Financial/accounting software Database, customer management Inventory control, order tracking Production planning

Choosing Technology
Functions Ease-of-use Cost Security Ability to upgrade and expand Integration with existing data, technology

Prepare the Technology Budget

Enter the anticipated or actual costs of hardware, software, telecommunications and other technology expenses If using the Electronic Financial Worksheets, these expenses/purchases will automatically be entered on your Income Statement, Cash Flow, and Balance Sheet worksheets

Chapter 13: Management & Organization

Management Team
Principals Key employees Board of Directors Advisory Committee Consultants

Salary Bonuses Commissions Profit sharing Equity Stock options

Key Employees
President/CEO Chief Operating Officer COO Chief Financial Officer CFO Marketing/Sales Director Production Manager Human Resources Director Chief Technology Officer CTO

Management Style
Clear policies Communication Employee recognition Employees ability to affect change Fairness

Prepare the Staffing and Professional Services Budgets

Enter the actual or anticipated expenses for staff and consultants in each time period If using the Electronic Financial Worksheets, the Benefits line will automatically be calculated by the amount entered in the Setup worksheet If using the Electronic Financial Worksheets, costs will automatically be entered on your Income Statement and Cash Flow worksheets

Chapter 14: Community Involvement & Social Responsibility

Company Benefits
Visibility Positive corporate image Recruitment tool Stronger team Greater employee satisfaction Connect with other companies

Corporate Citizenship
Obey the law Act ethically Treat employees fairly Honesty and fairness in dealings Environmentally aware Community involvement

Chapter 15: Development, Milestones & Exit Plan

Company Development
Goals Strategies Priorities Milestones

Growth Priorities
Add employees Add product lines Increase marketing Add locations Add capacity Increase profits Retire debts Acquire other companies

examples: Incorporation Product design completed Trademarks/patents secured Product shipped Partnerships/distribution secured Sales level reached Profit levels reached Financing secured

Why an Exit Plan?

Lets investors know how theyll get their money back Clarifies growth strategy Guides expansion decisions Reduces friction among principals

Exit Plan Options

Go public Acquisition/merger Sale Buy-out Franchise Hand down Close

Chapter 16: The Financials

Numbers are merely the reflection of decisions you make

Key Financial Documents

Income statement (also called P&L) Cash-flow projection Balance sheet

Other Financial Forms

Sources and use of funds Break-even analysis Start-up costs Assumption sheet

Some Key Terms:

Gross sales total sales before any costs Net sales sales after commissions and returns Cost of goods (COG) cost of inventory, materials Gross profit -- income before operating expenses G & A operating & administrative expenses Net Income/Net Profit income/profit after all expenses/costs

GROSS SALES (Commissions) Net Sales (Cost of Goods) GROSS PROFIT (Expenses) Net Income Before Taxes (Provision for Taxes) NET PROFIT

$100,000 ($12,000) $88,000 ($23,000) $65,000 ($35,000) $30,000 ($5,000) $25,000

Guidelines for Preparing Financials

Be conservative Be honest Dont be creative Get accountants advice Follow industry practices Choose appropriate accounting method Be consistent

Things take longer and cost more than planned

Prepare the Financial Worksheets

Enter figures from earlier worksheets (e.g., marketing budget, staffing costs) into appropriate lines on each worksheet If using Electronic Financial Worksheets, all figures will automatically be entered from one worksheet to appropriate line(s) on Income Statement, Cash Flow, and Balance Sheet worksheets

Chapter 17: The Plans Appendix

General Considerations
An Appendix is not necessary Use the Appendix to keep the size of the Business Plan itself from getting too large Put informative but not essential details in Appendix Bind the Appendix separately if very lengthy

What to Put In an Appendix?

Letters of intent/key contracts Endorsements Photos Location list Market research results Managers resumes Technical/operational information Marketing material

Chapter 18: Preparing, Presenting & Sending Out Your Plan

NDA Nondisclosure Agreement

Increases chance of information remaining confidential Prohibits recipient from disclosing information in your Business Plan Nothing guarantees confidentiality Venture capitalists and professional investors will NOT sign NDAs

Cover Sheet
Business Plan Name of company Date Copy number Disclaimer Company contact information Company logo

Layout & Design

Use a clear typeface Bind Business Plan with clear cover, professional/neat binding Include graphs and charts Use color for emphasis Edit plan thoroughly for typos, readability

Computer Presentation
Many investors require PowerPoint presentations of your Business Plan. Include: Business concept Size and nature of market Competition Team Growth projections Financial highlights amount to be raised, revenue projections, profit margins

Chapter 19: Looking for Money

Debt vs. Equity

Debt: loans, must be paid back, often requires personal guarantee Equity: investment, must share profits and ownership Convertible debt: loans that can be converted to equity at lenders option

Funding Sources
Venture capitalists Angel investors (private investors) Government (SBIC/SBA) Friends and family Yourself Sales

Sources of Debt Financing


No sharing of profits; professional

Difficult to obtain

Loans from friends/family Credit cards

Easier to secure Complicated relationships Easy to secure High interest rates; risk personal credit

Sources of Equity Financing

Source Venture capitalists Private investors Friends and family



Large amounts; Pressure to professional exit; difficult to secure Available for May be smaller unprofessional amounts Easier to Complicated secure relationships

Improving Chances of Getting Funded

Research recipients Choose funders active in your industry Find intermediaries/introductions Tailor plan (executive summary) for specific recipient Get everything right Follow up

Elevator Pitch
Describes company very concisely one or two sentences: Company name: Does: Serves which market: Makes money by: Is like other companies: Will succeed because: Aims to achieve:

Chapter 20: Using Your Plan for Classes & Competitions

How Class/Competition Plans Differ from Real World

More likely to work with team Leadership isnt obvious, so decisionmaking process must be clarified Judged by different set of criteria More emphasis on quality of plan, not just quality of business Less likely to have a business vision/passion

Team Process
Choose your team Devise decision-making process Select the business Identify key issues Assign tasks Re-evaluate assumptions Integrate the work Prepare & present the plan

Traits to Look for in Team Members

Capability in a functional area Responsibility, follow-through Intelligence, ability to evaluate data, think creatively Communication & interpersonal skills Ability to work together in a group Willingness to work hard

Decision Making
Will decisions be made by vote or consensus? What areas, if any, will individual team members have control over? What happens if you cannot reach agreement? Will one person have greater/final decision-making authority?

Choosing Your Project

Quality of your plan will depend on the nature/quality of the business you choose Does one team member have strong vision/idea? Brainstorm many ideas Narrow down to most reasonable choices

Choosing Your Project

Do team members skills/knowledge relate to business concept? Is the business of interest to the group? Is it possible to gather information about the concept in allotted time? Does business fit the values of team members? What business has the best chance of success?

Identify Key Issues

Review Business Concept Worksheet in Chapter 1 Ask yourself tough questions Use Research Questions Worksheet in Chapter 2

Assign Tasks
Functional division relates to job responsibilities (e.g., marketing, operations) Shared tasks each team member works on entire plan

Next Steps
Re-evaluate assumptions Identify any missing/insufficient information Integrate the plan Complete the written document and slide presentation Decide on which team members will present plan

Special Concerns for Classes

How well are the separate sections integrated? How well documented is the information? How realistic is it? Have you included a clear statement of assumptions? Is the risk assessment accurate? What is the quality of the written document itself?

Chapter 23: Considerations for Internet, e-Businesses

Four Purposes of An Internet Site

Transactional actual sales are made online Content information is the main purpose/commodity Promotional to promote the business but not to actually make online sales Relational customer service and communication with existing customers

e-Business Business Models

Sales of merchandise Sales of data/information Brokering Download products Application Services Provider (ASP) software use from main server Advertising/Sponsorships Subscriptions Donations Timed use

Building Customer Loyalty

Brand name/strategic partners brands Site quality Quality of order fulfillment/customer service Feedback, customer ratings Ability to reach real human being Certification

Front-End Issues
Site design, look-and-feel Usability Site map, navigation Features and functionality Sticky-ness, ability to retain visitors Personalization Merchandising

Back-End Issues
Which platform? Customer service, order fulfillment, inventory management Database Software:
In-house? Off-the-shelf? Customized?

Building Website Traffic

Search engines (e.g., Google) Directories (e.g., Yahoo) Purchased advertising Partnerships/relationships/links Online marketing

General e-Business Principles

Organize site logically Make sure your technology works Keep your site fresh Display website address on every page Keep costs under control

Chapter 24: Considerations for Retailers

Keys to Successful Retailing

Buying Merchandising Salesmanship Customer service

Chapter 25: Considerations for Manufacturers

Trends in Manufacturing
Technological changes Improved information systems Re-organized production Quality management

Manufacturing Strategies
Just-in-time manufacturing; low inventory Subcontracting/out-sourcing Joint venturing Increased perceived value

Chapter 26: Considerations for Service Businesses

Common Factors
Intangible product Subjective judgment of quality Few barriers to entry Perishable product Significant time lap between use Quality dependent on employee/provider

Service Business Trends

Increased speed Franchising Increased integration

Service Business Strategies

Make tangible product Develop distinct identity/image Cultivate referrals Stay in touch with customers Encourage timely purchases Stress quality control Use excess capacity

Chapter 27: Business Planning in a Weak or Strong Economy

How Economic Conditions Affect Business Planning

Ability to raise money & terms from investors Ability to secure conventional loans & interest rates Spending habits & financial strength of potential customers Cost & availability of labor Cost & availability of space, materials, equipment, etc. Supplier terms Availability, responsiveness & cost of service providers

Positive Impact of a Slow Economy

Market opportunities Lower fixed costs High quality of labor available Lower labor costs Smaller opportunity cost

Negative Impact of a Slow Economy

Less investor money available Less favorable terms Risk-averse customers Customers expect bargains Bargain-offering competitors

Slow Economy Strategies

Raise money through sales or conventional financing rather than investment Choose counter-cyclical industries Provide customers with innovative ways to reduce their current costs Emphasize customers who bring immediate income Keep costs down Be an outsource provider Lock in lower costs

Positive Effects of a Strong Economy

Greater amount of investor funding available Better terms from investors Customers have more money Customers more willing to take risks Greater customer demand

Negative Effects of a Strong Economy

Labor is in greater demand; more expensive Competition is tough Customers are less price sensitive; harder to compete on price Costs are higher Space is harder to find

Strong Economy Strategies

Raise money from investors Pick up excess demand from competitors Stay flexible Spend money wisely Put money away