Hi, I have an assignment of 10-12 pages. It was in 2 parts. In the first part you have to open your own business of anything and have to write the required information about it. I had already done th
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Hi, I have an assignment of 10-12 pages.
It was in 2 parts.
In the first part you have to open your own business of anything and have to write the required information about it.
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I had already done that assignment
And now I need to continue my business with its 2nd part.
My business was PEAKY ADVENTURES TRAVEL PLANNING COMPANY
Now, I had submitted the instructions in the files. Please check that and make it according to it.
Please include each and every point step by step.
This is very important assignment as it is of 23%I had attached my first assignment, you can take help if you needed.
I had also attached the balance score template. You will need it in the assignment.
As it is your own business plan so do the assignment of your own.
Hi, I have an assignment of 10-12 pages. It was in 2 parts. In the first part you have to open your own business of anything and have to write the required information about it. I had already done th
Submission Instructions Submit a paper that addresses the following. 1. identify the legal structure for your organization. 2. Selecting the appropriate legal form of your business is an important first step. You should examine the legal obligations of your business and the need to meet laws and government regulations. These may encourage you to adopt a legal structure that reduces your liability exposure. 3. Choose the organizational structure for your firm 4. Identify which structure you will use (refer to the unit notes) functional, process, product, and consumers. Explain why you have made this choice and include an organizational chart identifying key employees and their responsibilities. 5. What are the processes and technology that you will need to create your product or service? 6. Now is a good time to think about the processes and technology that your enterprise will require, including the structure of your work. What are the job tasks that will need to be accomplished? How much of each process will each person control? Will one person take the process from beginning to end? Will the tasks require special competencies? What will the “jobs” look like? What CRM 7. Prepare an Organizational Chart showing the lines of authority and responsibilities 8. You will prepare the key components of your marketing plan, a vital part of your final business plan. Using the SCORE Business Plan Template pages 11 through 18. Prepare a document addressing a) Market research b) Barriers to entry c) Threats and opportunities d) Product/service features and benefits e) Target customer f) Key competitors g) Positioning/niche h) Promotional budget i) Pricing You may include the worksheets found in the template.
Hi, I have an assignment of 10-12 pages. It was in 2 parts. In the first part you have to open your own business of anything and have to write the required information about it. I had already done th
1 Business Plan: Peaky Adventures Travel Planning Company Name Student’s Number Course Title and Number Professor’s Name Institution Date Contents Company Description 3 Mission Statement and Goals 3 Industry Structure 4 Feasibility of this Travel Company 4 Products and Services 5 Business Model 5 Marketing Plan 6 Market Research: Trends 6 Customer Experience 6 Local Experience 6 Augmented Reality 7 Virtual Reality 7 Artificial Intelligence 7 Barriers to Entry 8 Threats and Opportunities 10 SWOT Analysis Worksheet 10 Target Customers 12 Key Competitors 12 Competitive Analysis Worksheet 13 Marketing Strategy 16 Pricing Strategy 16 Operational Plan 18 References 20 Business Plan: Peaky Adventures Travel Planning Company Company Description Peaky Adventures travel planning company is mainly geared towards providing travel-planning services and other tourism services to people around the United States. The travel and tourism industry is expanding; thus, it is one of the fastest growing industries of the US economy. With this hasty expansion, the desire to meet people’s spirit of adventure and the rise in information about beautiful and magnificent sceneries around the globe, the traveling and tourism sector has experienced an unprecedented change, creating a massive market segment for startups that promote and sell travel destinations across the continent. Peaky Adventures should leverage this growth to their advantage by capitalizing on tours and travel opportunities in the country. Mission Statement and Goals The mission of Peaky Adventures is to transform into the leading provider of travel vacations and retreats for people around the United States. Peaky Adventures is devoted to establishing solid relationships with their client through client support and excellent training. It also desires to become a popular travel planning agency in the United States. The organization’s primary goal is to provide unforgettable experiences to its clients, grow progressively, and increase profitability during its operation. Industry Structure Running and starting Peaky Adventures in the tourism market segment requires an overview and understanding of the market and industry trends. Examining the industry trends and structure within the travel industry related to marketing, consumer purchase, cost, and price help shape this company’s competitive strategy. Feasibility of this Travel Company The concept of founding a travel-planning organization revolves around different factors. Currently, there are limited travel and tour companies across the country. Peaky Adventures will be an independent travel agency dedicated to international adventure vacations in the United States. This organization has a substantial opportunity to occupy and take over the tourism industry in the United States. Peaky Adventures is focusing on becoming a hired agent for big travel companies in the industry. Many of these famous companies are constantly searching for travel agents that can link their customers from different countries with their services. Research reveals that the target market of Peaky Adventures finds it challenging to get influential and dependable guidance in places around the world. Research also shows that the customers in the travel industry are less likely to plan their vacations again from an organization that planned their last vacation due to a lack of informative and instructive salespeople. Peaky Adventures will accommodate these requirements and nurture a determined return-customer base. Peaky Adventure’s main objective is to provide a wide variety of travel services to back tourists, alongside a reference book of services, travel insurance, and pre-and post-holiday consultations. These services will be provided by creating an online website and renovating the company’s physical offices. Products and Services Peaky Adventures is a tourism-related organization; hence it will be handling destination marketing associate promotion for land, air, and cruise transportation, providing memorable and epic adventures for luxury, entertainment, and sightseeing tours at the comfort of the clients as indicated in the values of the company. The primary services offered by Peaky Adventures are aimed at giving customers great satisfaction despite offering similar services from other travel agencies. This organization provides the best pilgrimage and educational, private, and unique interest tours. Besides, even though tourism is rapidly expanding, political factors often affect it. However, Peaky Adventures is determined to provide its services through online booking. This organization proceeds to book flights and make reservations for their clients by paying more attention to the preferences of the clients and by providing high-quality services. Business Model Ranging from selling affiliate products and tour destinations, Peaky Adventures intends to leverage its profits by recognizing any predicted expense or the target market. This travel company will apply business models such as Consumer to Consumer (C2C), Consumer to Business (C2B), Business to Business (B2B), and Business to Consumer (B2C). These models are crucial for new entrants and startups in any business sector since they help motivate management and staff, recruit talent, and attract investments. Marketing Plan Market Research: Trends Customer Experience Modern tourism and travel organizations are increasingly dedicated to enriching their clients’ experiences. Clients constantly have more alternatives due to the entry of many affordable travel planning agencies; hence, ensuring satisfaction and loyalty is increasingly crucial. Peaky Adventures has to leverage existing technologies to create a positive and satisfactory customer experience. From AR applications to help customers navigate their desired destinations and chatbots utilized to book trips, good customer experience enhances how clients feel about their booking experience. Local Experience The era where tourists are often confined in a hotel, eating the same food every day, and interacting with individuals locally is coming to an end. Many travelers in the modern world are seeking destinations where they can engage with the landscapes, cultures, and people from the countries where they travel. For example, local food is a crucial attribute of many vacations, with tourists always trying new foods. Besides, cultural experiences are the highlight of many holidays, and modern tourists are always eager to participate and witness local traditions. Augmented Reality Augmented reality has become an essential tool for tourists. It connects virtual reality to real-world experiences. Augmented reality travel trends might include virtual museum exhibits that allow a tourist to view structures and objects in the actual world by allowing them to see them as a reconstruction of their original images. Augmented reality could also be applied in offering information about destinations a client wishes to explore, listings for travel and entertainment, and historical or cultural information about their desired destinations. Many travel agencies easily use augmented reality through standard devices like smartphones, driving this industry trend further. Virtual Reality Besides offering immersive and enjoyable gaming experiences, virtual reality has made it easier for tourists to plan vacations and explore different places globally before traveling. It can also augment visits to memorial sites by reconstructing ancient structures and other monuments as they appear in real life. This technology is also applied in ‘city marketing’ to lure potential clients into traveling to a particular destination. Artificial Intelligence Artificial intelligence systems have become one of the most popular trends in the tourism industry. Several types of artificial intelligence are currently being used across many travel agencies in the tourism industry. For instance, chatbots utilize artificial intelligence to streamline and automate many customer and sales service responsibilities. Ideally, clients demand more interaction and faster responses; hence chatbots help bridge this gap when humans are unavailable. Even though chatbots are limited in functionality, they could offer crucial information to clients. Moreover, machine learning enables such systems to gain knowledge from each interaction and improve continually. Artificial intelligence is also used in tourism to boost efficiency, customer satisfaction, and security. ‘Bleisure’ Travel This type of travel is also referred to as ‘bizcation.’ Morgan (2022) explains that ‘Bleisure’ combines leisure activities and travel for commerce or work. Even though this trend is not among the latest in the industry, people are increasingly extending their business trips to experience leisure activities. ‘Gen Z and millennials have widely embraced Bleisure’ travel. For people under this age group and generation, combining leisure and work travel has become one of the most efficient ways to visit destinations they would otherwise fail to afford. The most popular type of ‘Bleisure’ journey in the modern world is where online freelancers go on vacations with their laptops as they work. Barriers to Entry There are many actual and perceived barriers to entry in the travel and tourism industry. Organizations seeking to set up as travel planners and agents face several financial and legal challenges. These challenges might minimize competition among the firms that wish to enter the tourism industry. To begin with, an organization that wants to enter the market as a travel planner to offer package holidays is supposed to have Air Travel Organizers’ Licensing (ATOL). Economic Investigations (2015) explains that this licensing scheme was established to protect the public by ensuring that tourists do not incur the loss of money, leaving them stranded in foreign companies in case the travel organization they used is liquidated. Therefore, new entrants in the travel and tourism industry applying for Air Travel Organizers’ Licensing (ATOL) should pay bonds that would compensate tourists affected by any shortcomings from the travel company. The costs of entering this market are also a significant factor affecting the setup of travel agencies in the tourism market. A leading travel agency revealed that the cost of establishing a travel agency managing 200,000 clients would need a net asset worth £9 million and a £6 million insurance bond. Moreover, an organization entering the travel and tourism market should expect losses for the first three years of operation. Thirdly, brand recognition challenges are also a possible barrier to entry. Clients are always likely to have preferences for travel companies. However, this is not the reality for many tourists. The brand of a travel company is the most negligible influential factor that impacts travelers’ preferences. Threats and Opportunities The main threats affecting the travel and tourism industry include government regulations. As mentioned above, startups in this industry must have an ATOL license to guarantee that their clients would be safe in their destinations if anything happens to the travel company while the customers are on vacation. Besides, travel companies are rapidly increasing in the United States, posing a significant threat of competition to existing and startup companies. SWOT Analysis Worksheet Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats Product/ Service Offering Wide Market Many similar organizations Many travel agencies provide limited services Stiff Competition Brand/ Marketing Availability of many mediums of advertisement Many travel agencies provide similar products; hence, a company’s brand is a non-influential factor. Digital marketing is available for a more significant market segment. Stiff Competition Staff/HR Knowledgeable personnel Limited information on services. A growing number of people are interested in hospitality. Licensing issues. Finance Loyal investors High startup costs Availability of investors. Fines if clients face any harm. Operations/ Management Smooth operations Lack of market information. Broad market. Licensing issues. Market Readily available market Similar services Increase in travelers Stiff competition Can any of your strengths help improve your weaknesses or combat your threats? If so, please describe how below. A readily available market will help Peaky Adventures manage stiff competition in the industry. What are your immediate goals/next steps based on the information above? Invest in market research and advertise services. What are your long-term goals/next steps based on the information above? Exploit the growing market and leverage existing technologies to our advantage. Target Customers The United States labor force is stable, dynamic, and well educated. It consists of personalities attached to this country and has decided to see and stay through the previous periods of economic downturns. Peaky Adventure’s target customers are professionals with a net income of $65,000, married and single people, and children and adults. Key Competitors With significant economic growth worldwide, travel agencies also contribute significantly to developing many countries’ GDP. The main competitors for Peaky Adventures are Expedia Group, Bookings Holdings, and American Express Travel. Expedia Group is a US-based online travel planning organization for small and consumer business travel (Biz Vibe, 2022). This organization is famous for its aggregator websites where clients can book hotels, car rentals, and flights. It is also a metasearch engine where clients could look up and make travel plans. On the other hand, Bookings Holdings is famous for operating tourism and travel search engines, including OpenTable, Momondo, Kayak.com, Priceline.com, Rentalcars.com, Agoda.com, and Cheapflights (Biz Vibe, 2022). Lastly, American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) is a travel company that offers its services mainly to business travelers. Competitive Analysis Worksheet The worksheet below provides a competitive analysis by assessing whether the listed factors are a weakness or a strength for Peaky Adventures and its competitors. This analysis also ranks the importance of these factors to Peaky adventure’s target market using the 1 to 5 scale. This information will help explain the competitive advantages of Peaky Adventures. FACTOR Me (Peaky Adventures) Competitor An (Expedia Group) Competitor B (Booking Holdings) Competitor C (American Express Travel) Importance to Customer Products N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Price Strength Quite costly Their services are expensive Customer-friendly services Quality Weakness They provide the best quality of travel services to clients High-quality services Best quality services Selection N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Service Strength Provides a wide variety of services to their clients There are many services that a client would enjoy from using this company Offers comprehensive services for tourists Reliability Strength High reliability High reliability High reliability Stability Strength Highly stable High reliability High stability Expertise Weakness Strong expertise Excellent knowledge of the tourism market Strong expertise Company Reputation Weakness One of the most popular travel agencies One of the most popular travel agencies One of the most popular travel agencies Location Weakness Available to clients in any region Available to clients in any region Available to clients in any region Appearance Weakness It has an attractive website Its brand image attracts many tourists It is an attractive organization that lures many customers to their brand Sales Method Strength They have fewer sales methods They have fewer sales methods They have fewer sales methods Credit Policies Strength Lacks any credit policies Lacks any credit policies Lacks any credit policies Advertising Weakness Professionals manage marketing Spends a lot of money on advertising Advertises its services through the media Image Weakness Highly reputable Highly reputable Highly reputable Marketing Strategy Pricing Strategy Discounting Even though travel agencies provide discounts during the offseason, an organization should be selective in its implementation since discounts could reduce its profitability. Therefore, with last-minute deals, a travel company should only choose where there are many takers. Peaky Adventures should consider including conditions to discounts such as a limited number of travelers or minimum stay in the booking. Many travelers are accustomed to discounting prices, thus making it harder for travel agencies to change their rates. Last Minute Pricing This is a popular pricing strategy in the tourism industry that travel agencies use to fill last-minute gaps. Seasonal Pricing This is a common pricing strategy in the travel and tourism sector because there are seasons that many people travel and plan for vacations. For instance, many families travel to other countries during Christmas, and this season is when most travel agencies take advantage and raise their prices. Therefore, Peaky Adventures should take note of high and low seasons in fixing their prices. Rack Rate Travel agencies and other tourism companies must have rack rates. These are official travel rates before applying any discounts (Campbell, 2021). Ideally, they are brochure” prices that an organization prints before the next season approaches. In high seasons, the rack rate for attraction and activity operators often remains the same. Nonetheless, accommodation providers constantly change their rack rates to fill their capacity. Packages For an inclusive price, many tours are turning to tourist packages to sati,sfy their vacation needs, such as transfers, airfare, hostel, and tours. Therefore, designing tourist packages is an excellent strategy for stimulating demand and adding value without offering discounts. Tourist packages could also target niche markets such as relaxation and beauty, wine tasting and food, or golfing holidays. Peaky Adventures could utilize visible pricing that allows customers to select their most preferred tour packages based on their budget and travel preferences. However, this travel company could use disguised pricing (a pricing technique that hides the actual prices of components and the amount of discount offered by other operators. Mark Up Pricing Strategy This is done by setting the costs of activities, tours, and holidays to ensure profits from each sale. Peaky Adventures should identify all expenses linked with business operating, such as the time to promote or develop an experience or holiday. Mark Down Pricing Strategy This strategy requires a travel agency to mark down its prices to remain competitive in the industry (Reyhle, 2019). It is effective during slow months. Generally, if Peaky Adventures typically charges $2000 per head, it may mark down these costs to $1600 per head. This will allow the company to remain competitive and keep its operations afloat. Moreover, it may mean that Peaky Adventures get more bookings than usual without any promotional discounts. This will create more income for the organization. Operational Plan Peaky Adventures will deliver its services through an online website where potential clients can visit and explore the traveling options that are available in the organization. This website will be operated by IT professionals and Artificial Intelligence when humans are out of reach. Some AI that would be used include chatbots to streamline and automate many customer and sales service responsibilities. Ideally, clients demand more interaction and faster responses; hence chatbots will help bridge this gap when humans are unavailable. The quality of services provided by Peaky Adventures will be maintained by asking for feedback from clients and asking them to rate their experiences planning and booking their flights with the travel agency. Peaky Adventure will also secure an ATOL license to ensure that it adheres to legal regulations and guarantee safety to its clients. References Biz Vibe (2022). Top 10 Travel Companies in the World by Sales in 2020, Travel Industry Factsheet. https://blog.bizvibe.com/blog/top-travel-companies Campbell, K. (2021). Hotel Rack Rates: Everything You Need to Know. https://www.cvent.com/en/blog/hospitality/hotel-rack-rates Economic Investigations (2015). Handout: Barriers to Entry – Tour Operators. https://peped.org/economicinvestigations/handout-barriers-to-entry-tour-operators/ Morgan, B. (2022). What Is Bleisure Travel, And How Is It Transforming The Hospitality Industry? Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2022/06/27/what-is-bleisure-travel-and-how-is-it-transforming-the-hospitality-industry/?sh=1d025d1b7231 Reyhle, N. L. (2019). The Top Retail Markdown Strategies for 2020. Light Speed. https://www.lightspeedhq.com/blog/the-top-retail-markdown-strategies/
Hi, I have an assignment of 10-12 pages. It was in 2 parts. In the first part you have to open your own business of anything and have to write the required information about it. I had already done th
Business Plan Template for a Startup Business A startup business plan serves several purposes. It can help convince investors or lenders to finance your business. It can persuade partners or key employees to join your company. Most importantly, it serves as a roadmap guiding the launch and growth of your new business. Writing a business plan is an opportunity to carefully think through every step 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. Be honest with yourself as you work through your business plan. Don’t gloss over potential problems; instead, figure out solutions. A good business plan is clear and concise. A person outside of your industry should be able to understand it. Avoid overusing industry jargon or terminology. Most of the time involved in writing your plan should be spent researching and thinking. Make sure to document your research, including the sources of any information you include. Avoid making unsubstantiated claims or sweeping statements. Investors, lenders and others reading your plan will want to see realistic projections and expect your assumptions to be supported with facts. This template includes instructions for each section of the business plan, followed by corresponding fillable worksheet/s. The last section in the instructions, “Refining Your Plan,” explains ways you may need to modify your plan for specific purposes, such as getting a bank loan, or for specific industries, such as retail. Proofread your completed plan (or have someone proofread it for you) to make sure it’s free of spelling and grammatical errors and that all figures are accurate. Business Plan [Insert Date] Company name Street address 1 Street address 2 City, state, ZIP Business phone Website URL Email address Confidentiality Agreement The undersigned reader acknowledges that any information provided by _________________________ in this business plan, other than information that is in the public domain, is confidential in nature, and that any disclosure or use of same by the reader may cause serious harm or damage to ________________________. Therefore, the undersigned agrees not to disclose it without express written permission from ________________________________. Upon request, the undersigned reader will immediately return this document to ___________________________. ___________________Signature ___________________Name (typed or printed) ___________________Date This is a business plan. It does not imply an offering of securities. Table of Contents Confidentiality Agreement 3 I. Instructions: Executive Summary 5 Executive Summary 6 II. Instructions: Company Description 7 Company Description Worksheet 9 III. Instructions: Products & Services 10 Product & Service Description Worksheet 11 IV. Instructions: Marketing Plan 13 1.Market research 13 2.Barriers to entry 13 3.Threats and opportunities 13 SWOT Analysis Worksheet 15 4.Product/service features and benefits 16 5.Target customer 16 6.Key competitors 16 Competitor Data Collection Plan 18 Competitive Analysis Worksheet 19 7.Positioning/Niche 20 8.How you will market your product/service 20 9.Promotional budget 21 Marketing Expenses Strategy Chart 22 10.Pricing 23 Pricing Strategy Worksheet 24 11.Location or proposed location 26 12.Distribution channels 26 Distribution Channel Assessment Worksheet 27 13.12-month sales forecast 28 V. Instructions: Operational Plan 29 1Production 29 14.Quality control 29 15.Location 29 16.Legal environment 29 17.Personnel 29 18.Inventory 31 19.Suppliers 31 20.Credit policies 31 VI. Instructions: Management & Organization 32 Management Worksheet 33 Organization Chart 34 VII. Instructions: Startup Expenses & Capitalization 37 VIII. Instructions: Financial Plan 38 IX. Instructions: Appendices 41 X. Instructions: Refining the Plan 42 Now That You’re (Almost) Finished . . . 44 I. Instructions: Executive Summary The Executive Summary is the most important part of your business plan. Often, it’s the only part that a prospective investor or lender reads before deciding whether or not to read the rest of your plan. It should convey your enthusiasm for your business idea and get readers excited about it, too. Write your Executive Summary LAST, after you have completed the rest of the business plan. That way, you’ll have thought through all the elements of your startup and be prepared to summarize them. The Executive Summary should briefly explain each of the below. An overview of your business idea (one or two sentences). A description of your product and/or service. What problems are you solving for your target customers? Your goals for the business. Where do you expect the business to be in one year, three years, five years? Your proposed target market. Who are your ideal customers? Your competition and what differentiates your business. Who are you up against, and what unique selling proposition will help you succeed? Your management team and their prior experience. What do they bring to the table that will give your business a competitive edge? Financial outlook for the business. If you’re using the business plan for financing purposes, explain exactly how much money you want, how you will use it, and how that will make your business more profitable. Limit your Executive Summary to one or two pages in total. After reading the Executive Summary, readers should have a basic understanding of your business, should be excited about its potential, and should be interested enough to read further. After you’ve completed your business plan, come back to this section to write your executive summary on the next page. Executive Summary (Write after you’ve completed the rest of the business plan.) II. Instructions: Company Description This section explains the basic elements of your business. Include each of the below: 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. Company philosophy and vision What values does your business live by? Honesty, integrity, fun, innovation and community are values that might be important to your business philosophy. 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. Company goals Specify your long- and short-term goals as well as any milestones or benchmarks you will use to measure your progress. For instance, if one of your goals is to open a second location, milestones might include reaching a specific sales volume or signing contracts with a certain number of clients in the new market. Target market You will cover this in-depth in the Marketing Plan section. Here, briefly explain who your target customers are. 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? Legal structure Is your business a sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership or corporation? Why did you choose this particular form of business? If there is more than one owner, explain how ownership is divided. If you have investors, explain the percentage of shares they own. This information is important to investors and lenders. After reading the Company Description, the reader should have a basic understanding of your business’s mission and vision, goals, target market, competitive landscape and legal structure. Use the Company Description worksheet on the next page to help you complete this section. Company Description Worksheet Business Name Company Mission Statement Company Philosophy/ Values Company Vision Goals & Milestones 1. 2. 3. Target Market Industry/ Competitors 1. 2. 3. Legal Structure/ Ownership III. Instructions: Products & Services This section expands on the basic information about your products and services included in the Executive Summary and Company Description. Here are some items to consider: Your company’s products and/or services: What do you sell, and how is it manufactured or provided? Include details of relationships with suppliers, manufacturers and/or partners that are essential to delivering the product or service to customers. 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. Any proprietary features that give you a competitive advantage: Do you have a patent on your product or a patent pending? Do you have exclusive agreements with suppliers or vendors to sell a product or service that none of your competitors sell? Do you have the license for a product, technology or service that’s in high demand and/or short supply? How you will price your product or service: Describe the pricing, fee, subscription or leasing structure of your product or service. How does your product or service fit into the competitive landscape in terms of pricing—are you on the low end, mid-range or high end? How will that pricing strategy help you attract customers? What is your projected profit margin? Include any product or service details, such as technical specifications, drawings, photos, patent documents and other support information, in the Appendices. After reading the Products & Services section, the reader should have a clear understanding of what your business does, what problem it solves for customers, and the unique selling proposition that makes it competitive. Use the Product and Service Description Worksheet on the next page to help you complete this section. Product & Service Description Worksheet Business Name Product/ Service Idea Special Benefits Unique Features Limits and Liabilities Production and Delivery Suppliers Intellectual Property Special Permits Product/ Service Description IV. Instructions: 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. Market research There are two kinds of research: primary and secondary. Primary market research is information you gather yourself. This could include going online or driving around town to identify competitors; interviewing or surveying people who fit the profile of your target customers; or doing traffic counts at a retail location you’re considering. Secondary market research is information from sources such as trade organizations and journals, magazines and newspapers, Census data and demographic profiles. You can find this information online, at libraries, from chambers of commerce, from vendors who sell to your industry or from government agencies. This section of your plan should explain: The total size of your industry 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? 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 or patents Tariffs and quotas Unionization in your industry Threats and opportunities Once your business surmounts the barriers to entry you mentioned, what additional threats might it face? Explain how the following could affect your startup: Changes in government regulations Changes in technology Changes in the economy Changes in your industry Use the SWOT Analysis Worksheet on the next page to identify your company’s weaknesses and potential threats, as well as its strengths and the potential opportunities you plan to exploit. SWOT Analysis Worksheet Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats Product/ Service Offering Brand/ Marketing Staff/HR Finance Operations/ Management Market Can any of your strengths help with improving your weaknesses or combating your threats? If so, please describe how below. Based on the information above, what are your immediate goals/next steps? Based on the information above, what are your long-term goals/next steps? 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 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 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. Use the Competitor Data Collection Plan on the next page to brainstorm ways you can collect information about competitors in each category. Competitor Data Collection Plan Price Benefits/Features Size/profitability Market strategy Once you’ve identified your major competitors, use the Competitive Analysis Worksheet on the next page to compare your business to theirs. Competitive Analysis Worksheet For each factor listed in the first column, assess whether you think it’s a strength or a weakness (S or W) for your business and for your competitors. Then rank how important each factor is to your target customer on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = very important; 5 = not very important). Use this information to explain your competitive advantages and disadvantages. FACTOR Me Competitor A Competitor B Competitor C Importance to Customer Products Price Quality Selection Service Reliability Stability Expertise Company Reputation Location Appearance Sales Method Credit Policies Advertising Image 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. 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.) Explain how they’ll support your brand. Promotional budget How much do you plan to spend on the marketing and advertising outreach above: Before startup (These numbers will go into your startup budget) On an ongoing basis (These numbers will go into your operating plan budget) Use the Marketing Expenses Strategy Chart on the next page to help figure out the cost of reaching different target markets. Marketing Expenses Strategy Chart Target Market 1 Target Market 2 Target Market 3 One-TimeExpenses Monthly or Annual Expenses Labor Costs Download the Annual Marketing Budget Template. Using the information you’ve gathered, create your annual marketing budget. Pricing You explained pricing briefly in the “Products & Services” section; now it’s time to go into more detail. 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, it’s 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. What will your customer service and credit policies be? Use the Pricing Strategy Worksheet on the next page to help with your pricing. Pricing Strategy Worksheet Business Name Which of the following pricing strategies will you employ? Circle one. Cost Plus The costs of making/obtaining your product or providing your service, plus enough to make a profit Value Based Based on your competitive advantage and brand (perceived value) Other: Provide an explanation of your pricing model selection. Include strategy info on your major product lines/service offerings. List industry/market practices and any considerations to be discussed with your mentor. 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, including: 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 Focus on the location of your building, not the physical building itself. You’ll discuss that later, in the Operations section. Distribution channels What methods of distribution will you use to sell your products and/or services? These may include: Retail Direct sales Ecommerce Wholesale Inside sales force Outside sales representatives OEMs If you have any strategic partnerships or key distributor relationships that will be a factor in your success, explain them here. If you haven’t yet finalized your distribution channels, use the Distribution Channel Assessment Worksheet on the next page to assess the pros and cons of each distribution channel you are considering. Distribution Channel Assessment Worksheet Distribution Channel 1 Distribution Channel 2 Distribution Channel 3 Ease of Entry Geographic Proximity Costs Competitors’ Positions Management Experience Staffing Capabilities Marketing Needs 12-month sales forecast Download the Sales Forecast spreadsheet and use it to create a month-by-month sales projection. If you’ve already made some sales, you can use those as a basis for your projections. If, like most startups, you haven’t sold anything yet, you’ll need to create estimates based on your market research, your proposed marketing strategies and your industry data. Create two forecasts: a “best guess” scenario (what you really expect) and a “worst case” scenario (one you’re confident you can reach no matter what). Keep notes on the research and assumptions that go into developing these sales forecasts. Financing sources will want to know what you based the numbers on. After reading the Marketing Plan section, the reader should understand who your target customers are, how you plan to market to them, what sales and distribution channels you will use, and how you will position your product/service relative to the competition. A SCORE mentor can help you complete your Marketing Plan tailored for your business. Find a SCORE mentor. V. Instructions: Operational Plan This section explains the daily operation of your business, including its location, equipment, personnel and processes. Production How will you will produce your product or deliver your service? Describe your production methods, the equipment you’ll use and how much it will cost to produce what you sell. Quality control How will you maintain consistency? Describe the quality control procedures you’ll use. Location Where is your business located? You briefly touched on this in the Company Overview. In this section, expand on that information with details such as: The size of your location The type of building (retail, industrial, commercial, etc.) Zoning restrictions Accessibility for customers, employees, suppliers and transportation if necessary Costs including rent, maintenance, utilities, insurance and any buildout or remodeling costs Utilities Legal environment What type of legal environment will your business operate in? How are you prepared to handle legal requirements? Include details such as: Any licenses and/or permits that are needed and whether you’ve obtained them Any trademarks, copyrights or patents that you have or are in the process of applying for The insurance coverage your business requires and how much it costs Any environmental, health or workplace regulations affecting your business Any special regulations affecting your industry Bonding requirements, if applicable Personnel What type of personnel will your business need? Explain details such as: What types of employees? Are there any licensing or educational requirements? How many employees will you need? Will you ever hire freelancers or independent contractors? Include job descriptions. What is the pay structure (hourly, salaried, base plus commission, etc.)? How do you plan to find qualified employees and contractors? What type of training is needed and how will you train employees? Download the Job Analysis Worksheet and use it to help you answer the questions above. Inventory If your business requires inventory, explain: What kind of inventory will you keep on hand (raw materials, supplies, finished products)? What will be the average value of inventory (in other words, how much are you investing in inventory)? What rate of inventory turnover do you expect? How does this compare to industry averages? Will you need more inventory than normal during certain seasons? (For instance, a retailer might need additional inventory for the holiday shopping season.) What is your lead time for ordering inventory? Suppliers List your key suppliers, including: Names, addresses, websites Type and amount of inventory furnished Their credit and delivery policies History and reliability Do you expect any supply shortages or short-term delivery problems? If so, how will you handle them? Do you have more than one supplier for critical items (as a backup)? Do you expect the cost of supplies to hold steady or fluctuate? If the latter, how will you deal with changing costs? What are your suppliers’ payment terms? Credit policies If you plan to sell to customers on credit, explain: Whether this is typical in your industry (do customers expect it)? What your credit policies will be. How much credit will you extend? What are the criteria for extending credit? How will you check new customers’ creditworthiness? What credit terms will you offer? Detail how much it will cost you to offer credit, and show that you’ve built these costs into your pricing structure. How will you handle slow-paying customers? Explain your policies, such as when you will follow up on late payments, and when you will get an attorney or collections agency involved. After reading the Operational Plan section, the reader should understand how your business will operate on a day-to-day basis. VI. Instructions: Management & Organization This section should give readers an understanding of the people behind your business, their roles and responsibilities, and their prior experience. If you’re using your business plan to get financing, know that investors and lenders carefully assess whether you have a qualified management team. Biographies Include brief biographies of the owner/s and key employees. Include resumes in the Appendix. Here, summarize your experience and those of your key employees in a few paragraphs per person. Focus on the prior experience and skills that have prepared your team to succeed in this business. If anyone has previous experience starting and growing a business, explain this in detail. Gaps Explain how you plan to fill in any gaps in management and/or experience. For instance, if you lack financial know-how, will you hire a CFO or retain an accountant? If you don’t have sales skills, will you hire an in-house sales manager or use outside sales reps? Advisors List the members of your professional/advisory support team, including: Attorney Accountant Board of directors Advisory board Insurance agent Consultants Banker Mentors and other advisors If they have experience or specializations that will increase your chances of success, explain. For instance, does your mentor have experience launching and growing a similar business? Organization Chart Develop and include an organization chart. This should include both roles that you’ve already filled and roles you plan to fill in the future. After reading the Management & Organization section, the reader should feel confident that you have a qualified team leading your business. Use the Management Worksheet and Organization Chart on the next two pages to highlight your management team. Management Worksheet Bio/s Gaps in Management or Experience Advisors Organization Chart VII. Instructions: Startup Expenses & Capitalization In this section, detail the expenses involved in opening for business and how much capital you’ll need. (Do not include ongoing expenses after your business opens; those are listed in the Financial Plan.) Estimating startup expenses as accurately as possible helps you gather enough startup capital. Start-Up Expenses Download and complete the Start-Up Expenses template. In working on this Business Plan, you should already have gathered most, if not all, of the information you need. In the body of this section, be sure to explain all of the assumptions behind the figures. How did you come up with these expenses? If you’ve secured or expect to secure loans, explain the source/s, amount/s and terms. If you’ve secured or expect to secure investors, explain how much each investor will contribute and what percentage of ownership each receives in return. Be sure to include extra capital for unexpected expenses. Opening a new business almost always ends up costing more than expected, and you need to be prepared. List this figure in the Start-Up Expenses template under “Reserve for Contingencies.” How much should you set aside for contingencies? You can talk to other business owners in your industry to get a ballpark figure. If you can’t come up with a figure this way, a good rule of thumb is to set aside 20% to 25% of your total startup costs for contingencies. Opening Day Balance Sheet Download and complete the Opening Day Balance Sheet. Use it to detail the expected state of your business finances on opening day. As with the Start-Up Expenses sheet, be sure to explain the assumptions behind the figures. Personal Financial Statement If you are using the business plan to seek financing, include personal financial statements for each owner and each major stockholder. The personal financial statements should detail each person’s assets and liabilities outside of the business and their personal net worth. Investors and/or lenders typically expect business owners to use personal assets to finance a startup, and they’ll want to see how much capital you have available from your personal finances. After reading the Startup Expenses & Capitalization section, the reader should know how much money is needed to start the business and how well capitalized you are. VIII. Instructions: Financial Plan Your financial plan is perhaps the most important element of your business plan. Lenders and investors will review it in detail. Developing your financial plan helps you set financial goals for your startup and assess its financing needs. Include the following: 12-month profit & loss projection Also known as an income statement or P&L, the 12-month profit and loss projection is the centerpiece of your business plan. Download the 12-Month Profit and Loss Projection and fill in your projected sales, cost of goods sold and gross profit. (Refer to the Sales Forecast you created in Section IV). Then list your expenses, net profit before taxes, estimated taxes and net operating income. Be sure to explain the assumptions behind the numbers in your P&L. Keep detailed notes about how you came up with these figures; you may need this information to answer questions from potential financing sources. Optional: 3-year profit & loss projection A three-year profit and loss projection is not essential to a business plan. However, you may want to create one if you expect your business’s financials to change substantially after the first year, or if investors or lenders require it. Download the 3-Year Profit and Loss Projection template, and use it to create your projection. Cash flow projection The cash flow statement tracks how much cash your business has on hand at any given time. Once your business is up and running, you’ll want to keep close tabs on your cash flow statement. For now, however, you’re creating a cash flow projection. Think of the cash flow projection as a forecast for your business checking account. It details when you need to spend money on things such as inventory, rent and payroll, and when you expect to receive payments from customers and clients. For example, you may make a sale, have to buy inventory to fulfill the sale, and not collect payment from the customer for 30, 60 or 90 days. The cash flow projection takes these factors into account, helping you budget for upcoming expenses so your business doesn’t run out of money. Download the 12-Month Cash Flow Statement and use it to create your projections. Optional: 3-year cash flow statement Depending on your needs and the purpose of your business plan, you may also want to include a 3-year cash flow statement. If so, download the 3-Year Cash Flow Statement and use it to create your projections. This is a much simpler document than the 12-month cash flow statement, but can still be useful in making plans. Projected balance sheet A balance sheet subtracts the company’s liabilities from its assets to arrive at the owner’s equity. You already created an opening day balance sheet in Section 1. Now, download the Balance Sheet (Projected), and create a projected balance sheet showing the estimated financial condition of your business at the end of its first year. The major difference between the two is that the projected balance sheet includes any owner’s equity resulting from the business’s first year in operation. Lenders and investors may want to see this projection. Break-even calculation The break-even analysis projects the sales volume you need in order to cover your costs. In other words, when will the business break even? Download the Break-Even Analysis template and, using your profit and loss projections, enter your expected fixed and variable costs. Adjust the categories to reflect your own business. You can even create a couple of different break-even analyses for different scenarios. For example, your payroll costs will vary depending on whether you hire full-time employees or use independent contractors. Creating different break-even analyses can help you determine the best option. Use of capital If you’re using the business plan to seek financing from lenders or investors, provide a breakdown of how you will the capital and what results you expect. For example, perhaps you will use the money to buy new equipment and expect that to double your production capacity. After reading the Financial Plan section, the reader should understand the assumptions behind your financial projections and be able to judge whether these projections are realistic. A SCORE mentor can help you complete your Financial Plan tailored for your business. Find a SCORE mentor. IX. Instructions: Appendices Don’t slow your readers down by cluttering your business plan with supporting documents, such as contracts or licenses. Instead, put these documents in the Appendices, and refer to them in the body of the plan so readers can find them if needed. Below are some elements many business owners include in their Appendices. Agreements (Leases, contracts, purchase orders, letters of intent, etc.) Intellectual property (trademarks, licenses, patents, etc.) Resumes of owners/key employees Advertising/marketing materials Public relations/publicity Blueprints/plans List of equipment Market research studies List of assets that can be used as collateral You can also include any other materials that will give readers a fuller picture of your business or support the projections and assumptions you make in your plan. For instance, you might want to include photos of your proposed location, illustrations or photos of a product you are patenting, or charts showing the projected growth of your market. After reviewing the Appendices, the reader should feel satisfied that the assumptions throughout the plan are backed up by documentation and evidence. X. Instructions: Refining the Plan Modify your business plan for your specific needs, audience and industry. Here are some guidelines to help: For Raising Capital from Bankers Bankers want to know that you’ll be able to repay the loan. If the business plan is for bankers or other lenders, include: How much money you’re seeking How you’ll use the money How that will make your business stronger Requested repayment terms (number of years to repay) Any collateral you have and a list of all existing liens against your collateral For Raising Capital from Investors Investors are looking for dramatic growth, and they expect to share in the rewards. If the business plan is for investors, include: Investment amount you need short-term Investment amount you’ll need in two to five years How you’ll use the money and how that will help your business grow Estimated return on investment Exit strategy for investors (buyback, sale or IPO) Percentage of ownership you will give investors Milestones or conditions you will accept Financial reporting you will provide to investors How involved investors will be on the board or in management For a Manufacturing Business Explain the operations involved in manufacturing your product/s. What equipment is needed? What are the production/capacity limits of the equipment? What are the production/capacity limits of the proposed physical plant? Is specialized labor needed? What raw materials do you need for manufacturing? Are there any special requirements for storing these? What quality control procedures will you use? How will you manage inventory levels? What is your supply chain? Explain any new products you’re developing, or products you plan to begin developing after startup. For a Service Business Explain your prices and the methods used to set them. What systems and processes will you use for ensuring consistent delivery of services? What quality control procedures will you use? How will you measure employee productivity? Will you subcontract any work to other businesses? If so, what percentage of work will be subcontracted? Will you make a profit on subcontracting? Explain your credit, payment and collections policies and procedures. How will you maintain your client base and get long-term contracts? Explain any new services you’re developing or services you plan to add after startup. For a Retail Business List specific brands you plan to carry that will give you a competitive advantage. How will you manage inventory? What inventory management software will you use? What forms of payment will you accept? What payment processing service will you use? What point-of-sale software and hardware will you use? Explain your markup policies. Your prices should be profitable, competitive and in line with your brand. Initial inventory level: Find the industry average annual inventory turnover rate (available in the RMA book). Multiply your initial inventory investment by the average turnover rate. The result should be at least equal to your projected first year’s cost of goods sold. If not, you may need to budget more for startup inventory. What are your customer service policies? How will you handle returns and exchanges? Will your retail store also have an ecommerce site, or is one planned for the future? For an Ecommerce Business Will you sell a physical product, a service, a digital product (such as eBooks) or some combination of these? If you’re selling physical products, how will you brand and package them? Will you sell on your own website, online marketplaces (such as Amazon) or both? What technology providers and platforms will you use to run your ecommerce site? Web hosting service Web design service Shopping cart provider Payment processing service Fulfillment & shipping services Email marketing services Can the solutions you’ve chosen quickly scale up or down as needed? Where will you get your products? Will you manufacture them in-house, buy them from manufacturers or use drop shippers? How will you handle returns and exchanges? What are your customer service policies? How will you provide customer service? Will you use any proprietary technology of your own and if so, what advantages does that give you? For a Software or SaaS business What is your pricing structure? Will you use a free trial, “freemium” or paid business model? If you offer free services or a free trial option, how will you upsell customers to a payment model? What percentage of customers are expected to become paying customers? Have you tested your software? Are any “early adopters” already using the product? How will you encourage long-term contracts in order to create recurring revenues? How will you manage rapidly changing markets, technologies and costs? How will you keep your company competitive? Will you use in-house developers or outsource this function? How will you provide customer support? How will you retain key personnel? Are you using any proprietary or exclusive software that will give you a competitive edge? How will you protect your intellectual property? What additional products or updates to current products are you planning after launch? Now That You’re (Almost) Finished . . . Remember to go back, and complete the Executive Summary. After you’ve filled out all the worksheets and executive summary, print them out and you have a business plan. Work with a SCORE mentor to review and refine your plan.