Startup owners who want to succeed write business plans. Yours does not have to be a work of art, or a book. Even 5 to 10 pages of the bones of a business plan will give you a much better understanding of your bakery business, so you can realistically handle the challenges and take the most direct route to success.
You could possibly write a business plan in any format you wanted, but this is the standard structure. At least when you change it a little, you’ll know what you’re adding or taking away.
1) The Executive Summary
What if someone only had time to read a few paragraphs of your business plan? They would read the executive summary. Most business professors suggest writing the executive summary after you’ve finished all the other sections, and its good advice.
2) The Business Analysis
The bones of your business — its name, location, and legal structure. What your business will do and what market it will be working in. This typically also includes an analysis of your prospective customers and an analysis of your competitors. You may want to do some demographic research to back up your numbers and expectations. Also consult some bakery industry magazines to get business trends for your industry.
3) The Marketing Strategy
Describe your company’s brand image and the primary channels you expect to get customers through. What media will you advertise in, and how much will it cost. What results do you expect to get from your advertising. Also talk a bit about customer retention.
4) Products and Services
This is an indepth look at what you will be selling, and what servies you will be offering. Even if you’re just selling a comfortable place to get a bite to eat at while someone waits for a train, that’s still a service, and you need to articulate how you’ll deliver that experience.
5) The Management Plan
And now a bit about you. And why you would make a great owner, and how you are qualified, or, if not qualified, how your personality and skills can make this bakery business happen. If you have already selected a few employees, include short biographies of them and what they will bring to your company.
6) The Financial Plan
This can be a bit of work. You will need to outline startup costs, monthly overhead costs, expected income, cost of payroll, taxes and more. The financial plan typically includes a month by month financial snapshot of cashflow and debt ratios, and charts the path you plan to take to profitability. It may take 2 years to become profitable. It might take 5 years. It might take 6 months. Whatever it is, get the reality shot now rather than later. If you come up short, you may realize you have to shift your services offered a bit, or go after a slightly different market.
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