WRITING THE BUSINESS PLAN
Writing a good business plan for your business requires time, commitment, and understanding of the planning process, as well as a good business plan template. Focus on completing one business plan section at a time, and you’ll eventually complete the seven pieces needed for your “blueprint for success.”
The business plan is yours. Gather enough information from outside sources to make sure it is both professional and accurate, but don’t be afraid to be creative with the presentation. Customize it to reflect your vision.
Be sure to include the following seven sections in your business plan.
- Executive summary: Write the Executive Summary last but it goes first in the plan. Summarize the most important points of your plan (income, forecasts and growth strategies; funding needs; the services you will provide, market growth and trends, key personnel). Keep it brief and simple.
- Mission statement: Your mission statement tells people what you do as the essential core of your business. An ideal mission statement is 17 words or less. It's tempting to roll up your sleeves and plunge right into the details of your business but don’t lose sight of what you're planning for. Look back at the vision you outlined in the preparation phase, then develop a mission statement and use it to define short-term goals and priorities. Once you have a clear road map for your business, you can plan your journey with more confidence. Mission statements are more than just flowery statements. A good mission statement makes decisions much easier. You may want to bring some supporters together to help you draft your mission statement. The ultimate test for your mission statement is if every coach and parent in your organization can tell you what it is. If they can, then you’re onto something meaningful and memorable. For examples and more information on writing a mission statement go to (site on USA Swimming website)
- Company history (or plans) and description: This section discusses the following topics in narrative form:
- What is or will be the legal form of your business, where is it located, what is its history
- List current or anticipated services you provide.
- Also list future services you plan to introduce.
- Describe your competitive advantage
- Market analysis: This section discusses the following topics in narrative form:
- What markets you will serve
- Explain and define your demographics in terms of population size, area, income levels
- Define the size of the business (for example, a club with fewer than 10 employees, part-time versus full-time employees)
- Use U.S. Bureau of the Census or trade association data to estimate your market size.
- Current or recent trends driving demand
- Industry distribution and buying patterns and trends
- Local competitors, both direct and indirect For example, Health clubs, YMCA’s, other swim teams
- Marketing plan: This section discusses the following topics in narrative form:
- Your marketing mix
- Generating leads: Networking, direct mail, a web site, publishing a newsletter, press releases
- Marketing campaigns
- Marketing budget.
- Estimate marketing campaigns costs and write out a monthly or quarterly budget.
- Pricing strategy.
- Management summary and personnel plan: This section discusses the following topics in narrative form:
- Name the CEO/President/Director as well as the person responsible for marketing
- Description of the size of the staff and program leadership responsibility
- Explanation of the business administration procedure and personnel who will be responsible
- A job description for each critical function.
- A policy & procedures manual or handbook.
- Basic pay scales and personnel budget
- Benefits provided to employees
- Financial statements Include a balance sheet, profit and loss statements (historical and projections), a breakeven analysis and cash flow projections. (Get financial templates from business planning or accounting books, web sites or software programs. The U.S. Small Business Administration also has good instructions for creating business plan financial statements. Go to www.sba.gov and click on “Business Plans” underneath “Starting Your Business.” You'll find some sections of your business plan more challenging than others. Don’t hesitate to ask for business planning help from a local small business development counselor, accountant, market researcher or business coach. Contact you nearest SCORE chapter and get all the help they can provide. It is free.)