Who should write your business plan?
My husband and I recently bought a food truck for healthy cuisine on-the-go. We've done a few 'soft opens' the past few weekends at smaller venues, but have yet to go anywhere that would attract too many customers. This is mainly because we feel like we are not ready since we don't have a business plan. We are both first time entrepreneurs and have never written one. If not us, who should write our business plan?
You should write it. It is your business, so it has to be your plan. You can get help for free from theUS Small Business Administration, from your local SCORE Chapter (www.score.org) or Small Business Development Center. And if you are a veteran, you can go to the Veterans Business Outreach Center for your region. All of this is free of charge.
I distinguish between a business plan and a strategic plan. A business plan is what you put together for 'external' purposes, e.g. people or entities who you want to consider investing in your business.
A strategic plan is more of an internal plan -- a description of who you are, what you want to accomplish, and how to do it. (Certainly there are common elements between a business and a strategic plan.) I believe you are talking about a strategic plan.
This needs to be completed by you, but should not be done by yourself. No reason to reinvent the wheel, when it comes to format and when you want something that is quick, easy and actionable. I help business owners do this all the time, and it is invaluable. Part of its great value comes from squeezing out the answer to the question: is what I want to accomplish doable?
Now, 2 points. First, you already are incurring expenses so take some risk and get going to generate revenue. However, still move forward to put a plan together.Secondly, if you want something quick and dirty, just to outline what you should do the next 12 months, take a look at the video I just put out entitled: "Quick Impact 12-Month Plan". https://yourbizsuccess.leadpages.co/2016onehoursuccessplan-optin/
It might be all you need to get those wheels rolling!
It's good to understand the reason for writing a plan, including what the future holds, but there's more to it. There are different formats and ways to write a plan, depending on what you're looking for. If you need a loan, a bank has different requirements than a partner, for example. You should still put a plan together if it's just for you and your husband. It may not be as formal, but it still should contain basic components, like revenue projections, costs and net profit. Even if you're not looking for financing, the business plan can be used to make informed decisions about other parts of your business, especially when it comes to operations and marketing.
As a SCORE mentor since 2003, I'd also recommend you make a visit to a local office for free mentoring and even take some classes.
You should write your Business Plan. Who knows your new business better then you? I have Business Plan and Financial Statement templates available for you at - http://budspracticalaccounting.com/resources/free-downloads/.
Follow the outline on the template and develop all the information you can gather yourself to fill in the blanks. Contact specialist for additional information you may need; your banker, your lawyer, your accountant, your insurance agent, your suppliers, and anyone else you will be dealing with.
Make sure that you realize that this food truck must be able to support itself to the point of paying all of the expenses, including salaries for you and your husband, and must make a profit (or why bother). That may sound a bit cruel but is the facts you must face when you start a new business.
The templates will (1) give you an outline for your Business Plan, (2) supply you with templates for your Financial Statements that must be a part of your Business Plan.
Finally, when you lay out your Cash Flow Statement - you cannot run out of cash in October - if you do it's all over.
RG Bud Phelps
Richard Stern-You should write your own Business Plan.You can take classes for free at the SBA associate business institutions. You can get assistance also from professionals at SCORE. They provide consultation services.The Business Plan is your journey. Its not a Term Paper. The Plan must meet (3) conditions: Reasonable, Realistic and Doable by you. The Plan by writing will provide issues you know and issues you do not know.
The Plan is one of the most important parts of starting your business
You should. Planning is simple: where are we now? where do we want to be? and, how are we going to get there - month-by-month, quarter-by-quarter, and year-by-year? There are a wide variety of business plan software packages that you can use as a guide, but the input has to be yours. Be honest, realistic, and practical with your projections. Best thing you can ever do is develop a break-even analysis for your first year of operations: how much of what do you have to sell to who to cover your costs and expenses - can you do it? Take a look at the "Shark Tank" on TV for some good lessons on poor planning. You may also want to get: Guidebook to Planning - A Common Sense Approach, available on Amazon.
If you need a business plan, then you really should do it yourself. Going through the process of crafting the plan will help you think more deeply about your business. As this is your first entrepreneurial experience, it would help if you got guidance on your plan from someone with experience in food trucks. There are plenty of free business plan templates available that will provide you with a good outline to start.
However, as a few others have mentioned, if you aren't pursuing financing right now, then just piece the business plan together as you go. Customer feedback is going to be some of the most valuable information that you can get. Besides, a business plan is never finished - it continually evolves.
Finally, you can always start with a simple one-page business plan - like this one - http://100startup.com/resources/business-plan.pdf and determine your budget and financial requirements if you haven't already.
It seems from your narration that you have already practically taken the initiative and started running a business.
In this scenario the business plan will be a shift of focus,motivation and energy.However, you can definitely delegate it to someone to do it for you with a target date.
The most important thing is that from the direction perspective your focus is correct and you should keep these soft introductions going till you identify customer intensive locations.
These soft opens will give you exact idea on the following:
1) Product Marketability and Acceptability
2) Customer Profile And Target Market
3) Quality considerations
4) Customer Requirements
5) Future Potential Products
6) Regulatory Environment
7) Operating Expenses
9) Product Costing
10) Branding and its impact
These will also become the bases for your business plan and strategy in future.Most probably after few experiences you will be able to identify the numbers yourself.
Don't expect immediate returns and keep enriching your customer and brand equity with a focus on change and continuous improvement.
Direct interaction with customers and improving on his feedback is the best way to take your business to success.
Keep yourself in positive spirits and energy during this time of effort and hardwork with lesser than expected returns.
Best Of Luck.
North York, Canada
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides resource partners such as the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to help with all aspects of business planning, including business plan writing. Visit https://www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance/sbdc to find a center in your area.
Why do you believe you need a business plan? Are you looking for financing? Merger? Bringing on a partner? If none of these and it's only you and your husband, you can decide where you want to be this year, next year and in five years.
By all means you need to create (& own) your business plan.
David and I will agree to disagree on this one.
But, you will need some expertise not only to create the business plan but to execute it as well. My suggestion is to contact your local Score for a free, confidential mentor. Good Luck! Doug PS - Even though you are likely a Tide fan, this is in good faith ;-)
A qualified professional should write your business plan. Please don't try to do it all yourself. Is it really worth saving a few dollars if your business plan will be sub-par? Use UpWork or Craigslist to find a qualified independent contractor or agency, or just use Google to find a writer in your local area with experience in business plan writing.