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Business Plan Advice

Business Plan Examples To Get You Going

It’s time to get specific and personalise your business plan.

Casandra Visser

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The last thing an entrepreneur needs is unwanted expenses, which is why it’s so important to cover all your bases right at the beginning.

Now that you have the basics of your business plan down, it’s time to take it up a notch. Every industry is different, which means your plan needs to be too.

When you write your business plan and develop your model, you need to start thinking about the extras you’ll need to get your dream business up and running. This can be anything from the premises and equipment to the specific staff that you’ll need to hire.

Industry Specific Business Plan Examples

Investors want details so including the right information in your business plan could mean the difference between a yes and a no. Below are some basics that you might want to include when writing your business plan.


1. Coffee Shop Business Plan

coffee-shop-business-plan

One of the most important success factors in launching a profitable coffee shop will be your chosen location. It’s vital that you attract high traffic and that your customers will find your shop to be convenient and appealing.

Next, decide who your target market is and if the area that you will be running your store in has the right people present.

Finally, how will your store operate? Refer to number of employees, the hours they will work and where you’ll be sourcing your beans and equipment.

Here’s a sample of a coffee shop business plan.

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2. Event Planning Business Plan

event-planning-business-plan

Events can be quite a broad category so dedicate a place in your plan to provide insights into your specific products and services as well as how you will run through an event from start to finish.

You must decide whether you will be targeting individuals (planning weddings, baby showers and private parties) or corporate clients (for instance focusing on product launches, team building, etc).

Depending on the type of events you’ll be organising you’ll need to take equipment and supplies into consideration and incorporate it into your start-up expenses. If you’re able to obtain deposits from clients upfront, an events business can be relatively inexpensive to get up off the ground.

Here’s a sample of an events planning business plan.

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3. General Freight Trucking Business Plan

general-freight-trucking-business-plan

Help your trucking business plan stand out by including information on the market you are entering into and how you aim to be different to your competitors.

Next you can go a little deeper into detail about your services and how you will operate, you might want to mention if this will be an owner-operated business or if you will be employing drivers.

Since you need trucks to generate profits, this should naturally be included in your plan. Do you already have trucks? And if not, how much funding will you require to build your fleet?

Here’s an example of a trucking business plan.

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4. Catering Business Plan

catering-business-plan

Food and cooking might be your passion but you’ll have to specialise in a specific type of catering to avoid spreading yourself too thin. Talk about the type of food you will be supplying as well as the market you’ll be targeting (Private consumers, corporate sector or weddings).

Explain where you’ll be working from, how much space you will need and if you already have a licence to supply meals, if you don’t you can apply at your local city council.

Your equipment will be one of the most important aspects of your business so if you still need to purchase it include it in your start-up expenses list.

View a sample catering business plan here.

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5. Internet Café Business Plan

internet-cafe-business-plan

In order for an internet café to be profitable and to instil confidence in investors, you’ll need to be in the right spot, which means loads of foot traffic. Explain why the location you have chosen would be a good fit and what your rental costs will be.

Next, decide who your internet service provider will be and what it’s going to cost you to provide internet access to your customers, this will also be helpful when you create your price lists.

Where will you be buying your computers, accessories and furniture from and how much will this set you back? This is one business where insurance is very important so don’t leave it too late.

You can view a sample internet café business plan here.

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6. Real Estate Business Plan

real-estate-business-plan

Starting a real estate business doesn’t require as much equipment; inventory and assets as other start-ups but you will need a few basics to get you going such as a cellphone, computer and a car. If these are items that you still need to purchase then include them in your expenses list.

Make sure that your marketing plan is well thought out and detailed as this is going to be essential for bringing in new business. What makes you different from your competition, how will you bring this across in your marketing messages and what mediums will you use.

Your market is another aspect that you’ll want to think about as there are many different types of home buyers. (First time buyers, rentals, high-end homes and businesses looking for office space)

You can view a real estate business plan example here.

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7. Car Wash Business Plan

car-wash-business-plan

Running a car wash requires attention to detail and tends to be quite fast paced so pay attention to your operations plan by explaining how you will run things on a daily basis and who will be helping you.

There are a number of car wash options available for you to choose from and each of them requires slightly different machinery and supplies.

If you would prefer not to have a standard car wash then you can choose to go the mobile route, remember to include the cost of your equipment in your expenses list.

Investors will want to know where you plan to setup shop as this type of business needs a prime location, so include these details in your business plan. When you put your financials together remember to include staff wages in order to provide investors with accurate projections.

You can view a sample car wash business plan here.

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8. Travel Agency Business Plan

travel-agency-business-plan

A travel agency is a business you can start at home or in a shopping centre depending on how big your team is and the funds that you have available to you.

Since travelling involves many different elements it would be best to decide what you would like to specialise in. Will you be planning local or international holidays and how much of the holiday would you be willing to arrange?

You could offer holiday packages, flights, car rentals, cruises and/or accommodation bookings so include your service offering in your business plan.

Being able to source travel discounts and specials will require you to partner with bigger brand and including these in your business plan might give your start-up more weight in the eyes of investors.

Look at who your competitors are as well as the customers you want to target to decide what your differentiating factor will be and how you can better serve the needs of your market. Marketing and branding in the form of a website and brochures is essential for this type of business so include these expenses in your plan.

You can view a travel agency business plan here.

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9. Hair and Beauty Salon Business Plan

hair-and-beauty-salon-business-plan

In the hair and beauty sector, location and service will determine your success so ensure that you have the ideal spot picked out. The store that you decide on should have a high amount of foot traffic as this is a marketing tactic all on its own, especially if you have great branding.

Decide what you will be specialising in, you can decide to just concentrate on hair, offer beauty treatments and massages or you could decide on a hair, nails and makeup offering. Deciding on your specialisation will in turn allow you to add the required equipment and supplies to your expenses list.

Once you research the competitors in your area you can set your pricing and find a way to differentiate yourself from them. This doesn’t necessarily need to be in the form of pricing, it could be your exceptional service or the extras that you offer your customers during their visit.

View the sample hair and beauty business plan here.

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10. Agriculture Business Plan

agriculture-business-plan

A farming business requires a strategy. When you write your business plan gather as much information as possible so that you can explain where you would fit into the market in terms of supply and demand. Your next biggest consideration is going to be the land you will use for farming.

Provide a map and details on the land you have secured so that there is an idea of the layout. No matter what type of farming you decide to pursue it will require you to buy equipment, livestock, watering systems and/or fixed improvements so include these in your start-up expense list.

Familiarise yourself with government legislation surrounding your particular channel of agriculture as this will have an impact on the how you fund and structure your business to comply with regulations. Risk management and insurance must also be factored into your planning.

View an agriculture sample business plan here.

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11. Bakery Business Plan

bakery-business-plan

A bakery is a business that can be started at home depending on what your offering will be. If baking cakes and smaller goods is not what you want to do then you will need to start by finding the right size store.

If you won’t be a wholesale bakery and will be targeting everyday consumers then finding a store in a busy location is very important. Wherever you decide to setup, add these details to your business plan and include the costs thereof.

Larger bakeries need industrial equipment, which can be quite costly so include these expenses so that investors know how your funds will be spent. Next, concentrate on your operations plan as well as your staff requirements.

How will the bakery run on a daily basis, what hours will your employees work and how much will you be paying them. If you are going the smaller, home-based route you might want to give some extra thought to your marketing strategy and how you will stand out from larger competitors in your field.

You can view an example of a bakery business plan here.

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12. Construction Business Plan

construction-business-plan

Starting a construction company usually requires quite a large amount of capital so the finances in your business plan need to be clear and detailed. Whether your start-up is going to be small or if you are aiming for the big leagues you are going to require a lot of man power as well as large machinery and equipment.

Get your costing together for the above so that you can provide investors with accurate projections. Indicate how involved you are going to be in the various stages of the construction process. Are you going to be assisting from the design stage upwards or will you just be involved in the actual construction process.

Thoroughly research your market as well as your competitors in order to give investors a clear idea of where you stand and the growth that can be expected.

You can view a construction business plan sample here.

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Need More Business Plan Examples?

If you didn’t find the sample business plan that you needed in the above list you can find a more comprehensive list here.

Casandra Visser is a Digital Marketing & Content Strategist and writes for Entrepreneur Media SA.

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Business Plan Advice

The Future Of The Business Plan

When things get rocky, what will keep you on point and on mission? What can you refer to, ensuring you aren’t straying from your original vision? The right business plan can go a long way.

Pieter Scholtz

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Business plans are a lot like maps and GPSes. If the organisational journey is proceeding smoothly, you may believe you don’t need one. Indeed, there’s a school of thought — backed by certain research — that says starting out with a formal plan is no predictor of success and it’s better to get out there and test your concept in a real-world environment.

These naysayers argue that most business plans are theoretical, unrealistic and go out the window the first time the entrepreneur encounters an unforeseen hurdle.

Refer to the original vision

But the pro-business plan lobby argues that, when market conditions unexpectedly change and you’re thrown into disarray, it’s important to refer to the original vision and belief system that you started out with. These will help to keep you grounded and avoid going off at tangents every time you hit an obstacle.

A plan also helps to prioritise your daily activities. Without it, everything becomes urgent and the resulting chaos will destroy your work/life balance and leave you feeling overwhelmed. If you are more than a one-person operation, a business plan enables company teams to align their activities to the overall vision and to work congruently to achieve the same goals.

William B. Gartner, an entrepreneurship professor at Clemson University in the US, believes business plans are essential. After analysing data from a survey of more than 800 people starting businesses, he found that writing a plan greatly increased the chances of actually going into business.

“You’re two-and-a-half times more likely to get into business,” he observes. “That’s powerful.”

Alyssa Gregory, an entrepreneur and writer for the likes of Forbes and the New York Times, says the process of putting together a business plan can help with new ideas, different approaches and fresh perspectives.

“An effective business plan is a flexible, growing and dynamic tool that can help you think creatively and come up with new solutions for some of your toughest business challenges,” she says.

Related: Business Plan Format Guide

Keep the plan simple

However, the thinking around the required depth and complexity of a business plan has changed. A decade or two ago, management gurus advocated elaborate 40-page plans with detailed sections covering objectives, mission, organisational structure, target market, customer behaviour, competitive advantage, marketing strategy, sales forecasts and financial projections.

These days, unless you’re seeking outside investors or looking for a bank loan that requires a detailed risk analysis, the move is towards shorter and simpler documents of no more than a page. The reasons for this change are many. A lengthy document is likely to be unread — particularly by younger-generation employees with short attention spans. Even if it is read, it’s unlikely to be remembered in detail because of its complexity.

So, opt for a one-page business plan that’s easily digestible and lists only the important things like mission, vision, etc. Cut the fluff and keep the essence. If you’ve spent time preparing a longer plan, that’s okay. Turn the key elements that will keep you focused on your goals and the bigger picture into short bullet points that will become your go-to business plan for regular use.

What should be in your one-pager? South Africa-based digital marketing and content strategist, Casandra Visser, suggests:

  • Vision – What are you building
  • Mission Statement – What you do, what your product/service is and who your customers are
  • Objectives – Your business goals for the next week, month or year
  • Strategies – How you plan to achieve your objectives
  • Action Plan – Steps you will take to action your strategies, including dates/deadlines.

Related: Keep It Simple: How To Write A One Page Business Plan

Finally, remember that your plan is a living, breathing document that needs to be meaningful in a constantly changing business environment. So, break up your annual plan into quarterly plans that take into account micro and macro changes in your specific operating environment.

Keep it relevant, keep it simple — and your business plan will be an invaluable asset in navigating your business journey.

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Business Plan Advice

Questions To Consider While Testing The Success Rate Of Your Business Plan

Here are four ways to test your plan’s success rate or you may instead take these as questions to validate your business idea’s credibility.

Angela White

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So you’re finally ready to craft your business ideas out of your head and wondering if the plans you have made are worth hitting the success road or not. Well, this is something that stands as a matter of concern for every budding entrepreneur. Also, checking the viability of your business plan is necessary. For this reason, the online evaluations are turning out to be handy.

Creating tests online to assess your business plan has become a norm these days. You may find several testing tools with ready-to-use quizzes/tests to help entrepreneurs in interpreting results for developing a successful business plan. So before you take the plunge and give your business a shoot, here are four ways to test your plan’s success rate or you may instead take these as questions to validate your business idea’s credibility.

Answer these 4 Questions to test your business plan’s success:

1. Did you assess your target audience/market?

A crucial element of a successful business plan is making an appropriate market analysis and identifying your target customers.

  • Whom are you selling your product/service to?
  • What are their demands and requirements?
  • How big is the market you shall step in?
  • What can you do to launch your business in the market?

An open interaction with your target audience in the form of social media polls, surveys, etc., can help you find answers to the above questions. If your business plan includes all of these necessities, then you have successfully crossed the first milestone.

Related: Business Plan Format Guide

2. Have you made a check of your funding?

What do you need to kick-start your business? Idea, passion, and more importantly ‘MONEY.’ Your business plan should help you identify potential funding sources for your start-up. These sources may include spending your savings, taking loans or sometimes a combination of both. Studies by the University of Oregon say that businesses with a proper plan are more likely to get funded. Therefore, consider making an effective business plan to enhance the chances of getting funds.

3. Did you roll your eyes on the competition in the market?

Analysing your competitors and making a note of their strategies is something that will help you nurture your business. This doesn’t mean that you spend all of your time and energy in eyeing the competition. You need to gather all the tricks implemented by successful entrepreneurs and keep an eye on the factors that lead to failed startups. If your business plan structures key points you take from the competitive market around you, then you have bagged the next milestone in this journey.

4. Have you made a marketing strategy?

Would you like your business to stay stagnated? Obviously not! How you market your product/service to reach your target audience must be included in your business plan. If your business plan gives you a clear picture of when and how you will advertise your product through social media, websites, etc., then you ultimately succeed in creating a full-fledged business plan.

The online test maker software these days has made it extremely convenient to create tests judging the success rate of a business plan. According to a recent study, businesses with an adequately devised plan tend to grow 30% faster. Looking at this number, we can precisely estimate the importance of having a full-proof business plan that includes all of the points as mentioned above. So don’t forget to test your plan before you take the huge leap.

Download a free business plan template here.

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Business Plan Advice

Why Your Business Beliefs Are More Important Than Your Business Plan

Your business plan will change. Your business beliefs should lead you to long-term success.

Bedros Keuilian

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Do not spend more time working on your business plan than you do actually working on your business. A business plan is important, and you should take the time to make one. Just know that your beliefs about business will have a much greater impact on your success than what you put on paper.

I know this because I’ve coached dozens of entrepreneurs and business owners from the very beginnings of their businesses. I’ve watched some of them grow their businesses all the way to six-, seven- and even eight-figure earnings, even when their initial idea looked shaky on paper.

I’ve watched others struggle for years before giving up, even though their ideas looked foolproof on paper.

Related: Bankrupt And Dreams In Tatters: How Sheree O’ Brien’s Self-Belief Drove Her To Success

The short explanation here is that what you put on paper for a business plan will never match reality. Never. As soon as you start selling to and working with real people, things change. There’s a certain amount of chaos. However, there is a way to harness that chaos and use it to build your empire, which is what I’m here to show you today.

Innovation is moving faster than ever before

In the next five to 10 years, most of the jobs that exist today will be replaced by AI. For entrepreneurs, that means your business operations will be cheaper and more reliable than ever before. However, it also means that your daily operations will look completely different than what they look like today.

Plus, many of these technologies will have unintended consequences. They’re going to create problems that we’ve never had to deal with before (such as high unemployment).

I don’t say any of that to scare you. In fact, I’m extremely optimistic about the future, and you should be, too. My point is that none of us can afford to get stuck on how we do business today.

If your idea of success is to find the next “hack” or “quick fix,” then you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Those hacks and quick fixes are going to become outdated almost as soon as they appear.

So, here’s what you need to do instead: Become obsessed with the principles of wealth and success, not just the delivery system. Study the entrepreneurs and the businesses you admire most and look for the principles that guided their decisions.

Focus on principles, not quick hacks

principles

The most successful entrepreneurs on the planet are the ones that put in decades of hard work to build their empires. That means that they kept their businesses growing even in times of massive uncertainty, loss and change. How?

It comes back to their business beliefs, which is another way of saying principles. If your business beliefs are solid, you will quickly find a way to create new solutions when the old systems for doing business break down. For a great example of this, look at Ray Dalio. He’s been listed as one of the 100 wealthiest people in the world, and he even wrote a book called Principles.

Related: The Mindset Strategy From The “Rock Star” Coach Can Turn Your Beliefs Into Results

He’s also the founder of the investment firm Bridgewater Associates, which has a fund called the Pure Alpha fund that only lost money three times in the last 20 years. Keep in mind, that includes the 2008 housing crisis, which was the worst economic downturn in recent history. When most people were suffering financial disaster, Dalio and others like him kept their empires growing.

Again, it goes back to beliefs, aka principles. One of Dalio’s core beliefs was that he could design an investment portfolio that would remain safe and keep growing under any economic season. Through years of researching and testing, he created the All Seasons portfolio and accomplished just that. And he accomplished that because he was looking for the principles that would keep his money growing over the long term instead of get-rich-quick tricks and hacks.

Another great example is Google. Google’s mission statement is “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” That’s not a hack or a get-rich-quick scheme.

That’s a guiding belief in what’s possible. It’s a huge idea that serves the needs of people all over the world. That’s what has allowed Google to create billion-dollar solutions and rewrite how much of the world operates today.

Beliefs can make you mentally strong — or weak

Let’s bring this back down to a personal level. If you believe that you have the creativity, focus and discipline to solve any problem that comes up in your business, then that will come true. On the other hand, if you believe there’s no room left for your ideas, or that you’ll never be able to lead other people toward your vision, that will also come true.

With that in mind, let me offer you a set of beliefs that have helped me succeed in business. These are not beliefs I pulled out of thin air. These are beliefs I’ve seen in action with dozens of other successful entrepreneurs.

I’ve tested them out in my own life and found that they each helped my businesses grow faster. I encourage you to read these aloud to yourself until they become habits in your own thinking.

  • Money is attracted to decisiveness, action-taking and speed.
  • I can learn whatever new skills I need to succeed and keep my business on the cutting edge.
  • I can earn the respect and cooperation of anyone whose help I need.

Now, you might be wondering if I’m preaching some kind of woo-woo, “law of attraction” stuff here. I’m not. If you read those beliefs again carefully, you’ll see that they emphasize taking action. They emphasize going above and beyond what most people are willing to do.

The whole point of this is to prime yourself to want to take these actions even when they are uncomfortable. You will do this because you believe that the rewards will come. No, the rewards will not come immediately. Yes, the reality will be a long and difficult road.

Related: The Power of Dominant Thought

That’s precisely why you need deeply held, empowering beliefs to push you forward even when your plan falls apart. Focus on developing your core beliefs, and you will have the power to overcome any challenge on the path to empire.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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