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Business Consulting Sample Plan

This business plan will provide you with an excellent overview if you are thinking of starting a business consultancy.

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Business Consulting Business Plan

Executive Summary

Growth Management and Strategies (GMS) is an ambitious innovative new company that is attempting to turn the small business consulting business on its head. With an experienced consultant at the helm as President, GMS intends to grow at more than 50% per year through solid customer service, a great sales plan, proven competitive strategies, and a group of people that bring dynamic energy to the company and the sales process.

The goal for this plan is financial: GMS needs a Small Business Adminstration (SBA) loan, and this document is one step in the process. It is also a road map for the company. The document gives all present and future employees, as well as the owner a sense of purpose that may exist without the business plan, but becomes more relevant after the business plan is written, reviewed, shared, and edited by all. It is a living document that will last far beyond the SBA loan purpose, or if that doesn’t occur, to bring an investor on board.

GMS’s financials are realistic, and based on very conservative sales figures relative to the industry as a whole. That is because one of the goals of GMS is to build the business one client at a time, and to serve each client as if it were the last. This is how loyalty is generated, and cultivated. Customer service is what GMS will do best, and is a large part of the company’s overall mission.

1.1 Objectives

The objectives for Growth Management and Strategies are:

  • Gain access to an SBA loan upon start up.
  • Grow the company from 2 employees in Year 1, to over 10 by Year 5.
  • Increase revenue to over $3 million by Year 3.
  • Increase client base by 450% in three years.
  • Maintain job costing that keeps margins above 70%.

1.2 Mission

The company mission is to serve small business clients that are in need of logistical, technical, and business strategy services. All projects will be chosen based on the availability of human resources, and each individual employee will be given the respect of a contract worker, and will share in profits for each job. Politics have no place at Growth Management and Strategies, and to limit the affects of favoritism, the company will implement and clearly communicate a performance review policy that applies to those at the bottom as well as the top of the leadership ladder. Credit will be given to the person who performed and/or innovatively modified a project, and compensation will be both financial and in the form of commendation.

Growth Management and Strategies is a company that respects the needs and expectations of its employees and clients. If either is compromised, adjustments will be made so that the company culture may remain intact.

1.3 Keys to Success

Our keys to success are:

  • To maintain client satisfaction of at least 90%.
  • To keep overhead low.
  • To ensure professional marketing and presentation of services.
  • To provide an active and functional website.

Company Summary

Growth Management and Strategies was established as a C corporation. The company’s headquarters are located in Boston, MA, near Copely Place. The company was established as a result of the efforts of its owner, Bill Dawson, and his experience in leading small businesses into prolonged periods of growth and innovation. Dawson worked for McKinsey before being hired away to Bain and Company. A Harvard graduate, Dawson spent hundreds of hours each week for nearly a year, slowly building the company to where it is now.

The company has had numerous successes this year, including one client that was purchased by a major multinational conglomerate, and another that experienced product sales growth of over 700% the first year.

2.1 Start-up Summary

This start-up summary table lists all the costs associated with establishing a lease, purchasing office equipment, and pulling together the other resources necessary to get the business off the ground. Furniture, LAN lines, and additional technology purchases are a must in order to properly communicate with clients, and to establish a website.

Other services included in the start-up summary are legal consulting fees, kept to a minimum thanks to resources provided by Nolo. Incorporation fees are included in the legal fees line item.

The free cash flow (cash balance) appearing in this start-up table is high relative to other small consulting businesses of its size. The owner is preoccupied with maintaining positive cash flow, and is risk averse enough to understand that during months in which contracts are not available, the corporation must sustain itself.  With this said, planned debt leverage is low, therefore risk to the lender is relatively low as well.

2.2 Company Ownership

Growth Management and Strategies is wholly owned by Bill Dawson, and is classified as an LLC.

Services

Growth Management and Strategies offers a variety of services to the small business client. Many of the services are customized for each client, and a bidding process is observed. The company also offers a traditional fixed rate sheet for its services.

Market Analysis Summary

The target customer owns a small business, and is generally dissatisfied with the revenue that the business is generating, or is dissatisfied with the daily management of their business. The customer is likely to operate a business worth between $200K and $10 million, with growth rates of between 1-10%, or even a negative growth rate.

Market growth, that is, the predicted growth in the small business sector within the Boston/Cambridge Metro area is expected to be around 3% per year. This may increase due to additional SBA lending programs designed to match the strengths of research and faculty grant work with the needs of the market and small businesses willing to take new products to market. Regardless of the market growth, the company’s customer base is far more dependant upon service needs, and a solid reputation. Mr. Dawson is well respected within the community, and has built a number of relationships with high profile individuals, and is a frequent contributor to the business section of the Boston Herald.

The corresponding market analysis table below breaks the potential market down into tactical sub-markets.

4.1 Market Segmentation

The market is divided up by revenue in the initial analysis, although other factors are very significant. It is important that the client business is operating at about the same level as the general economic growth rate, or is underperforming. The need for a turnaround within the client company is necessary for Growth Management and Strategies’ expertise to become useful. The following are other differentiators:

  • Debt of more than 30% yearly revenue.
  • Free cash flow frequently in the negative, requiring deep pocket borrowing or investment.
  • Long-term growth underperforming relative to competitors.
  • Management discord and performance issues.

These are not the only differentiators used to determine the market potential for a client, they are simply a starting point for the sales team as they reach out to this group of small businesses, owners and investors.

4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy

The target market strategy involves isolating potential customers by revenue, then drilling down to very specific needs via the sales team’s needs analysis methodology.

The first tier customers, businesses with over $3 million in revenue, is more experienced in outsourcing and may find themselves more comfortable hiring Growth Management and Strategies on retainer. Strategically, a retainer helps maintain consistent cash flow, even if during some months these customers will require more services than what they have paid for that month. This issue will be addressed in the Personnel topic.

The second tier customers, those businesses operating at revenue levels of $501K – $3 million, typically are very excited to have moved out of the home office stage, and into a new level of stability. If they are self-funded, these businesses can be the most challenging to work with because they are often not willing to part with company shares, and don’t yet have a sense of what kind of marketing investment is necessary to grow a business at this stage. The company will serve these small businesses based on a bid cycle, and needs analysis.

The third tier customers are easier to identify, and more ubiquitous than the rest. These small businesses are operating on $200K – $500K in revenue, often are operating out of a home, and have a firm sense of their market and potential, yet have trouble executing their plans effectively, or following through on growth strategies that generate wealth. Again, the strategy is to provide these businesses with a short needs analysis, and focus on the quantity of such customers to maintain a solid revenue stream.

4.3 Service Business Analysis

This industry is split up between a variety of players, including small businesses advising small businesses, such as the case with Growth Management and Strategies, to large conglomerate multinational consulting firms that send in newbie MBAs and use their name recognition to convince their clients that every one of these MBAs will generate over $300K a year in value. Sometimes they do, but when they don’t, GMS plans to be there.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are a wide variety of mom and pop consulting firms owned by very talented people who simply don’t have the marketing resources or expertise to reach a broader spectrum of customer.

GMS is somewhere in between. With years of guerrilla marketing experience, and a long-term plan for success, Mr. Dawson is determined to build the company each client at a time, and to focus on a sales team that outperforms all the competitors.

GMS is planning to grow exponentially within the first two years, to over $2 million in consulting revenue. At this point the service business analysis will be re-evaluated from the outside in.

4.3.1 Competition and Buying Patterns

Typically small business clients will learn about the consulting services market through word-of-mouth experience passed on through a friend or contemporary. Still, outbound sales teams dominate this category, and the stronger your sales team and name recognition, the greater your odds of finding clients willing to place your company on retainer or accept your company’s bid. The most competitive players in this market tend to have some of the best sales teams in the industry, that is, people who know not only how to communicate the technical needs analysis in a non-technical way, but in addition, are able to follow through and execute on promises and provide accurate, industry specific information that is useful to the client even before the deal is made.

Price is also important, and operates on a complex tiered system that is dependant upon the effectiveness of a particular salesperson, the word-of-mouth (WOM) advertising already in the mind of the potential client, and the ability of the client to reform the way they think about their own business. The demands of turning a business around, or pushing it to the limits of its potential are in direct proportion to the price of each bid. GMS must be careful not to be lured into out bidding a competitor, only to find that the customer has no plans to modify their business plan, and are seeking a “magic bullet” that may or may not exist. Competition in this industry leads to frustration and burnout for many people, and it takes a strong sense of purpose to push the business beyond the realm of the high-intensity, low-return client.

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Consulting

Consulting Planning Sample Business Plan

If you want the right guidelines for starting a business that offers consulting planning then this sample business plan is right for you.

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Consulting Planning Business Plan

Executive Summary

Introduction
Business Solutions Consulting (BSC) is a start-up consulting firm focused on serving the comprehensive needs of businesses in the full range of the business cycle. With a core staff of experienced professionals and a team approach to most consulting projects, BSC will be able to offer a more balanced quality service than many of its competitors.

The Company
Business Solutions Consulting is a team of six business consultants. Each consultant specializes in a particular discipline, including finance, sales and marketing, technology, management, operations, and human resources.

BSC offers a list of services for business owners to choose from, depending on their particular business needs. This includes; business and marketing plan preparation, financial search and procurement, IT consulting services, management development, human resources advising,  and etc.

BSC will have a focus on start-up businesses, preferably in the earlier stages of operation. Small and mid-sized businesses make up a sizable majority of U.S. and international markets. BSC prefers to establish a relationship with a younger operation and continue to nurture that relationship over the long term.

BSC will be established as an Oregon based LLC with two principal partners, each of whom owns a 50% share in the company. Mr. Andrew B. Christiansen has extensive experience in business planning and finance, including CFO positions with ABC Conglomerate and DEF International. Mr. David E. Fields brings in experience in the area of marketing, advertising, and communications.

The Market
The business consulting industry is very fragmented. Several large multinational companies dominate the industry while many smaller (and often more specialized) firms occupy their market niches. Major management consulting companies, such as McKinsey, Bain, and Boston Consulting Group, have established their dominant position by providing services to the leading companies in various industries. Consulting practices of the major accounting firms (a.k.a. the Big Five) have established worldwide presence and sell their packaged services to companies of different sizes and industries. At the same time, numerous firms and individual business consultants prosper in the market niches that bigger players consider unprofitable to enter.

Start-up companies are the target market of this firm. BSC intends to stay on the pulse of new business activity within the local area. Additionally, business contacts, referrals from among the group, and Internet marketing efforts will be made in pursuit of new clients. Start-up companies are attractive because owners often lack the broad range of knowledge and expertise required to launch a new business. There is a serious need in the marketplace, and certainly a significant demand for, these types of start-up consulting services.

Competitors in the forefront of the marketplace typically offer many of the services that BSC has. These services include information-based consulting, integration and management services. Services are designed to increase clients’ operations effectiveness through reduced cost, improved customer service, enhanced quality of current product lines and services, and a more rapid introduction of new products and services. Competitors also offer industry-specific expertise to objectively evaluate, select, develop, implement, and manage information systems, networks, and applications.

Consulting firms BSC is competing with include regional and specialty consulting firms, as well as the consulting groups of international accounting forms such as KPMG LLP, Ernst & Young LLP, Deloitte & Touche LLP, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Andersen Consulting. In its management and IT consulting services, BSC competes with information system vendors such as HBO & Company, Inc., Integrated Systems Solution Corporation, Electronic Data Systems Corporation, Perot Systems Corporation, SAIC, CAP Gemini America, Inc., and Computer Sciences Corporation. In e-commerce-related services, BSC competes with the traditional competitors, as well as newer, Internet product and service companies such as Razorfish, Scient, TriZetto, and Viant.

1.1 Mission

Business Solutions Consulting aims to offer comprehensive consulting services. BSC will focus on providing personal and specialized services to meet each client’s specific needs.

1.2 Keys to Success

BSC’s keys to success include:

  • A group of professionals with a broad range of specialty areas that complement each other.
  • A high level of experience in these specialty areas.
  • A team approach on most consulting projects.
  • Many business contacts among the consultant group.

Company Summary

Business Solutions Consulting is a startup firm, which will focus on providing a wide range of business consulting services to other startups and companies in early stages of their operations. Business Solutions Consulting is a team of six Business Consultants. Each consultant specializes in a particular discipline, including finance, sales and marketing, technology, management, operations, and human resources.

2.1 Company Ownership

Business Solutions Consulting was registered as an Oregon LLC, equally owned by Andrew B. Christiansen and David E. Fields.

Start-up Summary

BSC’s co-owners, Andrew B. Christiansen and David E. Fields, will each provide $49,750 in investment that will cover the bulk of the start-up expenses. The rest of the required financing will come from the Small Business Administration (SBA) 10-year loan in the amount of $100,000. Combined, these funds will be sufficient to cover the company’s expenses throughout the first year of operations, which is the most critical from the cash flow standpoint.

Service Description

BSC offers a list of services for business owners to choose from, depending on their particular business needs.

Start-up services include business plan preparation, marketing plan preparation, and financing search and procurement. Ongoing services include business plan updates, marketing plan updates, search and procurement of additional rounds of financing, management development, IT consulting services, e-commerce consulting services, operational advising, and human resources advising.

BSC is flexible, working with its clients in the fashion preferred by the client, be it on-site, remotely, or a combination of both. BSC typically works on a project in a team fashion to assist the client in all areas of the business simultaneously. This allows for all parties involved to be in sync in terms of understanding the interconnections of all functional areas of the business.

Market Analysis Summary

BSC will have a focus on start-up businesses, preferably in the earlier stages of operation. Small and mid-sized businesses make up a sizable majority of U.S. and international markets. BSC prefers to establish a relationship with a younger operation and continue to nurture that relationship for the long term.

5.1 Market Segmentation

Start-Ups

Start-up companies often are in need of expert advice and planning in initiating a successful start-up. It is believed that a majority of start-ups actually seek out consulting assistance. Those that do typically are searching for a comprehensive area of services.

1-3 Year Old Companies

Young companies, between 1 and 3 years old are less likely to be searching for expert business consulting services. Typically, they have already secured financing and have developed a satisfactory level of security. However, these businesses are still in the beginnings of their overall cycle and in most cases need the broad expertise of a team of expert consultants.

3 + Year-Old Companies

Established companies make up the final segment, and is significantly smaller than the start-up segment. The established company segment typically has a need for a less comprehensive range of services. These entities are in need of specialized services in one or two disciplines, e.g., operational planning or human resources.

5.2 Target Market Segment Strategy

Start-up companies are the target market of this firm. BSC intends to stay on the pulse of new business activity within the local area. Additionally, business contacts, referrals from among the group, and Internet marketing efforts will be made in pursuit of new clients.

5.3 Market Needs

Start-up company owners often lack the broad range of knowledge and expertise required to launch a new business. There is a serious need in the marketplace, and certainly a significant demand for, these types of start-up consulting services.

5.4 Service Business Analysis

The business consulting industry is very fragmented. Several large multi-national companies dominate the industry while many smaller (and often more specialized) firms occupy their market niches. Major management consulting companies, such as McKinsey, Bain, and Boston Consulting Group, have established their dominant position by providing services to the leading companies in various industries. Consulting practices of the major accounting firms (a.k.a. the Big Five) have established worldwide presence and sell their packaged services to companies of different sizes and industries. At the same time, numerous firms and individual business consultants prosper in the market niches that bigger players consider unprofitable to enter.

5.5 Competition and Buying Patterns

Competitors in the forefront of the marketplace typically offer information-based consulting, integration and management services. Services are designed to increase clients’ operations effectiveness through reduced cost, improved customer service, enhanced quality of current product lines and services, and a more rapid introduction of new products and services. Competitors also offer industry-specific expertise to objectively evaluate, select, develop, implement, and manage information systems, networks, and applications.

Consulting services are becoming more focused on technology-based solutions to help clients improve cost management, quality, service, and research and development to obtain differentiation and competitive advantage. E-strategy services are being provided to business and IT executives with education, insights, and strategies to utilize the power of the Internet to improve their performance. E-strategy services include executive visioning, business strategy, planning for e-business initiatives, user design, and intellectual capital formation. IT strategy consulting services are focusing on the use of IT to support business goals, and to leverage the power of the Internet to transform the way products and services are distributed and retailed.

Strategic planning consulting services typically consist of strategic alignment (which includes IT strategic planning and governance, alignment of IT and process, and future focus and regulatory requirements), IT department operational excellence (which includes fiscal responsibility, infrastructure, IT department processes, data center operations, and IT human resources management), and IT value realization (which consists of performance measurement, business integration (people, process and technology), change management and application investment). Performance improvement services consist of process redesigning to reducing administrative costs, improving financial performance, engaging and retaining customers, and improving accountability and reporting.

Other commonly found services among competitors include long-term IT management expertise, as well as a wide range of management services including assessment/due diligence, program management, discrete outsourcing, and full IT outsourcing services.

Consulting firms BSC is competing with include regional and specialty consulting firms, as well as the consulting groups of international accounting forms such as KPMG LLP, Ernst & Young LLP, Deloitte & Touche LLP, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Andersen Consulting. In its management and IT consulting services, BSC competes with information system vendors such as HBO & Company, Inc., Integrated Systems Solution Corporation, Electronic Data Systems Corporation, Perot Systems Corporation, SAIC, CAP Gemini America, Inc., and Computer Sciences Corporation. In e-commerce-related services, BSC competes with the traditional competitors, as well as newer, Internet product and service companies such as Razorfish, Scient, TriZetto, and Viant.

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Investment Consulting Sample Business Plan

Using this sample business plan will assist you in starting up your own investment consultancy.

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Investment Consulting Business Plan

Executive Summary

Our firm’s hallmark investment product will be the Vista Total Market Equity strategy and will be initially offered through a mutual fund that is registered by the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). Technological advancements also permit for other economically feasible distribution channels, such as separately managed portfolios for large accounts. The details of our particular investment product offerings are revealed in another section of this plan. However, it’s worth stating up front that we are extremely encouraged by a research piece to be published in the Journal of Portfolio Management, that supports the philosophy behind our primary product offering. Ennis Knupp, a premier institutional investment consulting firm, published a study called, “Failure of the Multiple-Specialist Strategy: The Case for Whole Stock Portfolios.” One of the underlying tenets is that specialization within equity portfolio management has gone too far; thus resulting in sub-optimal portfolios.

VISTA INVESTORS will be structured as a partnership designed to capitalize on industry research performed by one of the founding entrepreneurs, Michael Douglas, during his professional career in investment management research. Last year alone, Mr. Douglas conducted research visits at the investment offices of over 30 firms. In addition, he conducted literally hundreds of meetings with key investment professionals from around the globe either in person or via telephone conference. Mr. Douglas’s team presents this business plan as a “start from scratch” outline of what a successful investment management organization should look like as the industry evolves in response to political, social, technological, and other influences.

VISTA INVESTORS will offer high net worth or “angel” investors opportunity to assume minority ownership positions in exchange for contributions to VISTA INVESTORS’ operating capital and for providing seed assets to establish the investment products described herein. This document alone does not constitute an offer of any type, nor does it provide any guarantee, financial, or otherwise. Risks associated with the VISTA INVESTORS’ business plan are not limited to those detailed in this document.

1.1 Objectives

The purpose of VISTA INVESTORS is to create value for owners, employees, and investors via the establishment of an investment management organization designed for the Third Generation. The Third Generation is defined in a cutting-edge research effort by Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. and Barra Strategic Consulting Group as a phase in the investment industry requiring a special set of capabilities for success. Our team has drawn upon this study, numerous other studies, and perhaps most importantly, our own experience in the industry, to define a plan for the success of VISTA INVESTORS.

1.2 Mission

Buy and sell decisions are implemented quickly and efficiently across all portfolios. Where applicable, a trading rotation is used to avoid any type of systematic advantage or disadvantage an account may experience. Under virtually no circumstances would we deviate from our discipline.

1.3 Keys to Success

Probably the single most important factor that defines success in the investment management business is performance. Thus, one of our primary goals is the achievement of a rating by Morningstar, an organization widely known by both individual and institutional investors for its marks of accreditation in the mutual fund industry. To be rated by Morningstar, funds must have a minimum performance history of three years.

Company Summary

VISTA INVESTORS will be structured as a partnership designed to capitalize on industry research performed by one of the founding entrepreneurs, Michael Douglas.

This company is unique because it differs substantially from the way most existing investment management firms originated. Most of the firms created in the last 25 years were started by the departure of portfolio managers from the nation’s largest banks, insurance companies, and brokerage firms. Generally, these individuals were deep in investment research talent but novice as it concerns the business and operating side of running an organization. The business plan for VISTA INVESTORS is different. VISTA INVESTORS is to be created by someone deep in knowledge of all aspects concerning investment management organizations. Investment talent will be acquired and retained by offering key individuals competitive compensation to include equity stakes. Biographies for individuals selected for the management team are enclosed.

Investment Philosophy

VISTA INVESTORS believes the goal of U.S. equity portfolios should be to outperform the broad market, as measured by the Wilshire 5000 or Russell 3000. Exposure to economic sectors will roughly approximate those of the benchmark. Our view is that any deviation from the benchmark represents a bet, or in our case, a calculated risk that will determine over or under performance. Portfolios will also maintain market cap exposure to large cap (>$10 billion), mid cap ($2 billion to $10 billion), and small cap (<$2 billion) securities. Like weightings to economic sectors, the weight of the portfolio allocated to large, medium, or small stocks represents a bet relative to the benchmark. On average, our portfolios will hold roughly 2/3 of their value in large cap stocks, and 1/3 of their value in mid and small cap stocks. This distribution among capitalization ranges represents a modest bet that mid and small cap stocks will outperform, consistent with studies showing small company stocks outperform larger companies in the long run.

We believe our process will be successful in the future for the following reasons:

  • It provides the opportunity to outperform the market without taking undue risks.
  • It does not concentrate heavily in a narrow segment of the market (e.g. small cap growth stocks, energy stocks, telecom stocks), thus portfolios are more likely to maintain a stable asset base when certain areas rotate out of favor and prompt redemptions.
  • It simplifies investor’s portfolios by reducing the number of managers or funds they need in their overall asset allocation.

A recent research piece by Ennis Knupp, a leading institutional investment consultant, provides support for what they call “whole stock” portfolios. They believe manager specialization has gone too far resulting in inefficient structures that provide index-like returns at excessive fees.

The decision-making process is one of consensus. The portfolio management team meets weekly to discuss the portfolio and any changes to it. In rare cases, if we fail to reach a consensus decision, the CIO will act as the arbiter, usually prompting for additional research, but if necessary, providing a final decision. Our investment model is one in which portfolio managers are also analysts. This concept of portfolio managers/analysts making decisions on a team was recognized and adopted for its proven success in a few select firms that have been extremely successful from both an investment and business perspective.

Portfolio manager/analyst responsibilities include idea generation, due diligence, and completion of research projects directed by the CIO. While each portfolio manager/analyst has experience in various areas, they are generalists in the sense that they are not assigned specific sector responsibilities. We find this allows individuals to remain stimulated by their jobs. At least one research assignment per month will be that of an in-depth review of an economic sector. We find this provides sufficient coverage per economic sector and enhances the team’s overall coverage of the broad market.

Market Analysis Summary

Much of our analysis focuses on the mutual fund segment of the investment industry because it is such a large component of the overall landscape. We have additionally provided information as it pertains to the management of separately managed portfolios (i.e. “separate accounts”). To understand the data here, one must understand that separate account managers must register their firms with the SEC. Thus, they are known as “Registered Investment Advisors.” For VISTA INVESTORS, the technologies we have selected will enable us to capitalize by utilizing both product types, mutual funds and separate accounts.

Our analysis supports the 20% to 25% projected growth rates by outside sources. Probably the most important aspect to these projections are the factors that will fuel these rates of growth. The following section contains some of the key variables to creating this growth environment. All are expected to have a positive impact on the investment industry for at least the next three years.

4.1 Business Participants

The number of participants in the investment industry is large. They range from providers of a single investment product to multi-product firms with literally hundreds, if not thousands, of investment product offerings. The several-trillion-dollar industry certainly has the size to support a large number of firms. However, many participants are not “complete” firms as it pertains to the capabilities required for success in today’s, but more importantly, tomorrow’s environment.

4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy

Our target market will be highly dependent on the stage of our product in its development cycle. Most of the marketing opportunity will occur beyond the first year of product development. However, some initial opportunities do exist. For example, the firm can utilize its transfer agent’s distribution services, which would put the product in a highly visible online platform. Additional opportunities include marketing to programs that invest specifically in “emerging managers.” Furthermore, the high net worth and retail marketplace can be accessed to a limited degree, even in the early stages, through similar creative opportunities and already-established relationships with clients.

Like manufacturing organizations, investment management firms must develop products to provide to their customers. This plan provides substantial market analysis to support the trends expected to occur in the field of investment management and the types of investment products that will be demanded. VISTA INVESTORS’ hallmark product offering will be the Vista Total Market Equity strategy, an investment product offering based on the evidence supporting investor’s desires to outperform the overall market via a single, diversified vehicle and to avoid the need to create complex investment structures such as those employed by institutional investors.

4.3 Positioning Statement

While it’s important to show some level of consistency with the latest trends in the industry, it’s more important to provide a solution that will stand the test of time. The decade of the 1990s is littered with examples in which individual investors have chased past performance and have sought unrealistically high returns by investing in recently hot investment vehicles, often concentrated in niche areas such as technology specific funds (e.g. Internet mutual funds) or style specific funds (e.g. small company growth mutual funds).

The hard learned lessons for individual investors are that past performance is no guarantee of future performance, and that the market tends to favor one area for a period of time only to unpredictably rotate in favor of another area at a later time. Additional support for our strategy comes from the tendency for individual investors to mimic the strategies they see utilized by the nation’s largest institutional investors (e.g. pension funds and university endowments). Because of their size, institutional investors allocate their assets to various portions of the U.S. equity market (e.g. large cap growth, small cap growth, large cap value, small cap value, etc.) by selecting investment firms and products that are specialized in certain areas. These structures are complex, and as research contained herein suggests, inefficient as it pertains to the average investor. In fact, a prominent investment consulting firm is advocating what they call “whole portfolio” strategies for institutional clients where the overriding feature is to reduce the inefficiencies they have observed in their institutional client portfolios.

We are extremely encouraged about the outlook for our total market portfolio strategy. One of the underlying tenets of Knupp study (mentioned in Section 1.0) is that specialization within equity portfolio management has gone too far; thus resulting in sub-optimal portfolios. Many portfolios piece together numerous managers, resulting in index-like structures at high fees that are incapable of providing the performance sought after by active portfolio management in the first place. In fact, the study estimates the annual cost to institutions of operating a multi-manager portfolio at 1.20%. This is a huge amount when considering the negative effects this would have on a portfolio held for the long-term. Additionally, we can state with nearly 100% confidence that this cost is even higher for individual investors. The prescription to institutional investors by the study is to embrace the entire opportunity set represented by an asset class via utilization of more simplified structure. Simply put, we concur.

We’ll go one step further to purport this is even more important as it applies to individual investors. The level of acceptance of “Whole Stock” portfolios among institutions remains to be seen. Some institutions may find difficulty with the concept simply because the large size of their portfolios makes it prohibitive to reduce the number of managers within their portfolios. However, this concept is one to be embraced by individuals because it simplifies their portfolios, while at the same time reduces the need for outside counseling. The trend toward more simplified portfolio structures is simply a reversion to the way things were prior to the specialized categories and labels developed for equity products over the last couple decades.

4.4 Service Business Analysis

The investment industry is a classic example of a traditional industry embracing technology to become more efficient. It is clearly fragmented, and while the past few years have seen some consolidation, fragmentation will remain due to the differentiation in investment products, both real and perceived. It’s important not to understate the complexities of this industry. While mature by some measure, a dynamic change (e.g. advancements in communications and other technologies) and a positive environment for investing have created opportunities that will perpetuate well into the next decade.

“The investment industry is complex. It has many moving parts and it’s experiencing dynamic change. If this was not the case, opportunity probably would not exist.”
– Mike Douglas

The beauty of investment management is that great economies of scale can be achieved with successful investment product offerings. When organized efficiently and provided with the appropriate technology and support services, the size and number of accounts becomes irrelevant. Essentially, the underlying portfolio (product) is the same. Additionally, related products can be easily derived from the main product platform. At a recent investment conference, the CEO of IOMEGA stated, “…derivative products are important in any industry.”

We would certainly agree. Thus, we have provided for introduction of closely related products to be launched during the later stages of our start-up (see Multi-Product Platform). These derivative products include a balanced product (our Total Market Equity strategy combined with a non-proprietary, fixed-income product), a large stock product (the large cap portion of our Total Market Equity strategy), and an extended market product (the mid and small cap portion of our Total Market Equity strategy). As an investment track record is developed, marketing opportunity expands. Additionally, a successful product can be leveraged into derivative products, thereby increasing asset gathering potential.

A study by Merrill Lynch shows that mutual funds with 4-star or 5-star ratings (the two highest levels) accounted for 74% of net asset flows over the last four years; however, there are virtually no guarantees when it comes to investment performance. This is evidenced by the SEC mandated disclosures attached to all mutual fund disclosure. If a firm takes all the steps to “stack the deck” in its favor, the probability of achieving the desired success is significantly increased. In the following sections we outline a plan that identifies the right people to execute the investment process within an environment conducive to efficient investment management practices. As it pertains to the investment management industry, a properly “stacked deck” (i.e. the optimal organization) is a competitive advantage that cannot easily be achieved by many of the firms in existence today for a variety of reasons.

4.4.1 The Three P’s

There are three P’s commonly associated with investment management organizations: People, Process, and Performance. The prior two determine the latter.

While this proposal highlights many areas (market research, financial projections, etc.), there are only two areas that will ultimately determine the level of success achieved by this group. The first is the people. Bright, energetic, talented, and knowledgeable individuals compose the core of the team presented to you. In addition, research explains that the most qualified investment professionals are attracted to efficient firms that are free from bureaucracy and that align interests via equity stakes. Process is the second critical element of this proposal. Cutting-edge research is provided in support of our portfolio management process. The implementation of our process is maximized by outsourcing virtually all functions not related to portfolio management and research, thereby exploiting the firm’s human capital.

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Office Consulting Sample Business Plan

This business plan will provide you with the relevant details for drawing up the plan for your office consulting company.

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Office Consulting Business Plan

Executive Summary

Office Space Solutions improves businesses. Specializing in high-growth companies, it sets up, restructures and streamlines paper flow, communication and office systems.  This includes assessments of office space organization and office process flow. The result is a complete turnaround including increased efficiency, reduced costs, greater income, and happier people.

Office Space Solutions has two strong competitive advantages. The first is extensive experience in office space management and work flow efficiency. Bev Johnson, the owner, spent the previous 10 years working with three start-up companies that grew rapidly. With each company, it was her responsibility to manage the personnel growth while improving employee productivity. This experience was priceless. Additionally, the value of networking based on Bev’s previous industry relationships will give Office Space Solutions a leg up on the competition.

1.1 Mission

Office Space Solutions’s mission is to provide the highest quality support services for its clients. Bev focus is to attract and maintain customers. When we adhere to this maxim, everything else will fall into place. Her services will exceed the expectations of her customers.

1.2 Keys to Success

  • The objectives for the first three years of operation include:
  • To create a service-based company whose primary goal is to exceed customers’ expectations.
  • To increase the number of clients served by 20% per year through superior performance.
  • To develop a sustainable start-up business that is profitable.

Company Summary

Office Space Solutions offers management support services to start-up and growing firms and companies. Bev sets up, restructures, and streamlines office space, paper flow, communication and office systems.  Her work reduces office operation cost while increasing work efficiency and revenue for her clients.

2.1 Start-up Summary

Office Space Solutions has the following start-up expenses:

  • Computer system with a printer, CD-RW, Microsoft Office, and Microsoft Access.
  • Copier, fax, and one phone line.
  • Website development.
  • Various office supplies.

2.2 Company Ownership

Bev Johnson is the sole owner and consultant of Office Space Solutions. Office Space Solutions is a home-based business.  All business meetings will occur at the client’s business or at a location close to the client’s business.

Services

  • Planning, setting up, or improving office procedures, including simplifying paper flow, minimizing wasted time and maximizing access to needed materials.
  • Controlling costs and minimizing expenses with improved office efficiency and improved office methods.
  • Managing office relocations including vendor negotiations and problem solving.

Market Analysis Summary

Office Space Solutions will be focusing on a very specific part of the business market:

  • Start-up with more than five employees.
  • Small businesses that are rapidly expanding operations.

The city has several support service businesses but none as visible as Office Space Solutions and none with the success record Bev Johnson has.

4.1 Target Market Segment Strategy

Office Space Solutions is focusing on new and growing companies that are often located in small offices. The targeted start-up business will have four or more staff in its office in addition to a owner. This is a perfect atmosphere for a support service because the services Office Space Solutions provides are out of the business’s field of expertise but so critical to their success.

Another reason for focusing on a growing businesses is that it is easier to be competitive with the smaller businesses. Presently, this segment of businesses is not being marketed by the Office Space Solutions’s competitors. For these reasons, Office Space Solutions will concentrate on the new and growing companies to be able to quickly grab market share.

4.2 Service Business Analysis

The competition consists of a few support service firms that offer a wide range of service offerings to city’s large companies. Though these firms replicate the offerings of Office Space Solutions, they are not targeting the vital area of new and growing businesses. Office Space Solutions will focus only on these companies.  There is an advantage to hiring a service that is focused on your problems and is knowledgeable regarding your specific needs.

In addition, the target clients are prone to want a long-term relationship with critical services. If they are happy they will generally stay with the same service provider. It is more cost effective then jumping through the hoops each time it needs a space management, or work flow assessment.

4.3 Market Segmentation

The market for office space and work flow organizers can be broken down into two important segments:

Start-ups with five or more employees. These start-ups rarely have the in-house expertise to solve office space or work flow management problems.  As a general role, there is a tremendous amount of wasted effort and space in start-ups.  The focus is always on getting a product or service out to customers with very little thought about how the office organization is working against them. The city is growing at a rate of 10% annually and the numbers of start-ups increase each year in all the city’s major industries and service areas. Office Space Solutions believes that this is an underserved segment and with her successes and connections, Office Space Solutions would become an invaluable service to these target clients. As these companies move from the start-up phase to the growth phase, Office Space Solutions will receive this repeat business.

Small rapidly growing companies. These companies have already reached some margin of success and are planning to expand their operations; yet this doesn’t mean that they are efficient. The success of their product or service may be hiding problems in the operation that will emerge as greater pressure is placed on company performance.  Each stage of growth in a company, present challenges that can hurt its performance and success. Office Space Solutions can provide these companies a focused approach that is responsive to unique client demands, assisting them in achieving their future sales goals.

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