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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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Telemarketing Consultants Sample Business Plan

Starting up a telemarketing consultants company will require you to have a business plan similar to this.

Entrepreneur

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Telemarketing Consultants Business Plan

Executive Summary

Introduction
It is the mission of Roth & Calder Telemarketing Professionals, Inc. (R&C) to provide comprehensive telemarketing consultation and creation of telemarketing advertising campaigns for our clients in the Cawleweton region. It is our long-term goal to become THE preferred business-to-business telemarketing agency for the East Coast area. Our firm is not interested in simply producing a service for our clients. We believe in creating a long-term relationship with them so that the delivery of their message can reach the right people, at the right moment to insure effective communication with their market.

The Company

Roth & Calder will be a limited liability partnership registered in the state of Delaware for tax purposes. Its founder is Mr. Thomas Roth, a former marketing executive with General Foods. Mr. Roth has brought together a highly respected group of marketing, development, and telemarketing specialists who, combined, have a total of 25 years of experience in this industry.

The company has a limited number of private investors and does not plan to go public. The company has its main offices in Cawleweton. The facilities include conference rooms and office spaces. The company expects to begin offering its services in January of Year 1. The company’s potential clients will initially be all the companies in the Cawleweton area. We can service both small and large companies and provide virtually any consultation services in regards to telephone communications with clients.

The Services
In order to create the maximum effect for our clients, we provide a comprehensive program for them that may include some of the following services:

  • Identification of Program Objectives and Expectations
  • Creation of customized lists of leads
  • Market research
  • Consultation and training of telemarketing personnel
  • Script writing for programs
  • Creation of follow-up programs for successful calls.

This is only a partial list of our services as each project is customized to our client and its scope, length, depth, reach, and cost are unique.

The Market
The telemarketing industry is, at the moment, a growing industry with most companies having an annual growth between 6.5% and 8%. This is due to businesses that are becoming increasingly aware of the need for market information and the desire to reduce customer turnover rates in a hard hit economy. However, long-term analysis of growth rates in this industry shows a cyclical pattern and R&C does not expect this high growth rate to continue.

The telemarketing industry is quite fragmented with companies that vary greatly in size, scope, services offered, and market share. Many companies are general advertising agencies that offer telemarketing services along with a wide range of other consulting services. In addition, many companies, not realizing the potential advantages of outsourcing, choose to develop their own telemarketing services.

R&C believes that the greatest threat at the moment is in new entrants to the market who perceive an opportunity in a “high” growth industry. The most likely entrants will be existing advertising agencies wishing to horizontally integrate and enter new sub-markets. However, the one major disadvantage to new entrants is that all firms engaged in contracting to telemarketing agencies face significant switching costs when bringing on a new partner. Furthermore, R&C understands that in this industry there is a significant learning curve that creates declining “unit” costs as a firm gains more cumulative experience in the field itself and with long-term clients specifically.

Rivalry among different telemarketing agencies as stated before is quite intense. The telemarketing industry as a whole is mature with long-term moderate growth. Most of the largest agencies are mutually dependent when it comes to jockeying for position and market share. The fact that there are so many diverse and seemingly “generic” or general telemarketing agencies makes this a cutthroat industry. The threat of clients backwardly integrating so as to have all their advertising done in-house is one of the major factors that buyers use to indirectly control price in this industry, and increase competition among firms. This must always be foremost in the minds of R&C’s management when offering services and setting prices.

1.1 Objectives

The Three-year goals for Roth & Calder Telemarketing Professionals, Inc. are as follows.

  • Achieve break-even by year two.
  • Establish a regional (East Coast) scope for operations within five years and a national presence within 10 years.
  • Establish minimum 95% customer satisfaction rate to establish long-term relationships with our clients and create a viable reputation.

1.2 Mission

It is the mission of Roth & Calder Telemarketing Professionals, Inc. (R&C) to provide comprehensive telemarketing consultation, and creation of telemarketing advertising campaigns for our clients in the Cawleweton region. It is our long-term goal to become THE preferred business-to-business telemarketing agency for the East Coast area. Our firm is not interested in simply producing a service for our clients. We believe in creating a long-term relationship with them so that the delivery of their message can reach the right people, at the right moment to insure effective communication with their market.

R&C is strictly a business-to-business company and seeks to provide answers to companies who desire to communicate with their customers via the phone. This can take the shape of advertising, surveys, seminar and conference invitations, etc. R&C has a combined 25 years of experience working with companies in delivering effective and professional telemarketing techniques.

1.3 Keys to Success

R&C’s keys to long-term survivability and profitability are as follows:

  • Differentiate our services so that our clients realize that we are able to better serve their needs rather than a more generic competitor or in-house telemarketing.
  • Keeping close contact with clients and establishing a well functioning long-term relationship with them to generate repeat business and a top notch reputation.
  • Establish a comprehensive service experience for our clients that includes consultation, analysis of telemarketing campaign goals and target markets, creation of streamlined and custom advertising campaigns based on needs, expectations, implementation, and follow-up analysis.

Company Summary

Roth & Calder will be a limited liability partnership registered in the state of Delaware for tax purposes. Its founder is Mr. Thomas Roth, formerly a marketing executive with General Foods. Mr. Roth has brought together a highly respected group of marketing, development, and telemarketing specialists who, combined, have a total of 25 years of experience in this industry.

The company has a limited number of private investors and does not plan to go public. The company has its main offices in Cawleweton. The facilities include conference rooms and office spaces. The company expects to begin offering its services in January.

The company’s potential clients will initially be all the companies in the Cawleweton area. We can service both small and large companies and provide virtually any consultation services in regards to telephone communications with clients.

2.1 Company Ownership

The company will have a number of outside private investors who will own 27% of the company’s shares. The rest will be owned by the senior management including Mr. Thomas Roth, (25%), Ms. Jane Calder (20%), Mrs. Susan Howell, (20%), and Mr. Leonard Gray (8%). All other financing will come from loans.

2.2 Start-up Summary

Start-up assets required include equipment, and additional expenses as well as cash to support operations until revenues reach an acceptable level. Most of the company’s liabilities will come from outside private investors and management investment, however, we have obtained current borrowing from Bank of America Commercial Investments, the principal to be paid off in three years. A long-term loan through VieilArgent Bank of Richburb will be paid off in ten years.

Services

Roth & Calder offers a complete, custom telemarketing campaign. The most common telemarketing campaigns are for the following purposes:

  • Generate sales leads
  • Set appointments
  • Market research
  • Surveys (including statistical analysis and political surveys)
  • Driving eyeballs to websites
  • Trial subscriptions
  • Database or mailing list information
  • Business development
  • Point-of-sale product promotion
  • Seminar and conference invitations.

In order to create the maximum effect for our clients, we provide a comprehensive program for them that may include some of the following services:

  • Identification of Program Objectives and Expectations.
  • Creation of customized lists of leads
  • Market research
  • Consultation and training of telemarketing personnel
  • Script writing for programs
  • Creation of follow-up programs for successful calls.

This is only a partial list of our services as each project is customized to our client and its scope, length, depth, reach, and cost are unique.

Market Analysis Summary

The telemarketing industry is, at the moment, a growing industry with most companies having an annual growth between 6.5% and 8%. This is due to businesses that are becoming increasingly aware of the need for market information and the desire to reduce customer turnover rates in a hard hit economy. However, long-term analysis of growth rates in this industry shows a cyclical pattern and R&C does not expect this high growth rate to continue.

The telemarketing industry is quite fragmented with companies that vary greatly in size, scope, services offered, and market share. Many companies are general advertising agencies that offer telemarketing services along with a wide range of other consulting services. In addition, many companies, not realizing the potential advantages of outsourcing, choose to develop their own telemarketing services.

Roth & Calder Telemarketing Professionals’ business strategy is to establish a focused approach to its services rather than being everything to its clients. Our company does not intend to be a call center, nor will it ever become so. We are a consulting firm that designs telemarketing campaigns for its clients and matches these clients with the appropriate call center who has the necessary capabilities. These services are where we can offer a higher standard of quality to our clients. This will allow us to charge a higher profit margin to our clients for these differentiated and more focused services. This will also require average project times to be somewhat longer, and therefore we expect initial profitability levels to be lower than average.

4.1 Market Segmentation

Virtually every company, whether large and small, requires some form of telemarketing at some point. Often it is a survey to determine customer satisfaction or awareness. Sometimes it is effectively communicating an upcoming event such as a conference. Other companies wish to know if telemarketing is a feasible method of sales generation. Because of this almost universal need for some form of telemarketing consultation that spans almost all industries, R&C has decided not to create any market segments it wishes to concentrate on nor focus on a target market. We have the capacity to service almost any company of whatever size. We think that at this point in the company’s history, any attempt to target specific markets would hinder our growth potential.

4.2 Service Business Analysis

The telemarketing industry is, at the moment, a growing industry with most companies having an annual growth between 6.5% and 8%. This is due to businesses that are becoming increasingly aware of the need for market information and the desire to reduce customer turnover rates in a hard hit economy. However, long-term analysis of growth rates in this industry shows a cyclical pattern and R&C does not expect this high growth rate to continue.

The telemarketing industry is quite fragmented with companies that vary greatly in size, scope, services offered, and market share. Many companies are general advertising agencies that offer telemarketing services along with a wide range of other consulting services. In addition, many companies, not realizing the potential advantages of outsourcing, choose to develop their own telemarketing services.

R&C believes that the greatest threat at the moment is in new entrants to the market who perceive an opportunity in a “high” growth industry. The most likely entrants will be existing advertising agencies wishing to horizontally integrate and enter new sub-markets. However, the one major disadvantage to new entrants is that all firms engaged in contracting to telemarketing agencies face significant switching costs when bringing on a new partner. Furthermore, R&C understands that in this industry there is a significant learning curve that creates declining “unit” costs as a firm gains more cumulative experience in the field itself and with long-term clients specifically.

Rivalry among different telemarketing agencies as stated before is quite intense. The telemarketing industry as a whole is mature with long-term moderate growth. Most of the largest agencies are mutually dependent when it comes to jockeying for position and market share. The fact that there are so many diverse and seemingly “generic” or general telemarketing agencies makes this a cutthroat industry.

The threat of clients backwardly integrating so as to have all their advertising done in-house is one of the major factors that buyers use to indirectly control price in this industry, and increase competition among firms. This must always be foremost in the minds of R&C’s management when offering services and setting prices.

4.2.1 Competition and Buying Patterns

Competition
Competition includes all potential advertising and telemarketing agencies plus call centers across the country. In addition we have indirect competition from organizations that handle all their telemarketing in-house. Practically speaking, this means we have the greatest threat from the largest telemarketing agencies such as Davis & Henke, Ludquist telemarketing, and other big, nationwide consulting companies that hold significant market share. The telemarketing consultation industry is highly fragmented, with a large number of small companies that mainly cater to small firms and a few large companies that seek the largest contracts from companies such as Sprint, GM, etc. This makes competition within the industry very intense. Through our focused strategy we intend to avoid such a debilitating environment and avoid its drawbacks such as price wars, etc.

Buying patterns and needs
Companies usually enter into contracts with telemarketing agencies based on their reputation of professionalism and effective campaigns in the past. This reputation is difficult to obtain by new firms unless its personnel bring it with them from previous companies such as ours. Price and scope are also important reasons for accepting contracts, especially if the company is small.

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Wedding Consultant Sample Business Plan

During the start-up stage of as a wedding consultant, having a detailed business plan such as this one is important.

Entrepreneur

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Wedding Consultant Business Plan

Executive Summary

TLC Wedding Consultants is a full service company that provides complete consulting services for weddings, holy unions and anniversaries. Our consultants are experienced and dedicated professionals with many years of event planning experience. TLC is unique in that we give our clients our undivided attention. We listen to their needs and work with them to create the event of their dreams. Our clients’ wishes become our commands. So whether our client wants a Western, Tropical, Las Vegas or more traditional wedding, we can help. Our services include weddings, honeymoons, receptions, anniversary consultations, budget planning, answers to etiquette questions, as well as full-service referrals to florists, hair stylists, entertainers, musicians, etc.

1.1 Mission

TLC Wedding Consultants is a full service company that provides complete consulting services for weddings, holy unions and anniversaries. Our consultants are experienced and dedicated professionals with many years of event planning experience. TLC is unique in that we give our clients our undivided attention. We listen to their needs and work with them to create the event of their dreams. Our clients’ wishes become our commands. So whether our client wants a Western, Tropical, Las Vegas or more traditional wedding or anniversary party, we can help. Our services include weddings, honeymoons, receptions, anniversary consultations, budget planning, answers to etiquette questions, as well as full-service referrals to florists, hair stylists, entertainers, musicians, etc.

1.2 Objectives

Whether this is our client’s first wedding, a renewal of their vows or their anniversary, we want every detail of their event to be both a pleasurable and a memorable experience. Therefore we offer a host of packages and services specifically tailored to the needs of each couple. We are confident that this business venture will be a success and we estimate that our net income will increase modestly by the second year.

1.3 Keys to Success

The keys to our success are as follows:

  • Service our clients’ needs promptly and efficiently.
  • Maintain an excellent working relationships with vendors such as florists, hair salons and bridal shops.
  • Maintain a professional image at all times.

Company Summary

TLC Wedding Consultants is a start-up company that provides wedding, holy union, and anniversary consulting services to brides, grooms and other family members. We are a full-service bridal consulting group and our goal is to put the “fun” back into planning a wedding, holy union or anniversary party. Too many people become overly stressed and frustrated when planning these wonderful events. We are experienced and professional consultants and will use our expertise to help create memorable and stress free events for our customers. By doing this, our clients can sit back and enjoy their event. The result? We create events suited to the couple’s unique style–a true expression of their relationship and individuality as a couple.

2.1 Company Ownership

This business will start out as a simple proprietorship, owned by its founders, Darla and Micah Johnson. As the operation grows, the owners will consider re-registering as a limited liability company or as a corporation, whichever will better suite the future business needs.

2.2 Start-up Summary

The company founders, Darla and Micah Johnson, will handle day-to-day operations of the plan and will work collaboratively to ensure that this business venture is a success.

2.3 Company Locations and Facilities

Initially this will be a home-based business; however, by Year 5, we intend to expand our facilities into a well-equipped and operational office.

Services

We are a full-service wedding consultant group and provide the following services: etiquette advice, event scheduling, discounted invitations and products, vendor confirmation, rehearsal attendance, supervision of both ceremony and reception setup and budget planning.

Market Analysis Summary

Nearly $35 billion are spent every year on weddings and receptions. Therefore, professional wedding consultants are a commodity, not a calamity. TLC Wedding Consultants are full-service wedding consultants that offer a variety of services to our clients. We pride ourselves on being professional and courteous at all times and we have packages to suit everyone’s needs.

As previously stated, marriage is a billion dollar industry, therefore, just about everyone we meet is a potential client. However, we mostly advertise to brides, grooms, and family members.

4.1 Market Segmentation

Although the flash and excitement of impending nuptials can be intoxicating, it can also be overwhelming. Therefore, we primarily market our services to the people who need them most–brides and grooms. In 1997, 2.4 million marriages took place in the United States. According to the Encarta Encyclopedia, the current US marriage rate of nine marriages per 1,000 people is still the highest rate among the industrialized countries. This marriage rate is expected to remain at the same level in the near future. In the Eugene, OR area where TLC Wedding Consultants plans to operate their business, over 1,500 marriages are registered each year, which creates a sizable market potential for this line of business.

Another customer segment is represented by the numerous family members and guests attending weddings, anniversaries, and similar events. This segment requires event preparation services like gift ideas, etiquette tips, etc. Besides the wedding arrangements, which TLC Wedding Consultants believe to be their major client assignments, other events the company will provide services to include corporate retreats, etiquette training, etc. This customer segment is estimated to have the annual volume of 1,000 orders in the Eugene, OR area.

4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy

TLC Wedding Consultants will offer its services mostly to the brides and grooms, as well as to the family members. The company will position itself as an experienced provider of wedding planning services. Unlike most of its competitors, TLC will be offering a full range of services and thus provide the convenience of one-stop shopping for its clients. This will significantly reduce the customers’ time and efforts preparing for such an important event as a wedding. Moreover, by utilizing numerous supplier contacts that the company owners have established and economies of scale, TLC Wedding Consultants will be able to pass on to its customers sizable cost savings.

4.2.1 Market Needs

The market needs for wedding planning services are strongly shaped by the customers’ desire to have a perfectly planned and executed wedding ceremony. Although both major customer segments, brides and grooms and family members, plan and budget for the wedding ceremony as far as a year or more in advance, they often realize that they cannot make all the necessary preparations by themselves in a cost effective manner. Strongly affected by the established social values, such customers seek professional advice to ensure that all the important aspects of the wedding ceremony meet or exceed perceived expectations.

4.3 Service Business Analysis

The wedding services market is fragmented with the overwhelming majority of the incumbents offering only a limited line of services. There are numerous florists, hair stylists, and caterers to choose from. However, there are almost no companies that will provide the full range of services associated with the wedding planning and execution.

4.3.1 Competition and Buying Patterns

Competitive analysis conducted by the company owners has shown that there are 20 companies currently offering some sort of wedding planning services in the Eugene area. However, the majority of the incumbent competitors offer only a limited line of services like catering, flower arrangements or gifts. In fact, of these 25 competitors only three offered a range of services comparable with what TLC Wedding Consultants plan to offer to its customers. The following is the list of the major competitors with a brief description of their services:

Rent-An-Action offers ceremony preparation, rehearsing and execution services.
Cross & Reeves provide flower and catering arrangements and wedding consulting services.
Lafayette Wedding offers its clients entertaining, catering, floral design and hair styling services.

The market research has also shown that customers anticipate the complete wedding consulting services to be expensive and they budget accordingly. In fact, lower prices are very often associated with poor service quality. By aggregating a complete range of wedding services under one roof, TLC Wedding Consultants will offer its customers the ease of one-stop shopping.

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Advertising Consulting Business Plan

If starting up an advertising consulting business is on the cards then this sample business plan will get you off to a good start.

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Advertising Consulting Business Plan

Executive Summary

Introduction
It is the mission of Marrowstone Advertising Consultants to provide comprehensive marketing consultation and creation of advertising campaigns for the nonprofit industry. It is our long-term goal to become THE preferred advertising agency for nonprofit institutions nationwide. Our firm is not interested in simply producing a service for our clients. We believe in creating a long-term relationship with them so that the delivery of their message becomes a seemless, thought-provoking experience that engenders action.

The Company
Marrowstone Advertising Consultants will be a limited liability partnership registered in the state of Delaware for tax purposes. Its founder is Mr. Curtiss Cole, a former marketing executive with the Boy Scouts of America. Mr. Cole has brought together a highly respected group of marketing, development, and graphic art specialists who, combined, have a total of 35 years of experience with nonprofit organizations.

The company has a limited number of private investors and does not plan to go public. The company has its main offices in Reston, Virginia. The facilities include a design lab, conference rooms and office spaces. The company expects to begin offering its services in January.

The Services
The firm offers a complete, custom advertising campaign that covers all audio-visual and printed media. Examples include radio and television ads, billboards, building advertisements, brochures, direct mailing, business cards, etc. Management has designed a proven and effective seven step process to building a winning campaign.

The company’s main clients will be small and start-up nonprofit institutions and local governments. By focusing on institutions such as these that have special needs, we believe we will be able to better serve our clients and produce a superior service that is more effective that other advertising firms.

The Market
Marrowstone Advertising Consultants will be concentrating on three main types of nonprofits who operate in the environmental, youth development, and cultural awareness fields. This is because these types of organizations have the greatest needs and/or are the best capitalized in the nonprofit industry.

Profitability and growth in this untapped market is expected to be strong, as evidenced by the fact that over the past 15 years the U.S. has seen an explosion of nonprofits in new fields such as environmental awareness. Furthermore with the greater capitalization of such agencies, we are seeing a widening gap between these organizations needs and what conventional advertising companies can provide.

1.1 Objectives

The three year goals for Marrowstone Advertising are the following:

  • Achieve break-even by Year 2.
  • Establish a long-term contract with The Nature Conservancy.
  • Establish a minimum of 95% customer satisfaction rate to establish long-term relationships with our clients and create word-of-mouth marketing.

1.2 Keys to Success

Marrowstone Advertising’s keys to long-term survivability and profitability are as follows:

  • Differentiate our services to nonprofits so that our clients realize that we are able to better serve their needs than a more generic competitor.
  • Keeping close contact with clients and establishing a well functioning long-term relationship with them to generate repeat business and a top notch reputation.
  • Establish a comprehensive service experience for our clients that includes consultation, analysis of nonprofit’s goals and target markets. Creation of streamlined and custom advertising campaigns based on needs, total design work of all audio-visual advertising tools, implementation, and follow-up analysis.

1.3 Mission

It is the mission of Marrowstone Advertising Consultants to provide comprehensive marketing consultation and creation of advertising campaigns for the nonprofit industry. Our firm is not interested in simply producing a service for our clients. We believe in creating a long-term relationship with them so that the delivery of their message becomes a seemless, thought-provoking experience that engenders action. Marrowstone understands that nonprofit groups and institutions have special needs in delivering their information and messages to the public and creating inspiration to act on these messages.

Company Summary

Marrowstone Advertising Consultants will be a limited liability partnership registered in the state of Delaware for tax purposes. Its founder is Mr. Curtiss Cole, a former marketing executive with the Boy Scouts of America. Mr. Cole has brought together a highly respected group of marketing, development, and graphic art specialists who, combined, have a total of 35 years of experience with nonprofit organizations.

The company has a limited number of private investors and does not plan to go public. The company has its main offices in Reston, Virginia. The facilities include a design lab, conference rooms and office spaces. The company expects to begin offering its services in January.

The company’s main clients will be small and start-up nonprofit institutions and local governments. By focusing on institutions such as these that have special needs, we believe we will be able to better serve our clients and produce a superior service that is more effective that other advertising firms.

2.1 Start-up Summary

Start-up assets required are $122,300, which includes cash needed to support operations until revenues reach an acceptable level. Start-up expenses are $31,700. Most of the company’s liabilities will come from outside private investors and management investment, however, we have obtained $16,000 in current borrowing from Bank of America Commercial Investments, the principal to be paid off in two years. A long-term loan of $45,000 through Charter Bank of Richmond will be paid off in ten years.

2.2 Company Ownership

The company will have a number of outside private investors who will own 27% of the company’s shares. The rest will be owned by the senior management including Mr. Curtis Cole, (25%), Ms. Jennie Marks (20%), Mr. David Danielson, (20%), and Mr. Milo Winn (8%). All other financing will come from loans.

Services

Marrowstone Advertising Consultants offers a complete, custom advertising campaign that covers all audio-visual and printed media. Examples include radio and television ads, billboards, building advertisements, brochures, direct mailing, business cards, etc. Our proven and effective seven step process to building a winning campaign incudes the following:

  • Initial consultation.
  • Analysis of nonprofit’s goals and target market demographics.
  • Planning.
  • Creation of streamlined and custom advertising campaigns based on needs.
  • Total design work of all audio-visual/printed advertising tools.
  • Implementation (usually through subcontractors).
  • Follow-up analysis.

Each project is customized to our client and its scope, length, depth, reach, and cost are unique.

Market Analysis Summary

Marrowstone Advertising Consultants will be concentrating on three main types of nonprofits who operate in the environmental, youth development, and cultural awareness fields. This is because these types of organizations have the greatest needs and/or are the best capitalized in the nonprofit industry.

Profitability and growth in this little tapped market is expected to be strong, as evidenced by the fact that over the past 15 years the U.S. has seen an explosion of nonprofits in new fields such as environmental awareness. Furthermore with the greater capitalization of such agencies, we are seeing a widening gap between these organizations needs and what conventional advertising companies can provide.

An analysis of the market using the five forces of profitability indicates that there will be a short time where growth of market share and profitability will be extremely high while demand outstrips supply. As new entrants move into the market this opportunity will disappear. This is the time for Marrowstone to create its reputation and niche in the industry.

4.1 Market Segmentation

There are various nonprofit institutions nationwide that concentrate on various public issues. Marrowstone will be focusing on the following groups of clients:

  • Environmental nonprofit institutions.
  • Youth development nonprofit institutions.
  • Cultural nonprofit institutions.
  • Other.

We are concentrating on these specific market segments for a variety of reasons. The environmental segment which includes organizations such as the Sierra Club and the Nature Conservancy is the fastest growing segment at the moment, and Marrowstone’s management concludes that in the near future, they will also include some of the largest nonprofits in the nation. Youth development nonprofits such as the Boy Scouts, Camp Fire girls, 4-F, and The Boys and Girls Club includes some of the largest and most well capitalized nonprofit organizations in the country. Finally, although they tend to be small in size, there are a huge number of cultural nonprofits such as museums.

The market analysis table and graph which follows shows the number of each type of organization in the greater Washington D.C. area. This will be our initial geographical focus for the first three to four years of our company’s existance. Later, as we expand to a nationwide scope, our future business plans will include all our potential clients across the country.

4.2 Service Business Analysis

The advertising industry for nonprofits is at the moment, an unfulfilled market with demand greater than supply. Many nonprofit organizations have found that only the largest and most expensive advertising agencies will enter into contracts with nonprofits and this leaves a great void which must be filled by in-house advertising.

Marrowstone believes that the greatest threat at the moment is in new entrants to the market who will also perceive this opportunity. The most likely entrants will be pre-existing advertising agencies wishing to horizontally integrate and enter new sub-markets. However, the one major disadvantage to new entrants is that all firms engaged in contracting to advertising agencies face significant switching costs when bringing on a new advertising partner. Furthermore, Marrowstone understands that in this industry there is a significant learning curve that creates declining “unit” costs as a firm gains more cumulative experience in the field itself and with long-term clients specifically.

Rivalry among different advertising agencies as stated before is quite intense. The advertising market as a whole is mature with low growth. Most of the largest agencies are mutually dependent when it comes to jockeying for position and market share. The fact that there are so many diverse and seemingly “generic” or general advertising agencies makes this a cutthroat industry.

The threat of clients backwardly integrating so as to have all their advertising done in-house is one of the major factors that buyers use to indirectly control price in this industry, and increase competition among firms. This must always be foremost in the minds of Marrowstone’s management when offering services and setting prices.

4.2.1 Competition and Buying Patterns

Competition
Competition includes all potential advertising agencies that are willing to accept nonprofit contracts and nonprofit organizations that handle all their advertising in-house. Practically speaking, this means the largest advertising agencies such as Werner & Voss, Price, Waterhouse, & Cooper, and other large, nationwide agencies that hold significant market share. The advertising agency industry is highly fragmented, with a large number of small companies that mainly cater to small firms and a few large companies that seek the largest contracts from companies such as McDonald’s, GM, etc. This makes competition within the industry very intense. Through our niche strategy we intend to avoid such a debilitating environment and avoid its drawbacks such as price wars, etc.

Buying patterns and needs

Companies usually enter into contracts with advertising agencies based on their reputation of professionalism and effective campaigns in the past. This reputation is difficult to obtain by new advertising firms unless its personnel bring it with them from previous firms such as ours. Price and scope are also important reasons for accepting contracts, especially if the company is small.

nonprofit organizations have very different needs that other firms. Companies offering a product or service need to inform the public about the benefits of their product/service and then inspire them to purchase by leading them through an implicit or explicit cost-benefit analysis. On the other hand, nonprofits must appeal to a person’s higher sense of community duty in order to obtain contributions. Advertisements must be a thought-provoking experience that engenders action. This is a far more difficult task to achieve than ordinary marketing and usually requires more resources and time than product/service marketing. Many advertising agencies do not desire to accept these types of contracts and leave it to the nonprofit organizations to create their own marketing. This leads to higher costs, more emphasis on obtaining contributions, and less effective management of the organization’s goals.

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