Most business people think of a business plan just as something you do when you start a new business, and aim the plan primarily at attracting new capital to fund the business.
While this is one possible purpose for a business plan, it is by no means the only reason for creating and maintaining a business plan. We rarely write all of a business plan for a client. Instead we work with a client to assemble a business plan, where we provide specialized information and business experience and you provide the legwork and local data. This means you get a better product at a lower cost.
Here are three types of business plans that we normally work on with clients, and what they are used for:
* The Feasibility Study
If you are thinking of starting a new business, such as opening your first comics/pop culture store, you will want to know what the chances are you will succeed and you definitely will want to know how much money you will need to start the business and keep it going till sales cover your operating expenses. And if you are like many first-time business people, you are interested in attracting investors for your new business.
A Feasibility Study is just what you need. This is a short (20-25 page) business plan that covers all the essential elements of starting a new business. It has enough detail so you can sit down with a potential investor and give them enough data to make a decision. It also will show you what you need for startup capital, where your break-even point is, and what key measures you want to focus on during the first 2-3 years of operation.
This type of business plan normally takes 1-3 calendar months to complete, depending on how much time you can put into the process. The cost of this type of plan is normally $1,000.
* The Medium-Term Growth Plan
If you have an established business and want to expand, you need a business plan that begins with where you are now and shows you what you need in terms of people, capital, organization and facilities to reach your goal.
This type of business plan normally takes 2-5 calendar months to complete, depending on how much detail you want and how much time you can put into the process. The cost of this type of plan ranges from $1,000-$8,000 depending on the amount of supporting research you want.
* The Problem Identification Plan
If your business isn't generating the profits or sales you expect, and you want to find out why and learn what actions could cure the problems; you need a problem identification business plan.
This type of plan not only identifies the causes of your problems and provides solutions for them, but leaves you with the basis for long-term growth and planning once you are back on an even financial basis.
This type of business plan normally takes 2-3 calendar months to complete, depending on how much time you can put into the process. The cost of this type of plan ranges from $1,000 to $3,000 depending on the size and complexity of your business.
* Evaluating Your Current Plan
We also will evaluate your existing business plan. We will not add missing information or rewrite large portions of the plan, but we will point out in detail what the deficiencies are with the plan and how you can remedy them.
It takes 3-4 hours to review and edit a plan, at a rate of $150 an hour.
And What Not to Do!
We've attached an Acrobat Reader download of a "business plan" that we received from a client for evaluation. We've purged it of references that would identify the guilty, and included our marginal comments. You can learn a lot about what not to do from a bad plan
Don't go down to the corner software store, buy a cheap business plan software package and expect that you'll be able to develop a good product. GIGO ("garbage in - garbage out") is still true today.
We know what performance norms and ratios are for actual stores in the comics/pop culture business, we can forecast what sales volumes you are likely to achieve by major product line, and we have seen what works and what doesn't in the business for nearly twenty years. When you hire us to work with you on your business plan we add all this to your work to make your plan specific to your situation and a realistic tool for planning.