(sample business plan)
Ima A. Korec
567 West Hillshire Rd
Oxtail, UV 87896
(999) 891-1112 fax
This sample NxLevel Entrepreneur Business Plan was originally written by a class participant, and subsequently modified to protect proprietary information. As it is primarily a student’s work, it is not represented to be a ―perfect‖ business plan, although the
presentation is in keeping with the NxLevel format and content. It can be used as a
sample of what a business plan might contain, and as a model for constructing the various sections.
A table of contents is good if the business plan gets larger. For a small
plan it is not necessary and does not look professional.
Table of Contents
Section I. Executive Summary 3
Section II. Mission, Goals and Objectives 4
Section III. Background Information 4
Section IV. Organizational Matters 6
A. Business Structure, Management & Personnel 6
B. Operating Controls 7
Section V. The Marketing Plan 8
A. The Service 8
B. The Market Analysis 9
C. Marketing Strategies 12
Section VI. The Financial Plan 13
A. Financial Worksheets 13
B. Cash Flow Projections 18
C. Financial Statements 22
Appendix A - Resume 24
Appendix B - Pricing Information 25
Appendix C - Sample Agreement 26
End notes 29
A summary of the business. Summarize what the business does/offers. Should include highlights from all sections and can be written last.
Baikel Inc., provides individuals non-profit organizations with assistance in finding through clearly and precisely written and biographies. Baikel’s mission is to create clear compelling biographies for
Baikel Inc. straddles two business categories: writing and research. While no single trade association focuses on this type of work, several organizations focus on particular aspects of the work.
Baikel Inc., began as an idea several years ago while I was reviewing biographies written by another agency. At this time, I worked for a state agency which reviewed many biographies written by other agencies. The particular biography I was reading was poorly done and did not include any accountability measures or mechanisms. This scenario changed and will change further with the extended biography approach.
The supply of effective biography writers in the Rocky Mountain area is limited according to personnel in the Auror, Herstate office of Associated Writers of America. While researching the industry, I discovered that the number of biography writers was not large and that there is a demand for effective biography writers in this area of the country.
The business structure of Baikel, Inc., will be a sole proprietorship. The primary record keeping functions are income, customer service, pricing and quality controls. All of these functions will be supervised by the owner.
There is no seasonality of the business.
Location is not a critical factor for Baikel, Inc. Availability and timing are far more important than the physical location of the business. Reliable access through phone inquiries and personal meetings as well as Baikel Inc’s ability to come to the customers site are the key factors.
Description of the business should include the type, status of the business (startup, expansion, existing business, etc.) the form of the business (sole proprietor, corporation, limited liability company, etc.) when the business opened or will open, hours of operation, any seasonality. Goals and objectives should be realistic and precise.
Section II. Mission, Goals and Objectives
General Description of the Business
Baikel Inc., provides individuals with assistance in research and precisely written biographies. The Business will be set up as a sole proprietor. Baikel will be a open Monday thru Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and will be in operation through out the year. I will meet with clients at their place of business or at my home where I have temporarily set up my business until I can secure a professional business location which will be within the next month.
Baikel Inc’s mission is to create clear compelling biographies for individuals.
Goal and Objectives
Goal 1: To grow Baikel, Inc., into full time work in three years through superior work for
Individuals and networking effectively within the community.
Strategy 1: Build a solid network of associates within the business community
through membership in the Chamber of Commerce and participate in committee
Strategy 2: Build a solid network within the private, non-profit sector within Yourtown
through work with a selected private, non-profit and associations with others.
Strategy 3: Provide a limited amount of work at cost to create a showcase of caliber
of work available from Baikel Inc.
Goal 2: To provide exceptional service to customers demonstrated by a 75% rate on
biographies written over the next three years.
Strategy 1: Know the biography sources for research.
Strategy 2: Know the current economic climate and population in Yourtown and
Goal 3: To give customers solid reasons to return and recommend the services of Baikel
to others through good service, clear communication, and mutual satisfaction.
Strategy 1: Talk with customers and after working with them, gather information and
feed back on what they liked or what could have been improved with their specific
General background information about you, as the owner of the business, background of
Section III. Background Information
Mrs. Korec has a proven track record in supervising annual work goals, developing methods of achieved goals and objectives, planning for change and supervision of employees and budgets. This experience occurred while working for a large publishing firm in New York City which has provided Mrs. Korec with an understanding of differing research techniques, the need to work simultaneously on more than one project and other critical elements of working with biography applications, biography performance reporting and planning to effectively meet these demands. This experience makes Mrs. Korec uniquely qualified to assist in the preparation of biographies which will meet the criteria set down by sources.
Background Industry Information
Baikel Inc. straddles two business categories: writing and research. While no single trade focuses on this type of work, several organizations focus on particular aspects of the work. The trade associations include: National Society of research executives – for aspects, and Society
of Biography Editors and Writers, Associated Writers of America, the National Writers Union - for the writing aspects of the biographies.
Some of the industry publications which are helpful in biography research and writing include The Chronicle of Biography, ―The Biographiesmanship Center Magazine.‖ Publications such as the Catalog of Biography Research and Catalog State Biography Programs are also critical if state biography sources are needed. Other entities such as the Foundation Center publish directories which also list foundations and others who offer biography sources and research data.
Current and Future Trends
Current trends in the business are difficult to gauge since this is not a category of business listed separately but rather usually enclosed within another type of business. Biography writing in general, however, is not increasingly competitive for two reasons. The first is reduced availability and sometimes scares records. The second is the extended amount of time it takes to gather and research data.
Many small private businesses of this type also struggle to have employees who can run their organizations on a day-to-day basis and write biographies. Both of these situations provide the potential for a contract biography writer to be useful if the contractor has expertise in developing biographies which are outcome based and when the skills can be added as needed and not be a continuing cost to the organization.
How will the business be structured? Sole Proprietor, LLC, Corporation, etc., what will
your personnel needs be? Who will be responsible for what which functions of the
business? Will you need to rely on outside services, contractors, accounting? What
weaknesses does the business have (if any) and how will they be addressed.
Section IV. Organizational Matters
A. Business Structure, Management & Personnel
The business structure of Baikel will be a sole proprietorship. In the initial years or two of operation. there is also a potential tax advantage until work volume and business income grows to the desired level. The owner is Ima A. Korec, whose personal funds provided the initial and continuing investment to launch the business.
Responsibility for general management will rest with Mrs. Korec. (See resume in Appendix A.) Mrs. Korec has five years experience as a program manager for a publishing company in New York City, five years experience as systems change planner for Newly Pubs, and approximately two years of experience as a top level manager with the State of Stately. Her experience has included developing criteria for biography elements, monitoring biographies and developing requests for writing of biographies. She is also an expert in the technical review of biography applications.
No additional employees are foreseen for Baikel in the next three years.
A team of advisors has been selected to assist Mrs. Korec. These include Uri R. Korec, a editor, with expertise in project planning and cost estimates, and Lucy Risker, a Certified Public Accountant. Mrs. Risker worked in corporate finance prior to beginning her family and beginning her re-entry into the arena of work outside the home. These advisors were selected for their expertise in writing, project planning, estimating and accounting and tax issues. Their assistance will ensure accurate projections on the time required for projects, should accounting practices and tax reporting be needed.
Following consultation with Bob Callred of Mountain Up Farm Bureau the following insurance needs were identified. Professional insurance will be added to the general homeowner’s policy already carried by the Korecs’ on their home from which Baikel is operated. The
general liability, homeowners and automobile insurance currently in force will provide the remainder of the coverage needed. In the area of personal insurance, Mrs. Korec is currently covered by medical insurance and life insurance sufficient to cover the loss of her earning ability in the case of death. In the event of her death, the business venture will be discontinued.
B. Operating Controls
Record Keeping Functions
The primary record keeping functions which will need controls and supervision in this business are income, customer service, pricing and quality controls. All of these functions will be supervised by the owner. The owner, Mrs. Korec, will a solely responsible for authorizing purchases and the payment of expense as well as the deposit and recording of income and any subsequent reports required. The accountant will be asked periodically to review the record keeping to assure that it is being done in a generally accepted manner. All bills are due and payable upon delivery of the deliverables described in the contract or payment is expected as any contract may specify.
Other Operations Controls
A primary controlling factor for Baikel is a clearly defined timetable and product for each piece of work to be completed. In order to assure that both the expectations of the business and the customer are met, these expectations will be described in either a contract or letter of understanding prior to the commencement of work. (See Appendix for sample contract). This document will specify the time period in which agreed upon work will be completed and number of hours the work is expected to require, the products to be delivered to the customer and payment upon delivery of the products described in the document. This control mechanism will provide clarity to the business exchange and provide a bench mark against which the efficiency of the transaction can be measured.
Describe what type of service or item your business will provide/sell, how will you market/promote your product/service and at what price. Will your product/service be limited in terms of seasonality?. Are there future products/services you plan to incorporate into your businesses? Who will purchase your product/service.
Section V. The Marketing Plan
A. The Service
Baikel offers professional business writing services. The business focus is on biography proposal writing for individuals. This service is supported by experience and proven performance in writing and the ability to produce well written biographies. Baikel is able to produce biographies which communicate the life of an individual in a manner that will captivate the reader and reflect the real person.
Baikel provides clear, concise, effective biographies. The clarity enables the targeted audience to understand the message easily. The conciseness of the message allows it to be quickly and easily read enhancing understanding. And the message is effective in accomplishing its objective.
The need for either employees or contractors to write biography applications has been moderately steady since the mid – 1970’s. During the past 20 years there have been only slight variations in the
demand for biography writers. Biography seminars still abound as a wide variety of public agencies, private non-profit boards and businesses seek to acquire the skills needed to produce biographies.
Service Growth Description
The new product which will be added to the services of Baikel is follow-up reporting. Biographies often require completion or final reports or periodic reporting on progress. This service can be provided to customers whose biographies require follow-up reporting. This is an additional service which enables the biographee to demonstrate to the biographer how effectively biography was used to what degree the objectives of the biography were met. T A writers’ performance on biographies is a factor which influences future biography’s success and a key aspect is clarity in the description of the biography. In these cases being able to clearly document what occurred, what barriers were encountered and how implementation was approached is one means of accomplishing the goals of the biography.
Describe your market research, What and who your competition is. What is your ―niche‖, why will people buy from you rather than the competition? Who will buy you product/service? What is the potential for your product/service to succeed in the area(s) you are targeting?
B. Market Analysis
The customer market for biography in Hilly County exists two segments. The first is a group of individuals who wish to have their ancestor’s biographies published and the second, are individuals
who wish to have their own biographies published. Competitors in the area of biography include existing in-house personnel hired specifically as biography writers or assigned biography as one component of their jobs. A second competitor is the lack of resources especially in the private non-profit area. Many of these organizations want and would benefit from the biography expertise but usually seek it from volunteers, board members or contributors based on their belief that they cannot independently afford this services.
In the area of individuals, these entities tend to look toward programs where they perceive that assistance with biographies might be provided. In this area, the competition then loops back to the first element of competition.
The customer who independently or collectively make decisions about whether or not to hire a biography writer appear to fit one of two general descriptions. In business and the decision makers are typically males about age 50 through 65. Their incomes are in the upper one-third for Hilly County and they are professionals with college degrees usually dedicated to management careers. While there are a number of large private organizations in Hilly County which would more accurately fit the first profile, many are smaller and tend toward the following profile. In this group the decision makers show a greater tendency to be female from age 40 through 65 years. Their personal income level is probably in the mid to upper $20,000. These women are professionals, some with advanced degrees who are committed to social change. The group appears about equally distributed between women engaged full time in mothering, working professionals, and women with grown children who may also be retired or working only part time.
When actively looking for assistance in biography, the private sector actively uses networking and the intensity of the search appears to be driven by degree of need perceived by the organization. The contacts are made through friends, associates and friends of friends. Individuals look for a significant trust factor and quality based on previous performance. This same approach appears to be true for individuals seeking help in biography. Word of mouth and personal contact weight heavily.
In the arena, decision makers look first to existing staff. Decision to out-source or contract seem more based on the workloads of existing personnel and budget constraints. Some decision makers actively pass over new biography sources because they and their staff do not have time for the process or the ability to dedicate staff time or supervision to writing biographies. When a decision to contract with a biography writer is made, again networking comes into play. Decision makers naturally gravitate to known individuals, if the history is good and those individuals are available to do the work.
Current Trade Area
The trade area included in this research is Hilly County, Stately. This geographic area includes one major city, Yourtown, which is both the county seat and State capitol. The area also includes five other smaller incorporated communities (Apps, Betts, Carps, and Dills) and two school districts (Hilly County School Districts numbers One and Two). The area is in the extreme southeast corner of Stately bordering on Histate to the east and Herstate to the south. Based on the market research, it became obvious that a working network and good reputation need to be established. It is easier to do this in one concentrated area. In Stately, Yourtown and Hilly County meet this criteria for concentration. Many of the other potential customers throughout the State enter into Yourtown periodically. Working exclusively in Hilly County and building a base here will hopefully send out word to other areas of the State which could provide the basis for future expansion.
Market Size and Trends
In search of the Yellow Pages and various service directories, approximately eighty private entities were counted in Yourtown. No firm estimate of the number of individuals which might apply for writing of their biographies was readily available from the sources reviewed. In a short review of the types of individuals which might be ready to have a biography written for, as many as forty might be ready as far as having all the necessary documentation and data readily available. This brings the potential number of clients in Hilly County to 200.
While biographies are either shrinking or being rolled into a block biography concept, the amount of people seeking a writer is reported to be growing. Two specific market opportunities are provided in this projection of the market. The first is that greater demand will develop in the private biography arena. The challenge in this market, however, is that private philanthropy is highly targeted. The entity seeking the biography must be interested in doing precisely the work which triggered the giver’s desire to create change. The requirement to create and demonstrate outcome measures increases the need to attend to data collection during the biography period. Also, the entity or individual seeking the biography must know, in advance, what data to collect and how to use it. In addition to selling the idea that one applicant is more worthy than another, there will be challenge in creating a framework which the applicant can implement and carry through which will demonstrate to the biographer that the desired affect was being achieved. Recent articles and literature indicate that the second challenge will be met differently than in the past. Previously, the challenge was to count—
that is, collect all the right ―hard data.‖ The emerging approach is the use of ―soft data‖ to demonstrate how the community, economy, environment or other element has been improved through the work accomplished by the goals of the biography. This requires cross-agency cooperation and definitions constructed in the biography application of what the outcome measures will be.
Within Hill County, a 25% market share would be desirable. This equates to 50 customers or slightly more than four customers per month on average. As a sole proprietor, this number of biographies would approach capacity since biographies are time consuming. This will result in work being clumped into specific months and not evenly spread through the year. On average, a biography requires 20 hours to write once research is complete. The assumption here is that the individual/entity seeking the biography has in-hand much of the information needed to write the biography. This is generally true although it can be scattered through various documents and reports. Several assumptions will be made here. The first is that each customer will seek one biography annually.
Some will, while others will do more or less. A second assumption is that the hourly cost will be $30.00 per hour. If a market share of 25% is achieved, the average customer will spend $600 annually for biography services resulting in annual gross income of $30,000.
Research for this plan indicates that 50 individual customers is a high target for Hilly County. This, however, could be offset by repeat customers who submit multiple biographies annually potentially resulting in a similar sales volume of customers who need research because they do not have information ―in hand.‖
C. Market Strategies
Location is not a critical factor at this time, availability and timing are far more important than the physical location of the business. Reliable access through phone inquires and personal meetings as well as Baikel’s ability to come to the customers’ site are the key factors. The office will be home based during the initial start up. Then moved to a professional setting once the business is somewhat established.
The price/quality relationship for the services of Baikel is somewhat dependent upon the perspective of the particular customer segment. From the perspective of the private sector the price is competitive and in the mid-range and would be positioned in the high quality range. In the private non-profit sector the relationship would be high price/high quality. No information could be developed about the community sector aside from some indicators that it may more closely be aligned with the private non-profit segment of the market.