MicroBrewr 064: How to write a business plan for a brewery
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Dave Lavinsky went to business school at University of California at Los Angeles. After he won a business plan writing competition, he wrote a few for other businesses. Then he started Growthink, in Los Angeles, to help entrepreneurs and business owners develop their business plans so they can raise capital and grow their business.
3 reasons why people don’t do a business plan:
- No time
- Don’t know what to write
- Don’t know how to do the financials
Dave is steadfast that you shouldn’t take too long to write a business plan. “To spend more than 2 to 3 months to create your business plan is foolish,” he says, “because there is diminishing returns. After 3 months it’s not going to get all that much better, it just means that you’re probably procrastinating.”
Here are the essential parts of a business plan that you must have:
- Executive Summary
- Company Overview
- Industry Analysis/Market Analysis
- Customer Analysis
- Competitor Analysis
- Marketing Plan
- Operations Plan
- Management Team
- Financial Plan
To help explain how to write a business plan for your brewery, here are some notes on the outline above.
Think of the Executive Summary as the sales piece to convince investors that you can execute this plan. It should be 1- to 3-pages in length. Do this last to summarize the whole thing. Write it in very approachable language.
“It doesn’t need to be beautiful Shakespearian prose,” says Dave, “It needs to be something that’s accessible.”
Be sure to include what Dave calls the “success factor line.” Write, “We are uniquely qualified to succeed because…” Explain any of your unique skills, expertise, or resources that will guarantee your success. This might be background or expertise, products or services, location, systems, intellectual property, or a built in customer base.
The Company Overview is where you note the organizational structure and type of business entity.
The Competitor Analysis should describe both direct competitors and indirect competitors. Your direct competitors are nearby breweries. Indirect competitors might even be supermarkets, taverns, or liquor stores that carry a good selection of craft beer.
The Marketing Plan is where you talk about product and pricing, and how you will promote your product.
In Management Team, of course describe who will be running the company. But also explain the gaps in management and how you will fill those gaps. Maybe you will find another partner, hire a manager, or outsource some roles.
The Financial Plan has 3 spreadsheets:
- Income Statement (Profit/Loss)
- Balance Sheet
- Cash Flow Statement
The Appendix has your supporting documentation. Include anything additional to help make your case that you can successfully execute on this plan. Some examples might include: lease agreement for the location, interior design plans, letters of commitment from buyers, customer surveys or other market data.
Lastly, be sure to have somebody edit the entire business plan. You could pay a professional to give it a once over. At the minimum, ask a friend to check it for readability, grammar, and typos.
Now you know how to write a business plan for your brewery. Let’s both take Dave’s advice and commit to finishing our business plans within 3 months!
“Running a business is not doing everything yourself.” [Tweet This]
If you could ask one question to every brewer or brewery owner, what would you ask? Let me know.
- Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh.
- Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.
Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.
An upcoming beer style:
- Business Plan Guide, Growthink (FREE).
- Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template.
- How To Write a Business Plan, Dave Lavinsky, Forbes, January 30, 2014.
- 5 Business Plan Myths You Shouldn’t Fall For, Dave Lavinsky, Forbes, January 7, 2014.
- Business Plan Outlines – 23 Point Checklist for Success, Dave Lavinsky, Forbes, December 3, 2013.
- Writing a Business Plan: 5 Keys To Your Success, Dave Lavinsky, Forbes, August 19, 2013.
- Business Plan Template: What To Include, Dave Lavinsky, Forbes, July 18, 2013.
You can reach Dave Lavinsky and Growthink at:
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