How’s Your Business Plan

Some songs have a VERY short shelf life…they’re built to dominate one period of time and then gone forever (for the most part). 

If you want your business to be more than a one-hit-wonder, you need to ensure its life expectancy. You NEED to have a business plan that can grow with you.

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Do you have a business plan? A successful business plan tells you where you want to go and how to get there. It is never written “once”, and then tucked away in a file never to be seen again. Business plans should be visited at least two to four times a year to see where you are going and if you are on the right road to get there. If you’re like some entrepreneurs, you decided after seeing someone perform poorly in the same field that you worked in that you could do a better job. You decided to strike out on your own, get a business card, purchase the equipment and supplies needed and sought to make your mark in that field. But, alas, no one called. Why? You needed to do your homework first…and that is part of a business plan. Here’s an example of a standard business plan that could be used for your entertainment company.

  1. Executive Summary – I would strongly suggest writing this last even though it is listed first in your plan. An executive summary is just that….a summary of your company as a whole.
  2. Company History – Legal establishment history (incorporation, LLC, sole proprietorship, etc.), company history, your start-up plan all goes in this portion of your business plan.
  3. Product or Service – In most small businesses you are selling exactly that…a service or a product. The key component here to focus on is your client benefits…what’s in it for them? Nothing else matters…not your product, not your price, not your experience…Client Benefits should be listed here or put in layman’s terms….Why should they hire YOU?
  4. Market Analysis – What niche in your current market wasn’t being filled and how can you fill that niche? That is the secret to the success of ANY business. Find a need and fill it. The market analysis allows you to determine whether or not there is a market for the services that you plan on offering. How many people need your product or service in your marketplace? What is the median income of people in your area? If you want to cater to high-end clientele, where do the wealthier people live? Eat? Hang out? Analyzing your market in advance and continuing throughout your business life cycle will help you avoid costly mistakes and keep you in business.
  5. Strategy and Implementation – Now you’ve done your homework with market analysis…let’s put it to the test. The key here is to be specific. Include goals and outline specific dates as to WHEN those goals are to be accomplished.  Include your budgets for purchases, advertising, marketing (yes…they are TWO SEPARATE components), initial expenses, monthly recurring expenses, retirement, 401k, etc.
  6. Web Plan Summary – In today’s internet age, we are a WEB FOCUSED world. Even if you’re a service business, this is a KEY component of your business plan. Don’t forget to include development costs, marketing, and advertising strategies, how your website will operate and also how it is expected to factor in the development of sales for your company.
  7. Management Team – This area of your business plan is dedicated to describing your team members (employees) and what their roles are to the overall success of your company. What is their demographic, background, education level, experience and what qualities are you looking for or do they possess?
  8. Financial Analysis – This is the often overlooked area by small business owners. This portion should AT THE VERY LEAST include your projected Profit and Loss statements and cash flow statements. Other areas to consider for Financial Analysis is projections of retainers per month that you are receiving, upsells that you are offering and what time of year those are most occurring in (ways to capitalize on that market in the future), and when clients are booking you in comparison to previous years. All of this information collected ties back to the financial future of your company and is VALUABLE. This information typically falls under Sales Forecasts, projected Balance Sheets and Market Analysis tables should also be considered.

Planning to take these steps and outline your business in this way will help ensure you’re here to stay and not just another flash in the pan, here today gone tomorrow business.

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