The World's Leading Business Plan Template Directory

Posts by : Dave Lavinsky

Author / 57 Posts
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Ecommerce Business Plan Template

If you want to start a Ecommerce business or expand your current Ecommerce, you need a business plan.

The following Ecommerce business plan template gives you the key elements to include in a winning Ecommerce business plan.

You can download our Business Plan Template (including a full, customizable financial model) to your computer here.

Below are links to each of the key sections of your Ecommerce business plan:

I. Executive Summary

II. Company Overview

III. Industry Analysis

IV. Customer Analysis

V. Competitive Analysis

VI. Marketing Plan

VII. Operations Plan

VIII. Management Team

IX. Financial Plan

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Cafe Business Plan Template

If you want to start a Cafe business or expand your current Cafe, you need a business plan.

The following Cafe business plan template gives you the key elements to include in a winning Cafe business plan.

Below are links to each of the key sections of your Cafe business plan:

I. Executive Summary

II. Company Overview

III. Industry Analysis

IV. Customer Analysis

V. Competitive Analysis

VI. Marketing Plan

VII. Operations Plan

VIII. Management Team

IX. Financial Plan

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Nail Salon Business Plan Template

If you want to start a Nail Salon business or expand your current Nail Salon, you need a business plan.

The following Nail Salon business plan template gives you the key elements to include in a winning Nail Salon business plan.

You can download the Nail Salon business plan template (including a full, customizable financial model) to your computer here.

Below are links to each of the key sections of your Nail Salon business plan:

I. Executive Summary

II. Company Overview

III. Industry Analysis

IV. Customer Analysis

V. Competitive Analysis

VI. Marketing Plan

VII. Operations Plan

VIII. Management Team

IX. Financial Plan

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The_Secret_to_Highly_Effective_Marketing_Header-V2Let me go right out and tell you the secret to highly effective marketing: it is to focus on and improve your “conversion rates” in each area of your marketing.

In this article, I’ll discuss 4 key conversion points, how a 20% increase to each will give you exponential results, and specific tactics to achieve such results.

The_Secret_to_Highly_Effective_Marketing_20-Improvements-V2What 20% Improvements Do To Overall Results

Let me start with an example.

Let’s say your competitor runs an advertisement that reaches 10,000 target customers and gets these results.

  • 1 percent response rate (response rate means that prospective customer visited competitor’s website, went into their store, called them, etc.)
  • 35 percent conversion rate (conversion rate means the responding customer then purchases)
  • $500 price per widget (widget being the item sold by your competitor)
  • 1.5 widgets per buyer (average buyer purchases 1.5 widgets in initial order)
  • 30 percent profit margin
  • 10 percent repurchase rate (10% of customers buy from your competitor again)

Assuming the ad reached 10,000 target customers, your competitor’s gross profit from the ad would have been $8,662.50 (minus the cost of the ad).

Now let’s assume that your company did a 20 percent better job on each of these factors. Your results would be as follows:

  • 1.2 percent response rate
  • 42 percent conversion rate
  • $500 price per widget
  • 1.8 widgets per buyer
  • 36 percent profit margin
  • 12 percent repurchase rate

Now let’s look at the results.

If your ad reached the same 10,000 target customers, your gross profit would be $19,596.

That’s 2.3 times greater than your competitor’s.

Now, what would happen if you generated 2.3 times greater profits than your competitors every time you ran an ad?

The answer is that you would absolutely dominate them.

Now, the key marketing secret that I’m sharing with you here is that you don’t have to revolutionize your marketing system. Rather, small, 20% improvements in each part of your system lead to revolutionary results.

So, here are some ways in which you can improve each part of your marketing system.

The_Secret_to_Highly_Effective_Marketing_Response-RateResponse Rate

The more you know about your customers’ wants and needs, the more easily you can design advertisements that appeal to them.

And the more you know about them, the better you could craft a unique selling proposition (USP) to attract them.

For example, if you are a local hardware company and you know your typical buyer is a busy male with a wife, kids, and dog, you could easily craft ads with a higher response rate.

You could also boost response rates by developing better offers that attract customers, such as an offer for a 90-day money-back guarantee.

The_Secret_to_Highly_Effective_Marketing_Conversion_RateConversion Rate

Remember, conversion rates are the percentage of prospective customers that you converted into actual customers.

A few ways you could increase conversion rates include having a better process in place for training your staff and sales team, providing better employee incentives (e.g., commissions or bonuses for closing sales), or by developing and testing sales scripts that boost results.

The_Secret_to_Highly_Effective_Marketing_Widgets-per-BuyerNumber of Widgets Per Buyer

To increase the number of units purchased per transaction (including purchasing more widgets or related items), you can rely on similar tactics to increasing conversion rates such as better hiring, training, sales scripts and so on.

McDonalds doubled its profits when it started asking “would you like fries with that?” and increased them again when it starting asking “would you like to supersize that?”

The_Secret_to_Highly_Effective_Marketing_Profit_MarginsProfit Margins

Better systematizing your business and implementing the right processes and procedures will allow you to generate higher profits per sale than your competitors.

For instance, documenting standard operating procedures so tasks are done the same way by all employees generally decreases costs and thus increases profit.s

The_Secret_to_Highly_Effective_Marketing_Repurchase-RateRepurchase Rate

Finally, to increase repurchase rates, do a better job of communicating with your clients and showing them how special they are. For example, send them emails, call them, or send them letters in the mail to educate them and remind them that you have products and services that can help them.

Summary

In most cases, to dramatically increase sales and profits, there’s no need to dramatically revamp your marketing efforts.

Rather, just getting 20% better in each core area will do the trick!

The Secret to Highly Effective Marketing Infographic

Below is an infographic of this article for quick reference.

The_Secret_to_Highly_Effective_Marketing_Infographic

Recommended Slideshare

While I strongly recommend the 20% improvement approach to increasing your marketing effectiveness, if you’re looking for inspiration to create a world-class marketing campaign, we put together the slide presentation below showing “The Greatest Marketing Campaigns of All Time.”

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Insurance Business Plan Template

If you want to start a Insurance business or expand your current Insurance, you need a business plan.

The following Insurance business plan template gives you the key elements to include in a winning Insurance business plan.

Below are links to each of the key sections of your Insurance business plan:

I. Executive Summary

II. Company Overview

III. Industry Analysis

IV. Customer Analysis

V. Competitive Analysis

VI. Marketing Plan

VII. Operations Plan

VIII. Management Team

IX. Financial Plan

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Fast Food Business Plan Template

If you want to start a Fast Food business or expand your current Fast Food, you need a business plan.

The following Fast Food business plan template gives you the key elements to include in a winning Fast Food business plan.

You can download our Business Plan Template (including a full, customizable financial model) to your computer here.

Below are links to each of the key sections of your Fast Food business plan:

I. Executive Summary

II. Company Overview

III. Industry Analysis

IV. Customer Analysis

V. Competitive Analysis

VI. Marketing Plan

VII. Operations Plan

VIII. Management Team

IX. Financial Plan

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Venture-Capital-vs-Angel-Investors-Whichis-Right-for-You-HeaderWhen seeking equity funding for your business, the two primary options are angel investors and venture capitalists.

This article will teach you the difference between these two types of investors and help you determine which one is right for you.

 

Venture-Capital-vs-Angel-Investors-Whichis-Right-for-You-DifferencesThe Difference Between Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists

Angel investors are individuals who invest their own money in companies.

A venture capitalist, who typically works as part of a venture capital firm, invests the money of others hoping to get a handsome return.

The primary difference between angel investors and venture capitalists is that venture capitalists invest solely for return on investment (ROI). That is venture capitalists make investment decisions based on the ROI they expect or hope to receive from their investment.

While angel investors care about ROI too, they often have other motivations such as:

  • Knowing or liking the entrepreneur and wanting to see them succeed
  • Ego: feeling good about investing in specific firms and having others know they invested
  • Perks: as an equity holder, they are sometimes entitled to perks (e.g., if investing in a restaurant, they can go there and receive free meals and special attention)

 

Venture-Capital-vs-Angel-Investors-Whichis-Right-for-You-VC-CriteriaVenture Capital Criteria

There are several criteria venture capitalists (VCs) use when judging whether to invest in a company or not. These criteria will help you understand whether VCs or angel investors are most appropriate for you.

Venture-Capital-vs-Angel-Investors-Whichis-Right-for-You-TractionTraction

More and more VCs will only fund companies if they have revenues or, at least, beta customers or a prototype built. If you have not achieved any of these milestones, then angel investors are more appropriate.

 

Venture-Capital-vs-Angel-Investors-Whichis-Right-for-You-FundingFunding Requirements

Another key criterion is how much money you need to raise. If you need to raise less than $1 million, generally you should seek angel investors. Most venture capital firms don’t invest less than $1 million or $2 million dollars.

 

Venture-Capital-vs-Angel-Investors-Whichis-Right-for-You-SectorSector

Most VCs have very specific sectors in which they focus. For instance, some VCs focus exclusively on the Healthcare sector. Others only invest in software. Nearly all focus on the technology sector since such ventures have the highest chance of growing quickly and getting to a large exit (sale of company or IPO).

Conversely, most retail or services business grow more slowly, and although they may be great investment opportunities, they are more suitable for angel investors.

 

Venture-Capital-vs-Angel-Investors-Whichis-Right-for-You-InfographicGeography

Most venture capitalists only invest (or strongly prefer to invest) within a certain geographic range.

Most VC firms invest within 150 miles of their location. For angel investors, 70% of angel investments are made within 50 miles of the angel’s home or business location.

So, if you are located far away from VC firms, then angel investors are probably a better option.

 

Venture-Capital-vs-Angel-Investors-Whichis-Right-for-You-Angel-FirstA Common Scenario: Raising Angel Funding THEN Venture Capital Funding.

A very common scenario is for a company to start by raising angel funding and then VC funding later.

It generally works as follows. You raise your initial funding from the angel investors, which is usually a smaller amount, such as $50,000 to $500,000.

You use that funding to progress your business, to create a prototype, to get beta customers and/or to ideally generate revenues. Once you’ve achieved such milestones, you seek venture capital. In fact, you might raise multiple rounds of venture capital. You might start with a $3 million round of venture capital to get to the next level of success, and then you might raise a $10 million, or a $20 million, or even a $50 million round of venture capital later.

One of the most famous examples of pursuing this funding path is Google.

Google initially raised funding from friends and family, and from credit cards. It then received angel funding from Andy Bechtolsheim.

The funding from Bechtolsheim allowed Google to achieve milestones and grow. Google subsequently raised an initial amount of venture capital, then larger amounts of venture capital, and eventually Google went public.

Conclusion

While there are differences in funding deal terms (e.g., how much equity they take, whether they take a board seat, etc.) between angel investors and venture capitalists, the bigger and more important difference is which type is more relevant to fund your business in its current state.

Without funding your business can’t grow to its fullest, so make sure to go after the investor type that is best suited for you.

Venture Capital vs Angel Investors Infographic

Below is an infographic of this article for quick reference.

Venture-Capital-vs-Angel-Investors-Whichis-Right-for-You-Infographic

Recommended Slideshare

To further help you decide between venture capital and angel investors, we put together the slide presentation below to show you “The Key Differences Between Venture Capital & Angel Investment.”

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Boutique Business Plan Template

If you want to start a Boutique business or expand your current Boutique, you need a business plan.

The following Boutique business plan template gives you the key elements to include in a winning Boutique business plan.

Below are links to each of the key sections of your Boutique business plan:

I. Executive Summary

II. Company Overview

III. Industry Analysis

IV. Customer Analysis

V. Competitive Analysis

VI. Marketing Plan

VII. Operations Plan

VIII. Management Team

IX. Financial Plan

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WritingBusinessPlansforInvestorsHeader

The overarching question that you must answer when writing a business plan for investors is this: what’s “in it” for the investor?

To accomplish this, you need to put yourself in the investor’s shoes to think about what they care about.

What should be “in it” for them is the opportunity to invest in a business that has huge upside potential and low downside potential. With regards to low downside potential, I’m referring to a low risk of failure.

The specific 6 questions to answer in your business plan to accomplish these goals are below.

Business_Plans_for_Investors_How_Big_Is_Opportunity

Size of the Business Opportunity  

The first question is how big the business opportunity is, and is it growing?  To answer this, you need to provide information on the size of the market in which you’re competing and trends affecting the market.

Business_Plans_for_Investors_Financial_Implications

Financial Implications of Investing  

The next question that you must answer for an investor has to do with the financial implications.

Specifically:

  • How much money are you asking the investor for?
  • What are you going to do with that money?
  • What are the projected financial results? For example, what do you expect revenues will be in year one, in year three, in year five?  What are expected net income in year one, year three, year five? Etc.

Business_Plans_for_Investors_Exit_Strategy

Exit Strategy?

Your exit strategy is critical when writing a business plan for investors since the exit strategy dictates how the investor will ultimately receive payback for their investment and get their money out.

Consider this example. You start a company and you grow it to $5 billion in sales. If you keep that company private, then an equity investor may not have the ability to get their money out.

So the exit plan details how the investor will cash out or make money.  Usually, the exit plan is going public or more likely is selling your company.  There’s a much greater likelihood that a company is sold than that it will go public.  So if the prospect is you eventually selling your company, you need to answer questions in your business plan such as:

  • Who are the likely buyers of your company?
  • Why would they buy you? More specifically, why would they buy you versus possibly building a competing business or strengthening or growing their own business?

Business_Plans_for_Investors_Management_Team

Management Team

The next critical question to answer when writing your business plan for investors is who is on your management team and who will you add to your management team later?

This is key because most investors, or, at least, the smartest investors, are betting on the management team as much as they’re betting on the market opportunity.  You see, even if you have the greatest business idea in the world, if the management team can’t execute on it, then the business will fail.

One of the great examples of this is the story of PayPal. PayPal was formed by great entrepreneurs including Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, and Max Levchin. Clearly PayPal had a great management team. However, the original PayPal concept which was to allow one PDA (Personal Digital Assistant like a Palm Pilot) to pay another PDA failed. It just didn’t catch on.

But the management team was smart enough to recognize that they could use their technology to allow one person to pay another person or a company online and they basically launched a new service which is PayPal as we know it today. PayPal became a huge success that was sold to eBay for over $1 billion.

So that’s why you need to answer in your business plan this key question: what is it about your management team that makes you qualified to execute on the business opportunity. Importantly, if you’re currently missing people on your team, document the qualifications of people you plan to hire to fill such positions.

Business_Plans_for_Investors_Risk_Factors

Risk Factors  

Every business has risk factors, and the earlier on in your business, the more risk factors. For example, if you currently have an idea for a new product, risk factors include:

  • Whether or not you will be able to design the product
  • Whether you could cost effectively manufacture the product
  • Whether consumers/businesses want/will buy the product
  • Whether you can cost effectively market the product
  • Whether you could build a quality management team that can execute on the opportunity

The more risk factors that you’ve already overcome, the better. And importantly, be sure to document each of these accomplishments in your business plan.

Business_Plans_for_Investors_Barriers_To_Entry

Barriers to Entry

A final question to answer for investors is what are the barriers to entry. Specifically, once you start growing your company, what is there to prevent others individuals and companies from stealing your customers?

The more you can show barriers to entry, how once a customer comes to you they’re probably going to stay for a long time, the better job you’re going to do in convincing investors to fund you.

Remember: Answer What’s “In It” For the Investor? 

In summary, when writing a business plan for investors, be sure to answer the questions that help prove to the investor that your business that has huge upside potential and low downside potential.

The 6 key questions to answer, once again, are:

  1. How big is the business opportunity and is it growing?
  2. What are the financial implications of investing in your company?
  3. What is your exit strategy?
  4. Who’s on your management team?
  5. What risk factors have you already overcome?
  6. What are the barriers to entry?

Answer these questions well, and funding will be yours.

 

Writing Business Plans for Investors Infographic 

Below is an infographic of this article for quick reference.

Writing Business Plans for InvestorsInfographic

Recommended Slideshare 

Writing a great business plan is key to getting investors to fund you. So you understand other helpful tactics and strategies, we put together the slide presentation below to show you “Sure Fire Ways to Impress Investors.”

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Liquor Business Plan Template

If you want to start a Liquor business or expand your current Liquor, you need a business plan.

The following Liquor business plan template gives you the key elements to include in a winning Liquor business plan.

You can download our Business Plan Template (including a full, customizable financial model) to your computer here.

Below are links to each of the key sections of your Liquor business plan:

I. Executive Summary

II. Company Overview

III. Industry Analysis

IV. Customer Analysis

V. Competitive Analysis

VI. Marketing Plan

VII. Operations Plan

VIII. Management Team

IX. Financial Plan