A carefully thought out business plan will help guide your shop toward success – here are some tips for writing one!
Whether you are in the beginning stages of exploring opening your own screen printing shop or you are a seasoned screen printer whose business has been operating for years, you need a well-crafted business plan. Business plans might seem like overly formal documents, but a well-crafted business plan is endlessly useful in creating a successful screen printing business.
For someone just starting out in the screen printing industry, a business plan can help you gauge the feasibility of your business concept and help you to hone in on the specifics of your business. The process of making your business plan will help you identify your market, get a feel for your ideal customer and create a niche for your business. As you progress toward opening your business, your business plan will help you set the goals you will work toward to get your screen printing started and growing. For a seasoned screen printing business, a good business plan can help you to overcome challenges or chart a new path for growth. Taking the time to create a business plan can help you to identify what your business is doing well and what its challenges are. For screen printing businesses at any level, it’s likely that you will need a well-crafted business plan to help you secure financing to equip your new business or procure new screen printing equipment.
Essential Elements to Your Business Plan
If you don’t have a business background, or if you’ve never written a business plan, the thought of sitting down and drafting such a formal document can be intimidating. It doesn’t have to be. Crafting a business plan is really about making time to work on a plan and working your way through each section of the plan. Most business plans are between 15 and 20 pages, though some businesses operate off of mini plans that are 5 to 10 pages. Regardless of length and detail, your business plan should include the following:
▪ An executive summary. Your executive summary will be the first section of your business plan, but it’s best to draft it last, because it will sum up the rest of your business plan. Your executive summary should be one page — and ONLY one page — that includes information on the most important aspects of your business, including your business name, its planned location, the products and services you’ll offer, your vision and mission, and a statement on why you have written the business plan.
▪ A detailed company description. In this section, you will go into more depth about your business. It should have a history of your business; its legal structure; an explanation of the market need you will be meeting and how you will meet that market need; information on your products and services; suppliers and target customers; a summary of past business growth and your short- and long-term business goals.
▪ A thorough explanation of your products and services. In this section, you will describe which products or services you’re selling, focusing on how those products and services will meet your customers’ needs. This section should include information on product costs, product development, the product lifecycle and the advantage of your products over your competitors’. You should include charts and/or diagrams on the net profits you expect to earn from your products.
▪ Market analysis. A business can’t succeed if there isn’t a market for its products and services. Your plan should include a thorough market analysis, including demographics, industry statistics and a detailed analysis of your competitors within your market.
▪ Strategy. Not surprisingly, your business plan needs to include your operating strategy for your business. That includes costs and pricing for your products, the amount of employees you will need, information on your management team and any advisors, your hours of operation and your marketing plan.
▪ Financial plan. This is probably the most technical aspect of your business plan, and if you are drafting a plan for an existing business, you might consider employing the help of an accountant in drafting this section. For existing businesses, you will need to include your historical financial data, such as income statements, cash-flow statements and balance sheets dating back several years. All business plans should include forecasting profits, cash-flow and balance sheets for at least five years, along with any capital expenses you will have.
The most important part of a business plan is to have one! Without a business plan, you lack direction for your business. Just the act of crafting your plan will cause you to contemplate the intricacies of your business, your goals for your business and how you will reach those goals. Once your plan is crafted, you should make a habit of revisiting it regularly. Your business plan should adapt and grow with your business. That’s why an updated, well-crafted business plan will help with the success of any screen printing business, whether that business is months away from opening or has operated for decades.
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