Create a Food Business Plan in One Day

Writing a food business plan is crucial for the success of your business. It’s the roadmap that determines how you will make decisions, and it provides the essential information about what your business is. Your business plan will be read by investors, banks, and advisors. It should be well-researched and thorough. But it doesn’t have to be painful, or take weeks. For those who have only have one day to devote to your business plan, we have a handy guide!

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What a Food Business Plan Contains

An outline of essential sections of a business plan can be overwhelming. But remember that some of them are very simple! And most of the information already lives in your head. Here’s what the experts at SBA generally recommend:

  • Executive Summary: The elevator pitch for your company. Write this last, and distill the rest of the document into a few sentences: what you do, why, and how.
  • Company Description: This is what might be on your company’s About page, as Entrepreneur notes. What do you do, who is your audience, and how do you do it better than other companies?
  • Market Analysis: Likely the most time-intensive of the sections. This is based on research you’ve already done about your customer and the market for your product. Pay particular attention to market size. For example, if your product targets vegans, calculate how many vegans are in the U.S. and how much of the market you have the potential to capture.
  • Organization and Management: Who owns the company, how is it incorporated, and who works for it? For a food business, this part may be easy: just you!
  • Product: One of the most important sections in a food business plan. What do you make? How do you make it? How do you source it? Spare no detail – it all matters, even if it will change. Details around your operations can also go in this section.
  • Marketing and Sales: Outline how customers will find out about and purchase your product. It’s crucial to differentiate from competitors in this section, as so many products market and sell through the same channels. How can you do it better than your competitors?
  • Financials: Detail is crucial here. Describe your financial projections. Share your numbers: what’s in the bank, assets, loans, and anything that would be important to someone investing in your company. How soon can you be profitable? What do you need to get there?

Considering Your Audience

Who is the business plan for? Are you hoping to use it to lure investors or bankers? Advisors or mentors? Ensure that your audience will find the information they’re most interested in. And if you’re creating the plan for a specific kind of reader, spend more time on those questions and less on the others (for now). It could be useful to create a “master food business plan,” containing all the information you need, but that can be easily pared down for different readers.

The Lean Food Business Plan

Don’t be overwhelmed. And remember that the business plan is ultimately for you, so work you put into it will pay off in the future. If you’ve only got one day to put this all together, tackle the longer and detail-oriented parts first: financials, market analysis, and product.

Next, put together bullet points for the other sections. Some will be simple and only require a paragraph or two. Knowing that you’re a small business and your plan will evolve, spend more time on the absolute musts than the variables. Remember that the most important part – the “why” – should guide the decision making, so spend the most mental energy there.

The food business plan is a living document, so don’t stress over producing a perfect document. Update your plan as your business evolves and you explore new marketing channels, SKUs, and more. Once you’ve created a document that lays the foundation for your business, you can make decisions with confidence.

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