the key people in the business such as
the owner, the shop foreman, designer
and sales staff. Even if those are all the
same person right now, explain how
that one person has the skills to do
that or strategies for sharing that work.
This part might start you to thinking
about hiring issues and finding qualified help. I know it did for me.
Give an overview of the industry as
it relates to your business. Do some research. If you are a kitchen cabinet shop,
find out how many cabinets are sold,
what is the scope of the entire market
and what part of that is your target. Are
you selling into new homes? What’s the
new home market in your region? What’s
your competition? Government and
trade websites are a valuable resource
for this. Check out the annual Almanac
issue of FDMC.Seriously researching
these kinds of things will start to raise
questions and ideas for how you want to
sustain your business.
Talk about your facilities, including your square footage, the kinds of
machines you use or intend to use. Is
your shop owned or leased? Does it
have issues that restrict your growth
(size, power) or offer opportunities for
expansion? What would make it ideal?
Describe any agreements or arrangements that affect the business.
Is it a partnership or a corporation?
Who are the principals? Does the
business owe anybody for anything?
Do you have agreements or contracts
with specific designers, contractors or
distributors that relate to the business?
Any patents or intellectual property
issues that affect your business?
Finally, end this section with a
detailed discussion of the markets and
opportunities for the business. What is
your current market and product mix?
Do you intend to expand that and
how? What is the maximum potential
for the business? The venture capital-
ists sometimes call that the “blue sky.”
Go ahead and dream a little here.
Technology and specialization
This might seem a bit redundant, but
in the 21st century, it is important
to highlight technology separately,
especially if you are seeking financing
or investment. Woodworking is stereotyped as low-tech and antiquated.
Show them it is not. This is the place
to talk about your level of automation,
software, specialized joinery you use,
or how you capitalize on the latest
technology to set your business apart.
Management and organization
This is the who’s who of your business.
Provide biographies for each of the key
personnel and list their backgrounds
and skills. People, particularly bankers, invest in people. This gives them
the confidence that you know what you
are doing. It also might raise questions
in your own mind about holes in your
organization and how to fill them.
You could include an organizational
chart showing who reports to whom.
This can also be a thought-provoking
exercise that might help make your
business more efficient.
PATH TO PROFESSIONALISM
Sample business plan outline
Cover page - Name of company and date.
Table of contents - All sections and subsections for easy reference
Executive summary - No more than one page summarizing plan
About the business
Background and history
Industry overview - Cover both nationally and regionally.
Facitlities - square footage, power available, etc.
Agreements/Arangements - any contracts or deals you rely on
Markets and opportunities - Where do you sell or want to?
Technology/Specialization - Show woodworking is not just low-tech.
Management and organization
Capitalization - current investment and stock arrangements
Marketing - How do you promote your product?
Improvements - What will it take to move forward?
Product development - What about new products?
Requirements/Use of proceeds - How much you need, for what?