On Wednesday, November 30, the FEW Women’s Start-Up Club welcomed entrepreneur Joanne Wilkinson to share her insights on business plans and why every startup should have one. Here are the key takeaways on the advantages of having a business plan and how to create one that will help your business.
What is a Business Plan?
A business plan is a decision making tool that will help you define what you want to do and what your return on investment will be. A strong business plan can help to make a business credible, understandable, and attractive to someone who is unfamiliar with the business. Writing a good business plan can’t guarantee success, but it can go a long way toward reducing the odds of failure.
Business plans can come in many different forms, ranging from long formal documents to a one-pager. It all depends on your needs.
The elevator pitch is a short summary of the business plan’s executive summary and it is often used as a teaser to spark the interest of potential investors, customers, and/or strategic partners.
Why Do You Need a Business Plan?
A business plan will help you understand how your business is put together. You can use it to monitor progress, hold yourself accountable and control the fate of your business. In order to expand, you need a business plan.
It also is a sales and recruiting tool for choosing key employees or future investors. Writing out your business plan forces you to review everything at once: your value proposition, marketing assumptions, operations plan, financial plan and staffing plan. You will end up spotting connections you otherwise would have missed.
7 Points to Include in a Business Plan
- Product/Service Simplicity
- What does your business do – product or service? Keep it simple to be effective.
- Think about Product differentiation: The HOW and/or WHAT makes your product/service different: Example: delivery – price – return policy.
- Price differentiation: Be careful as this has a potentially long-term impact on your business and the industry.
- Target Market
- Who is your target market? Are there any geographical constraints?
- Who are your competitors?
- How much share will you take from your competitors?
- What are your competitors charging for product/services (gives you a starting pricing point for entering the market)
- Sales Channels
- a) Online: Either own store or marketplace
- b) Retail: Own shop or larger retailer
- c) Whole sale/distribution (recommended for Franchises only)
- d) Direct: The key to direct sales channel is to know your market segmentation so you can direct your efforts accordingly.
- CapEx (Capital Expenses): Includes all fixed assets, usually large scale investments, such as machinery, large equipment, software development etc.
- OpEx (Operational Expenses): Includes anything related to running your business, such as printers, PCs, stationary, office rent, staff, etc.
- CoGs (Cost of Goods): This includes anything related to making your product (inventory) or providing your service, including shipping, raw materials, duty. This increases as you produce more. CoGs needs to be including in the pricing of your product/service, and the product price should be at least double of CoGs.
- Branding/Advertising (MarCom: Marketing Communication)
- a) Print media
- b) Online: social media (groups), banners, etc.
- c) Flyers/junk mail/direct e-mail
- d) Billboard space/posters (local only)
- e) Blogs/testimonials
- f) Websites: link to social media for greatest exposure and control your own content
- a) Bank loans (cheap in Japan)
- b) Crowd-funding
Typical Questions Addressed by a Business Plan for a Startup Venture
- What problem does the company’s product or service solve? What niche will it fill?
- What is the company’s solution to the problem?
- Who are the company’s customers, and how will the company market and sell its products to them?
- What is the size of the market for this solution?
- What is the company’s business model (how will it make money)?
- Who are the competitors and how will the company maintain a competitive advantage?
- How does the company plan to manage its operations as it grows?
- Who will run the company and what makes them qualified to do so?
- What are the risks and threats confronting the business, and what can be done to mitigate them?
- What are the company’s capital and resource requirements?
- What are the company’s historical and projected financial statements?
In a quest to continuously improve the meetings, we welcome any feedback you have. Feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
2-hour meetings fly by quickly. If you’d like to have more in-depth insight into any given topic around starting your own business, let us know and we will see what we can organize.
March 2017 Women’s Start-up Club Recap: The Art of Pricing and Negotiation
On March 29, 2017, the FEW Women’s Start-Up Club covered two crucial topics to successfully grow your business: Pricing and Negotiation. Vanessa Oshima, General Manager, Women’s Category, at Nike Japan, first led an engaging discussion on identifying and developing strategies for successful price setting. Tanja Bach, FEW Women’s Start-Up Club Committee Member, then continued the discussion with insights on successful negotiation […]Published on 4th April 2017
History of FEW Series: Top Highlights from Past CSS Events
By Raena Murakami, Public Relations and Communications Co-Director One of FEW’s flagship events is the biennial FEW Career Strategies Seminar (CSS), a full-day professional development event led by experienced, successful female business leaders and mentors. The event consists of workshops and skill-building sessions to equip participants with the tools necessary to enhance their lives and […]Published on 3rd April 2017
Q&A with Travel Industry Experts Chiara Terzuolo and Rie Miyoshi
Leading up to our upcoming monthly meeting on ‘Unveiling Japan: New Themes in Travel & Tourism,’ we’re featuring a Q&A with speakers Chiara Terzuolo of Veltra and Rie Miyoshi of Outdoor Japan. The Q&A is modeled on the Proust Questionnaire, designed to reveal insights into the respondent’s personality. Here, Chiara reflects on valuing those who […]Published on 1st April 2017
The Way of Tea Recap – An Introduction to Japanese Tea Ceremonies with Ruth (Sōshin) Lionberger
By Tanja Kinnen, FEW Special Events Director The Way of Tea and the chance to gain deeper insights into this mysterious Japanese tradition brought 15 curious women to attend our special event on a sunny Monday afternoon. The national holiday seemed like the perfect opportunity to get to know more about the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Ruth (Sōshin) […]Published on 1st April 2017
How I Got Here: Tanja Bach
Ever been asked “What do you do?” My answer: “I empower people to become the best version of themselves.” As a coach and facilitator, I am lucky to do what I love by enabling leaders, teams, entrepreneurs and anyone with a dream to realize their potential and be the best version of themselves. I like […]Published on 1st April 2017
Inspiration and Creativity
Each of us has a creative side just waiting to be awoken! Join us as we hear how a panel of creativity-focused women took the leap to turn their creative passions into their life's work.
Mirai No Mori Fundraiser at Toriizaka Art Gallery
Join us for this special fundraiser for our Community Strategic Partner Mirai no Mori at Toriizaka Art Gallery. Hear from the gallery founder, Karen Thomas, and enjoy a tour of the gallery over wine, cheese and delicious food. All proceeds to Mirai no Mori Back to Nature Program.
Midweek Lunch Mixer at Le Petit Marché Roppongi
Take a break from work and join us for delicious food and great networking on our monthly midweek lunch gathering at Le Petit Marché in Roppongi.