The essential tool for any business is the business plan. Many publicans make the mistake of writing theirs and then filing it; for the best chance of success a business plan should be an on-going document that will adapt to develop your business and bring you the best return on your investment.
A good business plan will contain all these key sections:
- A clear view of what you want your business to achieve – whether it’s to earn a set amount, be the best pub in your area for food or real ale or provide the best sports or entertainment – every pub is as individual as its publican and its customers. Some call this the “vision” or “mission” statement but whatever you call it, a good business plan will be able to communicate in plain language what your business is all about to your staff, your partners (if you have them), your bank manager and (where you have one) your landlord.
- An understanding of what impact certain factors might have on your business – whether it’s changes in the law, your local marketplace or most importantly you. It will take account of these matters and contain effective measures to ensure that they don’t threaten your business.
- Clear (and achievable) targets and objectives for you and your business and a way to monitor how your business is performing, be it above or below those targets. The plan should also contain your strategy to either increase performance or if all else fails your “exit” strategy.
- The plan will set where you want to be in the future – whether it’s a financial goal, running a group of pubs or retiring – and it should contain a clear plan for getting there.
- It will tell you (and everyone else who needs to know) what your market is, what your targets / objectives are, your customer base, SWOT/PEST analyses, your operational requirements, financial requirements and forecasts.
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