Writing a business plan can be overwhelming. Here we compile a list of resources all in one place that will make the process more manageable. With these steps and resources, and my strong recommendation to break the job up into small chunks (one section or sub-section per sitting), you will be relieved that the process isn’t so bad. You’ll get through it and end up with a document you take pride in, and want to continually improve.
The Small Business Administration is an excellent resource for business owners on a tight budget. And they offer a basic format for writing a business plan. But sometimes these generic plans don’t seem to fit a specific business, and don’t provide enough guidance. Wouldn’t it be easier to follow business plan examples of the same type of business as yours? We’ve compiled a list of example plans and templates for professionals in the dance and fitness industries.
But first, I’d like to review each section every business plan should have, and some notes on the crucial elements for that section.
How to Layout a Business Plan
- While the financial details come later, your Executive Summary should mention your current revenue status and the specific goal(s) for revenue that you have. Goals should be specific and measurable, and realistic to achieve over a named timeframe. Also be sure your executive summary touches on the main “differentiator” for your business. A differentiator can be something obvious, like you are only gym that does x, and you have evidence people want x. But don’t overthink it if it isn’t obvious. Maybe you are simply a good studio in a place where the market isn’t yet saturated for your kind of studio. Also, here is a guide to creating a Mission Statement.
- Go into more detail in your Company Description. This section should focus on how what you offer meets the needs of the marketplace you are in. Show you’ve done your research, with facts and data that support this.
- The Market Analysis will be where you place all your detailed research on the geographic and demographic audience you are targeting, and the competition in that area. The SBA’s guide to this section is excellent.
- The good news is that the Organization and Management section will be very straightforward for most local fitness and dance businesses. The important thing is to detail who does what in your business, and provide evidence they will be great at it.
- The Service or Product Line section is where you get to talk about your favorite thing: your offering. Tell why it is great, but be very careful to do that from the customer’s perspective, not yours. To make sure you get this right, try interviewing some customers that can speak to why they choose your gym or studio over the others.
- Don’t skip the Marketing/Sales section! You must have a realistic and concrete grasp of how you will continually get new customers. This should also include a customer-retention plan.
- The Funding Request part of the plan is only necessary if you are seeking funding. And behold, this is a whole additional area of expertise, so be ready to immerse yourself in the world of funding. Get yourself out there talking to other business owners seeking, and who have gotten, funding… and get exposure to investors. You don’t need to have an idea no one has ever thought of to get funding, but you do need a strong business plan and an understanding of the process. You should be able to find free seminars online and in your area on how to go about getting funding. Also understand that a Powerpoint presentation will be necessary, in addition to a business plan.
- The Financial Projections section must include the history of your business’ finances, if your business has history, the current status, and the future. The future portion should be well thought out and illustrated projections for revenue and costs. In this section, you must detail the immediate way that you will bring in revenue, and show the intermediate financial steps/milestones that get you to profitable (or more profitable, if that is the stage you are in). Also find relief in Inc. magazine’s great article that outlines what this section should be. We previously created an article that on how to calculate labor costs in studio-type businesses that hire instructors.
- The Appendix is for any extra supporting documents. Only include it when and if it is necessary. You might create a file with, and one without, the Appendix. Or you might have it as a separate document you only attach when required.
Dance and Fitness Facility Business Plans
Melanie De Caprio is founder and CEO of New Sky Strategies, and spends her days advising businesses on how to use marketing to to increase revenue.