SAMPLE BUSINESS PLAN
SMITH E-COMMERCE CONSULTING
September 18, 2000
|SECTION 1: THE BUSINESS PROFILE|
Description of my Business
I plan to provide a
complete service for the design, installation and maintenance of
e-commerce marketing functions for my retail clients. I intend to
evaluate the success of each installation and follow up to make changes
to improve the effectiveness of the each site.
Targeted Market and Customers
My customers will
be small businesses that can enhance their present sales by utilization
of e-commerce. Typical clients will require sites for the dual purpose
of providing 24-hour information to customers as well as providing a
purchasing venue. Potential clients are businesses in which e-commerce
can provide additional incremental sales. The businesses will range
widely: from restaurants to neighborhood drug stores.
Growth Trends in this Business
The market for
my services is growing at an unprecedented rate. According to Mary
Meeker of Morgan Stanley, there are now 250 million Internet users
Can you document from trade sources the anticipated rate of
growth of your industry? If industry sources are not available, you
will need to give a logical explanation as to the trend and potential
of your intended market. This segment will provide you and your backers
with information as to whether your market is growing or shrinking.
Initially, my pricing power will
be limited by what other consults charge for their time. However, I
expect my business to be built by favorable word-of-mouth and my
services to command a somewhat higher schedule of rates than average. I
therefore expect that my reputation will gain me a degree of pricing
power. Another factor is that if my type of services are rendered
ineffectively it can be very costly and of no value to a client. On the
other hand if done well (by myself) the services can be affordable and
immensely valuable. By gaining this reputation I expect to be well paid
for my work.
|SECTION 2: THE VISION AND THE PEOPLE|
| Through my work experience and my former moonlight business, I
possess unique skills to provide specialized E-Commerce services. Also,
I have had a long-term desire to be in business full time for myself
and to utilize this knowledge. I have worked with many hardware and
software vendors and website designers. Utilizing the resources of
these associates, I can demonstrate competency in all aspects of
successful e-commerce implementation. I am passionately committed to my
new business and have the realism to make inevitable hard choices.
Work Experience Related to my intended Business
My work experience has been as follows:
1995 - 1998: Position__________ at ________Co. Describe your work
responsibilities in detail: ______________________________________
1998 - 2000 Position __________at ________Co. Describe your
work responsibilities in detail: ______________________________________
My work expeience with _____company mentioned
above included responsibility for web-site design, implementation and
maintenance. I have included a list of work references and character
references in Exhibit A, attached.
I belong to the following professional organizations: National Association of E-Commerce Designers
My consulting service will require specialized knowledge in all aspects
of implementing E-commerce sites for small businesses. I have been
moonlighting in this activity for 2 years and have successfully
executed contracts with 5 small businesses. (See Exhibit __ including
references, attached). I feel that this background qualifies me to
undertake this business on a full time basis.
Personal Background and Education Credentials
My education includes: _________Grade school, graduation from __________high school (class of ____ ).
My higher education includes a _____degree earned in ______ at__________ university, _______ year.
In ________school I participated in the following activities (student
council, student body officer, sorority/fraternity, clubs, etc.) I have
also taken the following courses and seminars: My Own Business, Inc.
Internet Course, _________________, ec. _________________,
My hobbies are: _________________________________________________
My ongoing education includes subscriptions to the following
professional journals: Wall Street Journal, Computer World, etc.
|SECTION 3: COMMUNICATIONS|
Computer and Communications Tools
I plan to
take advantage of all the computer and communications tools presently
available to establish myself on the same level playing field as my
large competitors. Following are the tentative specifications and
budget for this equipment.
Enter a description of all communications equipment.
Enter a budget for all communications equipment.
Enter a description of all telephone equipment.
Enter a budget for all telephone equipment.
Enter a description of pagers.
Enter a budget for all pagers.
Enter a description of all fax equipment.
Enter a budget for all fax equipment.
Enter a description of all computer equipment.
Enter a budget for all computer equipment.
Enter a description of necessary Internet providers.
Enter a budget for Internet access.
|SECTION 4: ORGANIZATION AND INSURANCE|
I plan to operate as a
sole proprietorship. Because of the personal liability associated with
this form of organization I realize that insurance coverages will be
very important and I intend to be adquately insured and represented by
an expert insurance agent. In the future, as my consulting business
grows, I will discuss with my lawyer if and when it would be
advantageous to switch to a subchapter S corporation.
I feel it is important
that my team of professional advisors be in place before I start in
business. Here is a list of these professionals:
Attorney: Daisy Deposition.
Accountant: Sam Shelter
Insurance Agent: Tom Tornado
Banker: Bruce Bucks
Smith Consulting Services will require
the following licenses. I will need to research the requirements for my
own location and circumstances. I will be checking with:
- City Hall: This could include the business license department, planning department, building deparment, etc.
- Sam Shelter, my accountant, will give me advice on federal, state and local reporting and licensing requirements.
- My lawyer, Daisy Deposition, will provide me with a checklist.
I plan to use the sevices of Tom Tornado, my insurance agent. My insurance policies and limits of coverage are as follows:
Mr. Tornado will provide me with a tabulation of all insurance policies and limits of liability.
|SECTION 5: PREMISES|
I intend to start operating
out of my home office for a period of about 6 months. I then plan to
establish my business in a retail location that will give me prominent
visibility in my community. My intention is to locate in an anchored
neighborhood shopping center that has a large retail anchor store.
I will use the following criteria in establishing my retail location:
- See attached "Basic Provisions for Commercial Lease" which I will use as my guideline.
- See attached "Lease Check-off List".
- My attorney will review my lease.
will ask the landlord to provide my neacssry tenant improvements
including wall partitions, etc., per the attached "Exhibit C".
- Demographic study if needed (attach).
- Signs and visibility.
- I will be using a "Site Criteria Table" to evaluate locations under review. See attached format.
- I anticipate my occupancy cost as a percentage of sales not to exceed ____ %.
- Zoning and use approvals
|SECTION 6: ACCOUNTING AND CASH FLOW|
My knowledge of accounting is fair.
My accounting training has included ____________ (describe), but I plan
to take a brush-up course at __________.
The accountant I plan to work with is Sam Shelter.
Accounting and payroll software programs: I will be using the following systems: _____________________.
Method of accounting: I will use the Cash Basis method of accounting. I
do not plan to be maintaining any inventories and this method will be
simpler to understand and account for.
Business records: I will keep my company accounts and records separate from my personal records.
Tax issues: My accountant will help me set up records for payments of
social security tax, estimated income tax payments, payroll taxes and
state withholding and sales taxes. My federal employer identification
number (FEIN) is: ___________________. My state identification number
Internal controls: My accountant will help me set
appropriate controls for handling funds in my business. Purchasing,
capital acquisitions and signing of checks will not be delegated.
Quarterly returns: Taxes will be paid in the appropriate
time frames. My accountant will help me set up resale permit records
for reporting to my state franchise tax board.
Bank account reconciliation: Bank accounts will be reconciled on a monthly basis.
Balance sheet: Attached is a separate exhibit of my starting balance
sheet. Included is a schedule of equipment and fixtures needed that
will appear on my balance sheet.
Income statements: Attached is my projected income statements for the first six months and one year
Cash Flow Planning
Attached is an exhibit of my
one-year cash flow analysis including estimated sales, all costs and
capital investments. I have included a check of all expense items for
input into my cash flow projection.
Analysis of Costs
I intend to bill my services
at a cost of ____ per hour and to mark up equipment ordered on behalf
of clients ____%. A cost-breakdown form will be used to estimate every
contract. Each prospective client will be furnished a written contract
outlining all costs including a not-to-exceed maximum, based on my
cost-breakdown analysis. My terms of payment for my services will be:
_____. Extras will be approved in writing before commencing work.
Maintenance contracts will be handled on a cost per hour basis.
My accountant is experienced
in my type of service business and will set up systems to handle
receipts, accounts payable and accounts receivable. I will be the only
person authorized to sign purchsse orders, make capital acquisitions
and sign checks. I do not plan to carry any inventory of equipment for
|SECTION 7: FINANCING|
My requirements for start-up capital are as follows:
Attached is a list of expenses for which I will require either start-up
capital or financing. These items include buying supplies, office
fixtures and start-up overhead expnses. These expensesare included in
my monthly cash flow projection to indicate the ongoing requirements
for cash. and start-up overhead expenses. These expenses are included
in my monthly cash flow projection to indicate the ongoing requirements
My sources of cash for starting my business are as follows.
I have provided a spreadsheet showing all of the sources of my start-up
My sources of financing for starting my business is
indicated in the following spreadsheet. While I will not be depending
on banks for financing, there will be other resources available to me
such as leasing of office furniture and computer equipment when needed
for upgrading. My referrals to financing resources include the
following helpful contacts: my accountant, my father-in law, etc. etc.
I am prepared to make presentations to potential lenders. My
presentation kit includes this business plan, my personal financial
statement and personal tax returns. I will be prepared to be specific
in my needs for financing, the payback program and my sources of
repayment. I will furnish potential lenders with a cash flow projection
showing these sources of repayments and I will be conservative in my
|SECTION 8: E-COMMERCE|
As a consultant in this field
I plan to develop an Internet site that will function as a billboard to
display my work. My site will be devoted to primarily advertising and
as a channel for feedback from my clients.
I have the equipment and
know-how to design, implement and maintain my website. I presently own
all necessary euipment with no debt and I plan to lease upgrades as
needed in the future.
In my consulting
practice, my website will be a tool to define my highly specialized
focus on service to small businesses. Non of my competitors currently
|SECTION 9: ACQUISITIONS|
Due Diligence Procedures for Acquisitions
have opportunities to acquire E-Commerce consulting businesses in the
future. In order to position myself to investigate acquisitions
intelligently, the following "Due Diligence" process will be adhered
I will use a team of experts to give specific advice on the various components of the acquisition:
- Equipment supplier
- Other business owners
- The following information will be required:
- Sellers records and verification of revenues
- Current financial statements
- Cash deposit records
- Supplier bills
- Financial comparisons of similar businesses
- Other ______________
Valuation analysis will include:
- Basis for valuation
- Method of purchase; stock, assets, etc.
- If a franachise, interview with randomly selected franchisees
- Evaluation of predictable future earnings
- Status of seller's motivation to sell
- Sources of acquisition financing
- Inspection of seller's personal and business tax returns
- Evaluation of leases and contracts
- Quality of improvements
- Quality and size of inventory. Obsolete merchandise?
- Condition of receivables
- Status of payables
- Status of verified order backlog
- Evaluation of customer relationships and goodwill
- Evaluate government approvals and licenses
- Status of pending litigation
- Other ____________
|SECTION 10: MARKETING|
I plan to develop a list of
leads from the installations I made as a moonlight operator. My sales
kit will include letters of recommendations from these former customers
and descriptive information on their sites. I plan to create a
PowerPoint presentation, which will incorporate visitation to
e-commerce sites I have created for prior clients.
In addition to these referral prospects and local newspaper
advertising, I plan to conduct a highly target mailing campaign with
telephone follow-through with local businesses that are prime targets
for e-commerce marketing.
Advertising and Promotion Plans
advertising budget will be $1,000 per month for local print media,
mainly in the following local newspaper ______________. I will be using
________________ advertising agency (local and small) to create and
place my advertising and to create my logo, stationery, and basic
brochure. Estimated cost including creation and initial print run of
brochure and business forms: $5,000. Future direction for advertising
and promotion will be directed by the growth rate of my business.
Overall, I plan to budget ____% of my sales for advertising and
I also plan to join my local Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce as a means of networking with local business leaders.
Purchasing and Inventory Control
In my service
business, merchandise and management of inventories will not play a
large role. However, I will be acting as an advisor for equipment that
is ordered for my client's installations. Equipment will normally be
shipped direct from the supplier to the client and billed to the client
by the vendor. I will however be writing the specifications on
equipment purchases and the following purchasing policies will be
Purchase Orders will include:
- Price and terms
- Price protection
- Always in writing
- Complete specifications
- Delivery deadlines
- All promises will be verified in writing
- Appropriate contingencies will be included in purchase orders
- Any changes or extras must have prior approval in writing
- Internal controls will be in place for shipping and receiving
For the next one to two years
I will personally handle marketing. But I will not be able to grow with
only myself in a sales capacity. So as my business matures I will hire
marketing consultants to expand sales activity. Widget Corporation, my
first consulting job under my new company, has shared their intended
policy for marketing personnel and I plan to follow their overall
guidelines. (See above).
However, the incentive compensation plan for my business
will not be on a commission basis but will be depend on the overall
profitability of each assignment. I want my consultants to be motivated
by incentive compensation which is focused on their individual
achievements, rather than on overall company performance.
My principal competitors are
Bigtime Consultants LLP, Local Moonlighting Company, and individuals
(list them). Give a brief sketch of each of them including who they
sell to and their strengths.
How I Plan to Take Advantage of Competitors Weak Points
My established competitors are either too big (and expensive) or too
small (and under-qualified) to successfully handle the small emerging
retailers whom I plan to target. My unique advantage is my experience
in all phases of the components required to install successful e
-commerce operations. If any one of these components is lacking,
customers can waste large amounts of money and even peril their overall
businesses. Example: Small competitor A installed a system at _________
which turned out to be of zero value but cost the firm $______, nearly
bankrupting them. So my focused experience and successful projects will
be my key to building a niche and reputation.
|SECTION 11: GROWTH PROGRAM|
Once my business has been established
I plan to implement the following growth strategy. I anticipate it will
take approximately _____(months or years) to gain sufficient experience
and level of profits before any expansion plans are implemented. (If
you have some idea of how you plan to grow the business, explain your
overall vision for your company's future.)
My growth strategy will be guided by the following:
I will not set an inflexible timetable for expansion but will be wait
until a sound basis of experience, earnings and cash flow is achieved.
(If you intend to expand as a chain of stores or units, here's where
you should take a stand to say that your initial pilot operation will
be on a sound earnings basis before you begin to add more units.)
Accounting and cash flow controls will be in place with
profit and loss statements prepared for individual expansion units on a
____(monthly, etc) basis.
Internal controls for both accounting, money handling and inventory will be in place.
My attorney will review all documentation. This will include leases,
employment and incentive agreements, licensing agreements, and
Hiring and training policies will be in place. Fringe
benefit plans will be in place. I will delegate authority and
responsibility with the following guidelines:
- Managers will be motivated by a profit incentive
plan which will be tied to individual success. My plan will be in
writing, simply stated and call for frequent periods of accountability.
A sample of my manager's incentive compensation plan is attached.
- Capital allocations and signing checks will not be delegated.
I intend to maintain an ongoing study of my competitors. Their
successes and failures will help me form guidelines on what to do and
not to do.
Handling Major Problems
My policy in handling
problems will be to identify and acknowledge problems promptly and
honestly. I plan to put the following policies into effect promptly if
and when the following adverse scenarios emerge during my growth
The risk of running out of cash: I plan to maintain very
frequent (_______monthly?) cash flow projections. Forecasts for income,
expenses and unanticipated contingencies will be stated conservatively.
Any periods of cash deficits will be remedied promptly by cutting costs
to maintain a positive cash flow and profitability.
A drop in sales or insufficient sales:
- I will be prepared to take prompt remedial steps by cutting costs.
- I will improve every aspect of product value, performance and image
- I will seek out new ways to expand sales by _________________.
- I plan to stick with this specialized business that I know best.
Dishonesty, theft, shrinkage: I intend to implement the same policies
that have been proven by ___________ company, one of my biggest
Business recessions: I am prepared to promptly cut costs to
maintain liquidity. I will also be on the lookout for good business
opportunities during periods of adversity.