For a startup restaurant, writing a business plan is the absolute most important step that can be taken, and yet I meet so many new business owners who neglect to do so because it is neither glamorous or exciting.
For those of you who’ve been patiently waiting for me to get to this step in my series on owning a restaurant, I’m very sorry that it’s taken so long.
Before I jump into everything, I want you to know that this step is going to be broken down into multiple parts.
First, I’ll go over why a business plan is important. Then I’ll get into the “what(s)” of your business plan, with a focus on things the Small Business Association or other lenders will be looking for. Last, I’ll break it down into the categories that I found were most helpful and pertinent when I wrote my business plans.
There may be some aspects of this part of my series that you have questions on, or need more details, so I want to give you my contact information up front. Find me here on LinkedIn or you can contact me here on Serviceable.
Why Is A Business Plan Important?
As I’ve told you in the past, owning your own restaurant is a huge life event: you’ll invest money, and you’ll invest time.
So much time that you’ll probably spend more of your day at your restaurant than at your actual home. You’ll spend more time with your employees or co-workers than you will with your real family.
Given that information, don’t you think it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into, what your future holds, how you’ll handle potential problems, and how you plan on achieving your business goals?
And going back to the money you’ll be investing, you owe it to yourself to make sure that your business doesn’t fail shortly after opening up. Remember, whatever debts you take on while the business is open will still be your responsibility if the business is gone.
It Puts Your Thoughts On Paper.
I’m a daydreamer. I’m one of those people who spent hours imagining what life was going to be like when I was successful. Fellow members of my restaurant worker fraternity and I would sit at our bar after a long shift and talk about how things were going to be when we each owned our own restaurant.
You’ve probably done this, too. The thing about doing that, though, is you forget things easily. It’s true. Nobody likes to admit that, but it happens to all of us.
You don’t want to forget anything, especially if you’ve come up with a new and unique idea that could give your business an advantage over your competition.
If Forces You To Think Your Ideas Through.
As you’re getting your ideas down, you’ll be forced to deliberately and methodically think about each one.
Are your ideas realistic? Will they be executable? Will they be practical?
If you know anything about the restaurant business you’ll find out a lot of information from this step. If you’re new to the restaurant business, this is another way to make sure that your heart is in it.
It Makes You An Expert On Your Business.
Thinking your ideas through in detail and then writing them down allows you to get to know every minute detail of how your restaurant will function. You’ll quickly know the answer to any questions asked about your business. You’ll also be able to highlight the upsides and show that you’ve already accounted for possible downsides.
You’ll also be able to highlight the upsides and show that you’ve already accounted for any possible downsides.
It Gives You The Confidence To Push Forward.
Once things are written down in a formatted, printed, and bound booklet or presentation you’ll feel good about everything. And you should feel good. Writing a business plan is like writing a short book. It will be multiple pages long, written in your voice from your point of view, with lots of entertaining facts that you’ll find while doing research.
Believe me, it feels good to hold that in your hands.
It Keeps You Focused On Your Goal(s).
After doing all of that work you should celebrate. Getting to the end means you’ve shown yourself, and others, that you are serious about opening a restaurant and running your own business.
Your goal will be on paper. It will be well thought out, and you’ll have a map to lead you.
You should be very excited at this point.
And if you ever lose your way, you’ll have something to refer back to. It will help you on those long, annoying, and tiring nights to remember why you started your own business in the first place.
It’s the Recipe For Business Success.
Not having a business plan for your restaurant startup is like seeing the picture of a beautiful and exotic looking meal and then trying to recreate it without the recipe.
Follow me on Serviceable for the next article in my series on starting and owning your own restaurant. If you’ve enjoyed reading this, please share with your friends and colleagues.
Comment below or contact me with any and all questions. If you’d like me to help you write your plan, need any training or technical materials written for your restaurant or business, you can message me here.