Where to Start
Whether you are opening a self-pour taproom, brewery, bar or a restaurant, building and opening a successful business, requires a lot of time and dedication. Every establishment should begin their journey with an effective business plan, which will not only keep your business ideas organized, but will be a crucial deliverable when approaching banks or other investors for financial help.
This task can seem daunting for someone who hasn’t created a full business plan before, especially when opening a taproom for the first time. Thankfully, there are plenty of online resources to help you get on track and figure out which questions you’ll need to answer in that crucial first pitch.
Business Plan Templates & Samples
There are even free templates available online to help you begin. You can also use our sample business plan example adapted from one of our customers’ self-pour taprooms. Simply fill out the form below to download it!
What to Cover in Your Business Plan
Whether you’re operating in the brewery or bar space, looking to bring a new type of restaurant to your area, or doing something completely unique, you need a solid business plan that contains certain key elements. These include:
The purpose of the executive summary is to introduce and outline your business concept, as well as to provide a brief overview of your business plan as a whole. In this section, you’ll want to include things like the name of your business, its primary product offering, and any mission statement you may have. You should also include the primary goal of this business plan; this may be to secure investors or get a business loan, etc., so you will want to make sure that it clearly communicates your idea and why it will be successful.
NOTE: Because the executive summary pulls from other parts of the business plan, many people decide to complete it last. Nevertheless, once when the business plan is completed the executive summary should be the first part of your document.
This is where you will describe, in as much detail as possible, what your business truly is. What kind of establishment is it? A bar, restaurant, taproom? How many people will you serve at a time? What will your staffing structure look like?
All of these things need to be covered in detail, which means they need to be planned out beforehand. It is here where you should also make it completely clear what your primary product offering is, and in which format you are offering it. For a pure taproom, this is likely to be beer or other beverages. But for a restaurant, this will be the food of a certain cuisine. Be thoughtful about this and make sure you know what you want your customers to focus on when they think of your business.
For self-pour establishments, this concept is likely to be at least one of your main product offerings, if it isn’t your only one. It’s a good move to make this a part of your business plan and to emphasize the fact that the self-pour industry is one growing in size and popularity. The self-pour industry is one that arose from changes in customer preferences, perhaps especially those among millennial consumers, who continue to dominate the consumer base for the drink industry. These are great things to emphasize in a self-pour business plan.
The industry analysis section should include a market overview by identifying your core customers, your location – which may provide insight on many demographics such as age, sex, household income, and ethnicity – and competition. You should be able to identify specific customer segments and approximate their size and projected interest in your business.
A detailed evaluation of your competition is also essential and should include other similar businesses in the area that may capture market share. You should analyze their target market and size as well.
All of these things will inform your pricing structure and branding elements. You want to make sure that the business you are bringing to your sector is one that your target market really wants to visit. For example, it might not be the best idea to have an upscale taproom with a higher price point in a college town if there are not enough potential customers for it.
TIP: We can’t stress this enough – bringing a concept that fits within your area as well as the amount of foot traffic you have will be key to your success!
Within the hospitality industry, location is extremely important. Many PourMyBeer customers have noted the importance of already existing foot traffic, and this is something that is inherent to the location that you choose. So, select your location carefully after conducting plenty of research into the area.
The “SWOT” Analysis is used in the business world to evaluate your current position as a business before implementing a new strategy. The acronym stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunity, and Threats. It can be used in several contexts. It is most relevant to use in the business plan as an examination of the competitive landscape in the area.
Using SWOT, you can compile information to create a summarized report that gives investors or other readers a quick and effective idea of where your business would stand when it first opens.
Marketing Strategy & Sales Plan
A very important part of the business plan is to come up with several specific strategies for future marketing campaigns and generally getting the word out. The hospitality industry is a highly competitive one. It is crucial that you communicate to your customers why they should try out your place and become regulars there, rather than other bars or restaurants.
You will need to figure out what marketing methods and platforms you will want to use and make sure to use multiple approaches. You can use more tangible marketing methods such as physical branding on-site, and partnerships with local organizations; or digital marketing methods such as email, social media, and search engine optimization methods. Ideally, you should aim to do plenty of both. Using personal networks for spreading the word is also a great way to start building the excitement in your community long before your business officially opens. You want the grand opening of your business to be a big one that locals know about and discuss, and want to be a part of.
Sales go hand-in-hand with marketing as boosting sales is ultimately the main goal of marketing, just as it is with sales. Before you start your marketing efforts, you will need to figure out some additional specifics such as a pricing structure for the menu, who you are trying to reach and allure to your establishment, as well as possible loyalty clubs and promotions/discounts if this is something you will want to pursue.
To help put your business in the best possible position to be as successful as possible, we have compiled a quick guide containing the most important Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind when opening your own self-pour business, based on experiences with our 270+ customers. Simply fill out the form below to download it.
Whether you are speaking to a bank or potential investor, it is important to make your funding requirements clear, and explain exactly where that initial money will be going. You’ll want to provide a cost sheet that details initial expenses and how you plan to spend capital. If you are putting any money into the business yourself, you will also need to provide your own relevant financial statements and explain your investment clearly. Also, you may want to include a management team analysis, which provides a background of your management team and your investors. You can use resumes to your advantage.
It’s essential for investors that you include detailed cash flow projections. First, calculate estimated revenue projections for years one, two and three. Estimates should be conservative and realistic. Second, determine your total liabilities and costs. Your costs will include items such as lease, payroll, insurance, licenses, utilities, banknote and taxes. Last, estimate your cash flow for years one, two and three. This will project the business’ future net income.
Regardless of what you include in your plan, make sure it’s thorough and organized. You’ll be presenting it to banks or investors to convince them to finance your business.