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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.


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Old 12-06-2021, 06:39 AM   #1
grizzly0925
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Anyone follow specific template they liked when they got started or did you wing it? I am in the beginning stages of figuring some things out and want to get it all on paper.
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Old 12-06-2021, 12:08 PM   #2
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We own a food trailer ever had a business plan drawn up. What is a business plan used for?
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Old 12-06-2021, 02:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kurtsara View Post
We own a food trailer ever had a business plan drawn up. What is a business plan used for?
Just getting my ideas and business model on paper really. Cost Factors, Customer Aim, How I will be conducting business. might be over thinking a bit haha.
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Old 12-06-2021, 02:56 PM   #4
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A good business plan is always a good idea if well executed - it's a great exercise in putting forth your concept on paper, which will allow you to refine aspects of it as you go along. Additionally, having a detailed list of your expenses helps you plan accordingly.

I've written a few of my own business plans, and even more for clients for who were in the process of raising capital. There's two major parts of a plan that are relevant for a small company - an executive summary, and a detailed financials spreadsheet that outlines capital expenditures along with projected revenues over the course of 3-5 years. A concise 4-10 page executive summary should suffice for most small startups.

In every instance I've worked with clients on business plans, the process created an opportunity to smooth out the edges and more powerfully articulate their business concept, as well as being able to plan for different kinds of revenue scenarios, not to mention uncovering unexpected expenses they weren't aware that they would be responsible for. This provides a much greater degree of preparedness and confidence in launching the venture.
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Old 12-06-2021, 03:55 PM   #5
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You might check to see if your state has a Small Business Development Center. Many moons ago our local SBDC office partnered with a hand full of business professionals (bankers, attorneys, CPAs, commercial insurance agents etc.) and held a six-week course that met twice a week. There was a small fee as most of the cost was underwritten by a couple of businesses. I attended as kind of a tune-up and did walk away with a new perspective on a couple of issues.

The class covered the things Moose discussed, and guest speakers discussed things like commercial loans, licensing, buildings and property etc. I can also stress the importance of a good business plan, but I'll go one step further.... it's important to review your business plan every couple of years and update it accordingly.
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Old 12-06-2021, 04:19 PM   #6
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I highly recommend touching base with your local chapter of SCORE. (Score.org)

Business people helping business people.
Great organization.

A business plan is a good idea to help you see what makes sense.
A break-even analysis will help you understand how much money you will spend, before you start seeing returns.

A business plan is required by most lenders, if you will be looking for a business loan.
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Old 12-07-2021, 11:26 AM   #7
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Thanks all! Not looking for a loan quite yet just trying to smooth out the edges as some of you were saying. all great information!
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Old 12-08-2021, 09:30 AM   #8
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Longtime small business mentor here, including 6+ years with SCORE.

A business plan is A Good Thing. As you say, OP, figuring things out and getting them on paper. But it's not the first thing.

The most popular mistake I see is people getting all cranked up with LLC formation, Tax and Employer ID numbers, logos, ... maybe even some equipment, without ever talking to customers and scoping out competitors. Hopefully you have not skipped this step. Who will your customers be? What do they want to buy? How will you attract them? Who is the competition? What is your unique selling proposition that will make your business superior to theirs? .... and on and on and on.

I had a couple of guys who wanted to own laundromats. They did all the book research; census tract data, density of rental housing, average household size, etc. and identified a number of really promising locations. When they got in their cars and checked out the locations, there was a laundromat at every one! Subsequently talking to a supplier of laundry equipment, they were told that the only feasible way to get into the business was to buy someone out. The market would no longer support new entrants.

I'm seeing this with food trucks in our market. They are so popular with entrepreneurs that the used truck market is zero. Huge demand, no supply. Well I happen to believe that the food truck market here is saturated. The ones that appear to be successful have allied themselves with micro-brew tap rooms, parking outside on a regular or even constant basis. Without this type of connection, I think financial success of an un-aligned food truck is questionable. But ... the tap room market is also saturated and I am expecting a significant shake-out. So bye-bye to the food trucks serving tap rooms that disappear.

So .. in connection with a business plan, you have to be out there locating and talking to customers, locating and scoping out competitors, checking local laws and regulations, etc. The best business plan in the world will not save a business that hasn't found a viable market for its product.

Re templates: score.org has a number text and spreadsheet templates for free download.
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Old 12-08-2021, 12:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airedale View Post
Longtime small business mentor here, including 6+ years with SCORE.

A business plan is A Good Thing. As you say, OP, figuring things out and getting them on paper. But it's not the first thing.

The most popular mistake I see is people getting all cranked up with LLC formation, Tax and Employer ID numbers, logos, ... maybe even some equipment, without ever talking to customers and scoping out competitors. Hopefully you have not skipped this step. Who will your customers be? What do they want to buy? How will you attract them? Who is the competition? What is your unique selling proposition that will make your business superior to theirs? .... and on and on and on.

I had a couple of guys who wanted to own laundromats. They did all the book research; census tract data, density of rental housing, average household size, etc. and identified a number of really promising locations. When they got in their cars and checked out the locations, there was a laundromat at every one! Subsequently talking to a supplier of laundry equipment, they were told that the only feasible way to get into the business was to buy someone out. The market would no longer support new entrants.

I'm seeing this with food trucks in our market. They are so popular with entrepreneurs that the used truck market is zero. Huge demand, no supply. Well I happen to believe that the food truck market here is saturated. The ones that appear to be successful have allied themselves with micro-brew tap rooms, parking outside on a regular or even constant basis. Without this type of connection, I think financial success of an un-aligned food truck is questionable. But ... the tap room market is also saturated and I am expecting a significant shake-out. So bye-bye to the food trucks serving tap rooms that disappear.

So .. in connection with a business plan, you have to be out there locating and talking to customers, locating and scoping out competitors, checking local laws and regulations, etc. The best business plan in the world will not save a business that hasn't found a viable market for its product.

Re templates: score.org has a number text and spreadsheet templates for free download.

Thanks for all this insight! I am definitely trying to evaluate a target base and where I am going to be. I have spoken with a few "competitors" I think my market will be niche but good enough aiming more towards a unauthentic "texaque" feel to things. Not much of that around here but I feel I can market for a demand. We will see. I will give those templates a look and began the other processes, have for sure been looking into local laws etc.
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Old 12-10-2021, 06:00 AM   #10
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I tried taking out a business loan through the SBA, so they required a business plan. I'm pretty sure I used the business plan creation tool through the SBA website, and it worked well enough. The hardest part was the financial stuff as it was much more in depth than needed for a small BBQ start-up.

As a heads up, if you're looking for startup capital (ie business loan) for a food business, you're probably going to be SOL...seriously. NOBODY wants to invest in food businesses and right now it's probably even harder than when I started my BBQ food truck in 2017. Food prices are still sky high and this is especially true for traditional BBQ meats. So just understand that you'll need to have your own money, or you'll need to utilize a personal loan rather than any kind of business loan.

Mind you my BBQ food truck was a bit unique in the sense that I was exclusively serving food on a military installation. As such I had my own particular challenges, but it also brought a very voracious and loyal customer base.

Feel free to shoot me a DM with any questions, and if you want I'll shoot you a copy of my business plan just as an example. Either way good luck moving forward and I hope things work out!
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Old 12-11-2021, 07:28 AM   #11
grizzly0925
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothBoarBBQ View Post
I tried taking out a business loan through the SBA, so they required a business plan. I'm pretty sure I used the business plan creation tool through the SBA website, and it worked well enough. The hardest part was the financial stuff as it was much more in depth than needed for a small BBQ start-up.

As a heads up, if you're looking for startup capital (ie business loan) for a food business, you're probably going to be SOL...seriously. NOBODY wants to invest in food businesses and right now it's probably even harder than when I started my BBQ food truck in 2017. Food prices are still sky high and this is especially true for traditional BBQ meats. So just understand that you'll need to have your own money, or you'll need to utilize a personal loan rather than any kind of business loan.

Mind you my BBQ food truck was a bit unique in the sense that I was exclusively serving food on a military installation. As such I had my own particular challenges, but it also brought a very voracious and loyal customer base.

Feel free to shoot me a DM with any questions, and if you want I'll shoot you a copy of my business plan just as an example. Either way good luck moving forward and I hope things work out!

Thanks! You've been so helpful on a few of my posts. I will dm you soon for sure. I would be starting super small at first (micro breweries in my area) just to iron out some kinks I will be writting out more of my start up costs this week and next. i appreciate the insight!
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