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 BLOG >> July 2019

Quick Business Plans [Entrepreneurship
Posted on July 16, 2019 @ 05:47:00 AM by Paul Meagher

In the spring of this year, I had to submit a business plan to an agency the regulates mini-winery licensing. I started to get bogged down in the process until I decided to focus my plan more and take some advice from an agriculture representative I talked to about the core of a business plan.

Focusing The Plan

We have a couple of enterprises on the farm now. One is selling hay and another is renting a trailer on the farm to tourists. These ventures make some money but they are not going to pay the bills for the farm. When I started working on my plan I thought I would discuss all the ventures on the farm and that the plan would be for the farm as a whole. That way of thinking slowed me down. Eventually I decided that the plan only had to be about the mini-winery aspect of the farm and didn't have to address other farm ventures, existing or planned. So one secret to developing a quick business plan is to make sure your plan is focused on the particular venture that requires planning and does not discuss ventures that do not require planning. Originally I thought the plan should be for the farm as a whole, but realized that the plan only needed to discuss the mini-winery aspect of farm. The same is probably true of most businesses where your plan might try to touch on all aspects of your business, or it could focus on the particular line of business that you want to plan for. The latter approach makes for a quicker business plan.

Core of the Plan

The agriculture representative talked to me about submitting a business plan to them. He said the main thing to include was to set some goals for year 1, 2 and 3. He also suggested that the goals include getting better by some modest amount, say 10 or 20 percent each year. The core of my plan and planning focused on clarifying what goals the mini-winery would need to achieve in the next 3 years to become established and grow over time. Production of wine would increase modestly over each of the three years so that was where the percent improvement over time came in. I also had to build and purchase alot of stuff over 3 years to get to where I wanted to be.

So the core of my business plan was a laundry list of goals. One laundry list for each year of the plan. Many plans would probably also include the cost of achieving the goals so that you would know what type of budget would be required. I wasn't seeking funding for this plan so I never bothered doing costing. It was probably a good thing that I didn't engage in too much costing work because even over the span of 3 months some of my goals have changed and other goals have emerged. Alot of the costing would have been wrong by now.

Types of Goals

Not all goals are created equal. Some goals may involve simply paying money to someone to acquire a piece of necessary machinery. Other goals, like building a wine cellar, involve a achieving a long list of subgoals. It is important when you are coming up with goals to spend some time thinking about how many subgoals might be involved in meeting the overall goal. You might also distinguish between goals for which you have some experience and expertise and goals that are new and which require alot of learning. One goal I had that seemed innocent enough at the time was to hold an outdoor concert to raise awareness of the farm and to gain some experience in holding events as this is an increasingly important aspect of selling wine.

Turns out that holding an outdoor concert is a very complex goal with a huge number of subgoals. I also did not have alot of experience or expertise in holding events which made it even more difficult. Just because it is difficult, however, is not sufficient reason not to do it, but it is good to know what you might be getting yourself into by assessing the number of subgoals and your level of expertise in carrying out subgoals.

Alot of work this summer has gone into landscaping around the back of the barn and making a stage where the musicians will be performing. Today we will be putting the rafters on the event stage which will also be the area where grapes and blueberries will be cleaned, crushed and pressed for making wine.

The headline act for the concert will be Rankin MacInnis / Party Boots who have put out great a new album. Eclectic mix of tunes with great big band feel on alot of the songs. Usually has the crowd on their feet during live shows. Press the play button below to listen to my favorite song on the album so far.

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