Last week, I started the Coffee Shop Business Plan Series to pool together various resources while writing our plan for our coffee shop, and to help you get started as well. I went over some tips on writing a business plan, how to keep organized throughout the process, and the outline of it’s contents.
Business Plan Company Description
Today, we’ll talk about the Company Description, and what to include in this first section. This will probably be the easiest section in the plan as there is less research, and you have a chance to communicate your concept and vision.
I made myself checklists for each section to help me stay organized, and will be sharing these with you in a downloadable PDF version you can find below. This will help keep track of what is done and what is left to do throughout the timeframe of putting together your entire business plan.Keep in mind, if some points don’t apply to your business, don’t include them. Without further ado, here is a list of things to include in your Company Description section of your business plan.
Company Description Contents:
Who We Are
- History– applies if you’re writing a business plan for an existing company. Give an overview of the history of your company up to this point.
- Vision– a broad end-state of what you envision to achieve through your business in one phrase.
- Mission Statement– an action and outcome-oriented statement that encompasses what you’re trying to do to achieve your vision in a few sentences to a paragraph.
- Values and/or Philosophy– foundational thoughts and beliefs that drive your passion and concept.
- Brand Image– what your brand looks likes and what it represents.
- Keys to Success– main things that drive your business and make it successful.
Core Competencies– a specific skill or expertise you do well that provides customer benefits, is hard for competitors to imitate, and is easily accessible to the market.
Competitive Advantage– what sets you apart from your competitors. More specifically, core competencies that you do better than your rivals and gives you a competitive edge or advantage.
You may still be figuring out the difference between these and how it looks for your business- if so, just pick one and adjust it as time and research goes on. A start-up will most likely have keys to success or core competencies, whereas a developed business will have built a competitive advantage from those.
- Legal Structure– the legal entity of the business, such as sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation, etc.
- Ownership– how the portions of ownership are divided up between each partner, including percentages.
- Business Location– describes the location and facilities. Summarize: location, area and property, lease agreement, square footage and floor plan, zoning, and utilities.
- Start-Up Summary– summarize your start expenses: legal (licenses and permits), marketing, professional services (consultant, accountants), insurance, rent, remodeling, and other costs. Summarize your start-up assets: operating capital, inventory, equipment. Summarize your sources of funding and how much you have from each.
- Objectives– any company objectives you may have at this point, including their time frame, cost, and any quantifiable figures involved. More applicable to existing business who are writing a business plan to achieve certain goals.
You may have to come back to some of these points as they are also developed in other sections through more time and research. As I explained in the Coffee Shop Business Plan overview, you will be jumping back and forth to fill in each section as time goes on and as you are figuring out how each point applies to you, or if it even does. Start with what you know and do as much as you can.
Click here for a downloadable Dream|a|Latte Company Description Checklist for writing your coffee shop business plan! It’s also applicable and helpful in starting a plan for any business.
Other Coffee Shop Business Plan Sections:
- Products & Services
- Marketing: Market/Industry Analysis & Competitive/Internal Analysis, & using the Marketing Mix
- US Small Business Administration
- The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Running & Starting a Coffee Bar
- MSU Business Management Program
Note: As a fellow aspiring entrepreneur that simply wants to share my journey with you, know this is information I’ve gathered from various books on starting a coffee shop, business websites, and courses that have helped me in writing my business plan to start a coffee shop. I only hope to share some of these resources to help you get started and inspired, however this is by no means extensive. All materials available in this series are for informational purposes only, and not to be business consulting or legal advice– so do contact a licensed consultant, accountant, or attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.