THINK IT THROUGH, DO IT RIGHT
So, if you are bound and determined to open a restaurant (as I have been – many times) and have ignored all of the warnings, common wisdom, and statistics, then you might as well do it right. By that I mean do things in a way that gives you the best chance of succeeding. If I were to sum up the entire process (and it is indeed complex and lengthy) it would be this: “think it through before you see it through”.
Every detail of your project should be considered, visualized, documented, tested, and reviewed. It should be put into a standard format (the business plan) that can be easily read and understood by anyone you will need to help you get it started (bankers, investors, landlords, etc.). It should be easily editable at any level (you will be doing this a lot) based on the feedback you get or just to reflect a change in any aspect of the project that may come up (and they will).
The business plan is more that just a document that you will be required to present to receive funding. It is a way for you to develop and analyze your vision, to help determine the feasibility of your venture. Many times I have completed a plan for a prospective business, decided it was not viable and quit the project. It is always better to “cut your losses” if what you are proposing just won’t work.The business plan, if done correctly and honestly, can give you these critical answers before you have make any large commitment.
The Virtual Restaurant Business Plan system is designed to bring up all of the critical questions and issues that need to be included in your plan – not only to convince investors and other partners of the viability of your venture but also, and perhaps more importantly, to convince you.
ONE PLAN, TWO PARTS
The business plan consists of two distinct but integrated parts; the narrative, which tells the story of your project in a written form and the financials, which tell the story in a numerical form.
The narrative is what most people think of as the business plan. The executive summary, marketing plan, competitive evaluation, etc. This will show how well you have thought though your ideas. It will also show your capabilities, both personal and as a company for achieving the goals you have set forth. Investors should be able to get a good feeling of your (and their) chances for success by reading the narrative part of your plan. But this is only half of what they need to know.
The financials, a set of related and interconnected forms, show the venture from a different angle – money. How much will be needed for starting up? Where will that money come from? How and when will it be paid back? What will it cost to operate the business from day to day? What will sales and revenue be? How will this change over time? And so on. The narrative section shows the plans for your business structure and management but the financials will show how (or if) it will be profitable and who will benefit the most.
So you need both to give a complete picture. If done correctly, the completed business plan will answer most questions a prospective investor, banker or partner would have and give you the best chance of getting what you need to get started. It will also give you the confidence that your investment will be well-placed – that you haven’t just created a convincing document to obtain the startup resources you need but that you truly believe that based on the research and calculations in your business plan that will succeed and perform as predicted.
YOU DO THE WORK
Perhaps the most important part of our system is that it is designed to make you do the work. It is not a boilerplate, fill-in-the-blanks template where you enter a few basic facts and you get a finished document. We don’t do you any favors by making this too easy for you. This is your business and you should know it thoroughly. The more you learn about your business, and the better you understand how it all works, the better chance you will have of raising your startup resources and the better chance your business will have of success.
For the narrative, you are “forced” to think through each topic, do any research necessary, and write it out yourself. For the financials, well, we try here to take away the complex accounting theory by giving you a template of linked spreadsheets, but you still have to get good data to input for it to be accurate and useful.
We give you the narrative section for free, complete with an outline, fully written sample plan, cover letter example and appendices. For the financial section, we strongly recommend that you invest in our Restaurant Business Plan – The Financials. For just $59 you will have what amounts to a financial crystal ball for your new restaurant (or to analyze your ongoing business). You can run unlimited scenarios, modeling your future and honing your vision. It is all unconditionally guaranteed and we are available not only for support, but also for consultation and evaluation of your finished plan.
Whatever you decide to do, our system (even just reading this page) will help you to achieve your goal in starting a restaurant. This is a very big decision, so please consider your options carefully before making your move. We hope we can help you do that.