In order to forecast how much money you can make from your business, you’ll need to calculate how many potential customers you have and how many of them you’ll be able to capture or lure away from your competitors. You also have to know what the growth rate is for your target market, since it’s rarely wise to invest in a stagnant or shrinking market. This can be one of the most challenging, but also one of the most critical, components of the business plan.
- Determine who your customers are. Your product or service must fill a need that customers have. For instance, a dog walking service fills a dog owner’s need to have their pet taken care of when they’re unable to do so due to work or travel. Once you know what problem you’re solving and for whom, invest time and energy into determining the characteristics of your customers. You may have multiple customer groups, such as vacationing seniors and dual-income families.
- Categorize your customers. Describe them according to demographics such as age, gender and income, and psychographics such as technology awareness, fashion consciousness or political views.
- Research your customers. Read articles about your target customers and the problems they encounter which your business can solve. Demographic data is available from the US Census Bureau and other reliable government and private sources. Trade publications and industry-focused websites can also be good sources of information about year-to-year trends, customer spending habits and forecasts. Often the most thorough and up-to-date information is for sale in industry market forecasts, and may cost from dozens to many thousands of dollars. Official population statistics will often include projections for up to 10 years in the future.
- Understand your competitors and their market share. If you work in a highly fragmented industry such as soap, there may be hundreds of competitors each with a quarter of a percent of market share. In that case, assume that .25% is the most you’ll ever get of the market, and that you’ll start out at a much smaller portion. Hit-based industries such as movies and video games may have three or four major corporations taking 60% or more of the market, with a dozen more vying for the remaining 40%. In that case, assume you’ll have a very small share of the market—1% or less—but that the sky is the limit and wise business decisions could pay huge dividends.
- Calculate your market size. Identify the total number of customers available to you and multiply that by your market share percentage. Then take the growth rate projected in your research and calculate the increase in your customer base if the market share percentage is held constant. For instance, out of a million potential customers, assume you can capture one-tenth of a percent in the first year, two-tenths in the second, and up to three-tenths in the third year. Over that same period, assume your target demographic is growing by 10% annually. You’ll therefore have 1,000 customers the first year (1,000,000 x 0.1%), 2,200 the second year (1,100,000 x 0.2%) and 3,630 the third year (1,210,000 x 0.3%).
The most difficult hurdle to jump in starting your own business is securing the finances to start it. Unless you are fortunate enough to have more money than you know what to do with, you will need financing. You will have little to no success in securing such financing without a business plan. Starting an airline is by no means a small endeavor, and you will need a rock solid business plan for your airline if you have any hopes to succeed.
- Research your audience. You must know your potential investors better than they know themselves. A huge aspect of the business plan is marketing. You have your idea of success; you need to know theirs and how you will help them achieve it.
- Write your executive summary. This is the first part of your business plan. This is where you capture the attention of your reader and you will either lose him, or peak his interest. This is where your research into your audience pays off; you will speak on terms and a level that he is very familiar with.
- Include in your executive summary the bottom line, or the “what’s in it for me?” that your potential investor is looking for. Chances are, she is a very busy woman and wants to know what is up without reading the entire plan. This is where you must make sure that you not only illustrate that this is an airline, but what separates this airline from all the rest. You will need to identify the principals of the business and their background and qualifications to manage it. Include how much money you need, how often you need it, if not all upfront, and especially, what that money will be used for.
- Include a table of contents right after your executive summary. Be succinct. The executive summary will determine whether or not you deserve a further read, or a toss in the trash can. If your summary got his attention, don’t make him sorry he turned the page.
- Describe the airline and what makes it stand apart from all the rest. This is a large section that will relate your passion to this endeavor. Your vision should be very apparent in this section as you describe the service that your airline will offer, the type of company that you will make and grow. Do not forget to focus on growth. Growth means return on investment.
- Devote the next several sections of your airline’s business plan to the actual planning of the company. This illustrates your thought process and exactly how you will make this work. This section includes the analysis of the market that you carried out, and then your plans on how to market your business. You will also want to include your financial, operational and human capital plans as well.
- Estimate the “What’s in it for me?” that your audience is looking for. This section details exactly the return that you plan on giving your investor. Although you want to speak nothing of failure, you do want to outline a plan of how she can pull her commitment from your company when she wants to. You should give her several options from buy out rights to mergers and acquisitions, or board seats. This conclusion should be a big bang and leaves her with a smile on her face. Don’t blow it here.
- Include a section on references. This could be in the form of an appendix, or bibliography. Either way, you should include professional and personal reference letters, resumes and good credit histories for yourself and the principals of this business. You need the proof of your qualifications that you just spelled out in the previous pages of your airline business plan. Now take off.
Organizations, businesses and sports teams can build stronger brands for sports-related products and services by incorporating sports marketing into a traditional business plan. As with a traditional marketing plan, a sports marketing plan should address the appropriate business needs and examine sports specific aspects of business. Integrating sports management into a marketing plan will assist organizations and sports teams in building relationships with customers and fans while creating a distinct brand.
- Explain what the organization, business or sports team does in the executive summary. Define the brand identity by describing what it is that the sports team or business offers to the market.
- Summarize the specific services and needs that the sports business offers consumers. For a sports team, focus on such aspects of business as entertainment value, ticket prices and sports product. For a sports service or business, focus on product offerings, quality of service and brand value.
- Write an overview to broadly summarize the content of the sports marketing plan and how it will further develop the organization’s marketing program.
- Examine the marketplace in the situation analysis section by listing, in subsections, all competitors, consumer information, market trends and market needs. Explain how the brand fits into the market as a whole.
- Research and explain information on ticket prices, sports product trends, consumer demands for tickets, corporate sponsorship trends, popularity shifts in sports and any other market related influences. Staying aware of market and consumer trends will help fill the customer needs.
- Perform a SWOT analysis, which is an examination of an organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This requires conducting internal research to examine the organization’s strengths and weaknesses, in relation to the market. An organization’s opportunities and threats come from outside elements in the market, including competition organizations and potential business opportunities. A SWOT analysis allows an organization to develop a business strategy while maintaining awareness of internal and external aspects of the market.
- Examine the target market, which is the specific consumer group that an organization attempts to reach with its marketing of products and services. To find the target market, conduct market research by studying sales of tickets, products and services. Research specific demographics to detail target market characteristics. Find out the age, geographical location, income range, gender and any other specifics to formulate the target market. Use the results of this research to tailor marketing strategy to the target market demographics.
- Explain all marketing objectives and highlight specific objectives. For example, “we will exceed last season’s ticket sales by $5,000.” Tailor marketing objectives to the target market.
- Detail the marketing tactics that will help achieve each marketing objective. For example, “we will exceed last season’s ticket sales by $5,000 by adding five ticket sales representatives.” Develop specific tactics for each marketing objective.
- List budget needs for the marketing plan, detailing credits and debits for all marketing activity. Be specific for individual projects, such as ticket sales, print ads and promotional events.
- List the money that the marketing plan will gain and lose from outside sponsorships and partnerships. Explain all financial details regarding sponsorships with outside organizations, including legal aspects and terms of condition of the sponsorship.
- Explain where financial resources come from and where they are being allocated. Ascertain that marketing strategies have the appropriate amount of money needed to fund them.
Filing for bankruptcy can be a confusing and intimidating process. Knowing what to do to file your personal bankruptcy in North Carolina can reduce the stress and make the process smoother.
- First, you should speak to a bankruptcy attorney or attorneys to make sure that you have absolutely no other means of handling your debt. Most bankruptcy attorneys will offer to speak with you at no charge to help you assess your situation. They will help you determine if you are eligible to file, look for alternatives to bankruptcy if there are any and give you an idea of how your life will be affected once you’ve been declared bankrupt.
- If you decide to proceed with the bankruptcy, you will then need to decide if you’re going to retain an attorney or file the proceedings yourself. While it is possible to handle your case on your own, many people choose to enlist the help of an attorney to guide them through the process.
- To file for Chapter 7, you will need to do a means test to determine if you are truly insolvent. Your previous six months of income will be measured against a median income scale to determine if you pass or fail the means test. The means test determines whether or not if, after your other obligations are met, your monthly income will allow you to repay your debt. According to the North Carolina bankruptcy law website, as of 2011, you will probably qualify for Chapter 7 if you are unable to pay at least $6,000 over the next five years.
- If you pass the means test, you will next need to determine how much of your property is exempt. This means listing all of your assets and determining their worth and measuring that against what the bankruptcy court says you are allowed to keep. Generally, a certain amount of equity in your home and vehicles is considered exempt, retirement accounts, and a certain amount of cash and personal possessions. Any property that is not exempt may be liquidated and used to repay your creditors.
- Once you’ve determined which of your property is exempt, you will then be required to attend a mandatory credit counseling class. You must provide proof of your attendance to the court along with your filing.
- Next, you will need to complete the bankruptcy paperwork, including but not limited to: the actual bankruptcy petition, your filing fee or fee waiver request, the list of creditors you are claiming in the bankruptcy, statement of your social security information, verification of your credit counseling attendance, notice to your debtors, and your list of exempt property. These will need to be filled out, copied, and filed with the local court.
- Meet with the court-appointed trustee who will take possession of any property you are not allowed to keep. The trustee will liquidate any of said property and use it to pay your creditors.
- Attend a 341 hearing or meeting of creditors. This meeting gives creditors the opportunity to appear to question your filing and offer any challenges to prevent you from completing the bankruptcy. While the opportunity is available, most creditors do not actually appear.
- If your bankruptcy is not challenged, then the next step is to file any motions or claims for exemption pertaining to your case. You will also need to reaffirm any secured debts, such as mortgages or car loans, that you will continue to pay on after bankruptcy. Once these steps are completed, the court will issue a Discharge Order which will declare you bankrupt and wipe out your debts for good. Once you receive your discharge order, usually within 90 days of filing, you are no longer legally liable for the debts included in the bankruptcy.