Starting a Tampa Business Part 1: How to Write a Business Plan

Good news Florida entrepreneurs! Tampa is on the rise for start-ups, ranking within the top-20 largest metropolitan areas by the 2017 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity. There’s no question Tampa is a strong place to be if you’re an entrepreneur. But like anywhere else, how do you turn your key business idea into an actual company that can thrive in the Tampa area? First, you need a business case. Let’s take a look at how to write a business plan for your small business or start up.

Building a Business Plan

You’ve got the idea and you know people will be just as excited as you are about it once you bring it to life. You just need to get people to hear your idea and buy into it. That starts with building a business case. From helping you get funding to allowing you to scale your business as you grow, your business plan is your company’s bible. Here are the basic sections you should include in your business plan:

1. An Executive Summary

Think of the first page or two of your business plan as your first impression to investors. When sharing your business plan, what you’re really doing is selling yourself and your idea. You’re telling people why they should invest their time, energy and money in you and your Tampa company. Use your executive summary to provide an appealing overview of your business and what your plan is to build and grow it. Similar to a best-selling novel, tease investors with alluring information that makes them want to dive deeper. After all, your business plan needs to be an exciting page-turner, not a bland research report.

2. Include a Unique Selling Proposition

A unique selling proposition (USP) or value proposition defines your position within the marketplace and helps you stand out from competitors. This is the statement that really needs to pop in your business plan and highlight exactly why your business is worth investing in. To create a USP, make sure you have defined your business’ target audience in the Tampa area and know what your competitors are saying about themselves. This will help you craft a USP that is new, unique and engaging for the Tampa consumer market.

3. Opportunities and Execution

These sections are where you can go into greater detail about your target audience, competitors and how you plan on turning your idea into an actual business. Start by identifying your target audience and clearly explaining how your business would solve a need people are facing. After that, spend some time doing a competitor analysis and showing where the top three or four competitors fall short in addressing your audience’s needs.

From here, it’s time to explain how you plan to get your business going. Show your sales and marketing plan, your product and service offerings, how operations will run day-to-day and how you’ll scale and measure your business success over time.

4. Financial Forecast

When pitching to investors, you better believe they’ll want to hear what your financial plan is. Start by forecasting your monthly projections for the first 12 months of your business. After that, include annual projections for the next three to five years to give investors an idea of where your company is headed. You’ll also want to detail out what your sales forecast looks like and how much you plan on paying employees. Other financial statements you may need to include are:

  • An income statement that shows the projected profit and losses based on data from your sales and employee forecasts
  • A cash flow statement that indicates how much money you have in the bank
  • A balance sheet that provides a financial health report of your business

5. Your Team

Investors aren’t just buying into your idea, they’re also buying into your management team. You’ll want a separate section that include bios of each member of your team and their relevant experience. You’re making a case for each individual member of your management team, so take the time to show them off in your business plan. After their bios, illustrate how each member of your team will help you put into motion everything you’ve been saying you can–and will–do with your business.

Setting up a Business Structure in Tampa

As you’re building your business plan, you’ll also want to set up your business structure to share with investors. In our next post, we’ll discuss the various business structures you can choose from and how to get an LLC in Tampa.

Helping Tampa Businesses Take Off

Located at 3030 N Rocky Point Dr. W STE 671 Tampa, FL 33607-5955, Electronic Merchant Services is dedicated to the success of the companies we serve. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you start a business in Tampa, or request a quote online.

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