Whether you’re opening a brand new pub or buying an old one, you’re going to need a plan of action to make it a success.
Preparation is key to succeeding in any business and in the early days when trying to acquire finance, you’ll need to show this. If you’re applying for finance, you’re probably going to need to write up a business plan. Even if you’re not, it’s well worth writing one up even if it’s just for your own benefit. That way you can look back on it in a few months or a year to see if you’ve achieved what you set out to.
Here are some of the main sections that you could include to build your business plan effectively:
A personal profile
In this section you have the opportunity to explain why you’re the right person to open a pub. This is where you should detail your relevant qualifications and any skills or work experience you have.
A bank is more likely to approve you for funding if you’re a “safe option”. In other words, the more experience and planning you’ve got, the more likely you can make a success of it and pay back your loans.
This, like when applying for any job, is difficult if it’s your first time running a pub. However, if you can demonstrate business acumen, experience with marketing or working in a pub, then this will come in handy.
Just opening a business isn’t enough these days. You need to base your business ideas on solid market research for them to stick.
Who are your target customers? Try to build a picture of the kind of people you expect to become customers, make a note of their age group, what they expect from a pub and tailor it around them. The best way to serve the market is to know it well.
You’re going to have competitors no matter what you do. So rather than burying your head in the sand, plan and analyse. Visit these places and see why they’re popular, what they’re doing to attract customers and what their unique selling points are. Where do you fit into this? How are you different?
Potential problems and how to overcome them
While you obviously don’t want to go on about how the business could fail, it’s important that you are fully aware of what could go wrong. This allows you to plan.
Potential threats could include competitors, supplier prices, and changes in customer behaviour or seasonal business. Try to come up with something that will help you overcome these problems to demonstrate that you’ve thought about it from all angles.
How you’re going to expand on what’s already being done
If you’re buying a pre-existing pub then think about what it’s already offering and how you can improve on that. Think about something that could be done to boost revenue. For example, a pub just serving drinks could expand by serving food. You might even want to include a sample menu with pricing and estimates of revenue for that.
If you’ve got plans for entertainment, then this is the place to put them down. Will you need a license to play music? Will you consider live music events? How do they fit into your wider business plan? Try to talk about how entertainment plans will appeal to your target market and the area your business is in.
This is better written after you’ve completed your plan. It will be a good place to summarise the key points of your business plan to give whoever reads it an overview of the rest of the plan.
The more concrete facts and projections you can inject into your business plan, the better. The whole point of this is to project stability and gain trust for whoever is reading it.
Whether it’s a lender or a potential business partner, people will need to know that you’re a safe investment and the better your business plan, the more chance you have of getting what you need to make it a success.