Business Plan? Check!
Hello, Loyal Reader(s)!
We've been home just over a year now and—despite things being quiet here on the blog—we've been chipping away at our “to do” list. Photo proof here. Since you last heard from us, we've been busy brewing up dozens of R&D batches, tasting our way around the Puget Sound, and even managed to sneak in a half marathon (well, one of us did). Progress has been slow but steady and one of the major milestones we're most excited about is the completion of our business plan! 😁🤩🎉
While our most intensive writing took place after arriving back home, we have been working on some permutation of the business plan for the past 5+ years. And that lengthy amount of time has allowed us to:
1) assemble a document with sound financial data and projections for distribution to potential investors and banks and, perhaps more importantly,
2) dig into some in-depth questioning and exhaustive analysis of L&L’s raison d'être.
And though we’re fairly satisfied with this initial version of our business plan, we also know that this document will continue to evolve along with L&L. In short, as frustrating and stressful as the writing process was, we are 100%, without a doubt, glad we did it. The exercise proved valuable on so many levels and forced us to truly reflect on why we are choosing to pursue opening a brewery.
And, in “not so short”, some of the nuts and bolts of the L&L business plan:
Our background research included both online and print sources, in particular: How to Write a Business Plan (McKeever), Starting Your Own Brewery (Cantwell), Small Time Operator (Kamoroff), and the Brewers Association website. Armed with our newly found business plan writing “expertise”, we started to organize our thoughts and plan of attack via Post-it notes. Lucky for us, we have plenty of wall space. 😉
As we were still sorting out how to organize our content based on what we had read during our research and what we believed to be necessary to successfully tell the L&L story, the ability to easily shift thoughts and ideas around was invaluable. In addition to not being married to a single narrative prematurely, we are also both very visual people so being able to actually see the plan of attack helped keep us on course.
CREATING THE CONTENT
Writing the actual content was a combination of stream of consciousness and furious editing. Guided by the content structure discussed in our background research and what we thought was required to convey our vision, our business plan ultimately included:
1) Executive Summary
2) Company Overview: a high-level overview of L&L. Topics include our business model, product strategy, and discussion of current beer trends.
3) Industry Analysis: knowing that we would be sharing our business plan with readers who do not have firsthand experience with Craft Beer, we chose to include some introductory information about the history and current state of the industry.
4) Personnel: includes leadership structure, projected staffing, employee training, and supporting expertise.
6) Ops & Management
7) Risk Management
8) Brand Identity & Marketing
11) Schedule: captures milestones and critical paths starting with our arrival back in the PNW to Opening Day (and then some), including marketing and outreach efforts
12) Glossary: knowing that we would be sharing our business plan with readers who may not be familiar with beer/brewing terms, we wanted to provide them with a basic understanding
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER
We both come from design backgrounds so the visual presentation of any and all L&L collateral is especially important to us. From chicken scratch on paper to editing in Google Drive, the business plan was ultimately laid out and formatted in InDesign. Though we printed a couple of hard copies, we ended up distributing the business plan as a PDF.
We are by no means saying that our process is the one and only way to produce a business plan—there’s certainly more than one way to skin a cat. But this worked well for us and we’re excited to be able to share it with you.
And now that the business plan is done? On to finding a home for L&L!