Our last blog discussed the important questions you should ask before building a business plan for your salt cave. Today, we tackle the fabric of that plan from start to finish.
While every business plan is uniquely different in content, layout or requirements, this framework provides good guidance on what you should consider when putting together a strategy for your salt cave business.
Here are a few guidelines to follow to ensure you’re starting with a solid foundation.
- TONE: The tone of your plan is important, especially if you are looking to share this document to secure financing for your project. Keep it professional, conservative in style, and ultimately, polished. Stay away from slang, jargon or humour and instead focus on facts or necessary context to bolster your plan.
- FORMAT: Use consistent font and formatting to help your readers easily identify sections and understand your message. Standard formatting is 10-12 pt. font, in a professional typeface such as Times New Roman or Arial.
- STYLE: This may go without saying, but grammar, spelling, and sentence structure matter, so do yourself a favour and double-check your plan. Even better, have someone you trust give it a second set of eyes.
- VISUALS: Some people are visual learners, so adding (relevant) charts or pictures throughout your presentation is a nice idea. Perhaps include images of other websites you want to replicate, pictures of salt caves that you know you can produce, or a pie chart illustrating the breakdown of your customer base.
- KEEP IT RELEVANT: Remember, your plan will not be judged on its length, but rather on the breadth and depth of the information you’re providing. This is an opportunity for you to show you have done your homework and due diligence. Keep in only the relevant information, otherwise your readers may lose interest or suspect you’re padding the content with fluff.
Cover Page & Introduction
Start at the beginning. Include your company name, logo and contact details (including your name as the business owner). Describe your business in a few sentences and address questions about what you are hoping to achieve. If you are looking for financing, clearly state upfront the amount of money you are requesting and what it will be used for. Also note if you will require any other financing in the future and, if so, what it would be used for.
This section is very important and sometimes the only page or two that an investor will read before deciding if your idea is viable. Here you must not only demonstrate your thorough understanding of how the business will operate, but more critically for your investors, when you will make a return on your investment.
Your goal is to highlight the potential of your venture and generate enough interest to make your readers continue looking at your plan. For this reason, many people write the Executive Summary last, as it is often easier to summarize your ideas once you’ve gone through the exercise of developing your plan.
Here you’ll want to focus on your halotherapy competitors and the holistic and wellness sector as a whole.
First, explore the landscape by visiting any salt therapy spas nearby. Speak to other salt cave owners to better understand their challenges. Learn about the services that differentiate salt cave spas. What about other trends in the salt therapy sector—can anything potentially hinder or promote your future growth?
Including this information in your plan will help you stand out. Once you know how other services compare, you can add value by differentiating yourself, giving you a great advantage in the marketplace.
Venture Proposal: Comprehensive insights, logistics and operations
This is where you will elaborate and provide comprehensive insight into your business idea, operations and competitors. Provide your readers with perspective on how you created this idea. Highlight your skills and what you uniquely bring to the business.
You will want to explore several areas of the business including:
- Operation or Production Methods
A logistical discussion is key here. If you are adding a salt cave to a pre-existing spa, do you lease or own your facility? How will the salt cave be built, and by whom? Will your space include a reception area, bathroom, alternate treatment rooms, a retail area? Try to think of all the logistics necessary to make it work.
It’s not enough to build a salt cave, you also need to promote it to draw in clients. There are myriad ways you can promote this business, whether through your website, social media, print or digital media, or even direct mail. Once you think about who your target market(s) will be, you can decide what the most effective marketing channels are for leveraging your business.
- Organizational Structure
Give some thought to your organizational structure. Who will be a part of the team? What roles and responsibilities will these people have now, and in the future? Working through these questions will help you maximize every individual’s ability toward future growth.
- Assessment of Risk & Competitors
Demonstrate an understanding of the competitive landscape by describing your competitors and the services that differentiate them. Talk about their strengths and, of course, their weaknesses, too.
Consider possible threats or risks to the business. If you cannot find any business risks, you’re probably not looking hard enough. Investors want to see that you have identified potential risks, including barriers to entry. Having a strategy to overcome these hurdles will provide confidence in your vision.
- Financial Plan
Here you must include your start-up costs and projected income statements, as well as balance sheets and cash flow statements. It is not uncommon for this section to be prepared by someone else, like an accountant. If this is the case, it is vital they explain all the ins and outs of the statements to you, especially all assumptions made in the projections. Being credible here goes a long way. For example, if you are showing 100 sessions in the salt cave for the first month, and 1,000 sessions for month 2, you may lose credibility without a really good rationale backing your growth.
Once you’ve adequately summarized your venture proposal, consider adding these components to round out a fully comprehensive plan.
Supplying references and additional research to support your proposal, in the form of articles, websites or market research, is a nice bonus that can help flesh out your own ideas. Just remember, give proper attribution to your sources. Credit where credit is due.
- Biographies of Key Personnel
Although you find it at the end, this is arguably one of the more important sections, as some investors provide funds purely on the basis of the people involved. This is yet another opportunity to show what you and other team members bring to the table.
There you have it. A well-researched and strategic business plan with aplomb, setting you up for success. It tastes sweet, maybe a little salty?