Every brewery needs a business plan. This is a fact. Even those of you who don’t have to worry about fundraising (the very few) should have a business plan that sets projections, rules and goals. This is vital to the success of a brewery.
A business plan is not the “pitch plan” that many think that is. A business plan is an instruction manual for your brewery, establishing the rules and regulations with which you will operate, the financial goals that you seek to attain and the market factors that mean everything to your success. So, be sure to begin the conversation about your business plan sooner, rather than later.
Because I too have drafted a brewery business plan – both for clients and my own project – I know that the tast can be daunting. A proper business plan covers industry material, financials, materials supply, business operation and ownership. A lot of these things can be tough to define, and sometimes it is most difficult to figure out where to start.
My personal preference is to build an outline of the vital portions of the business plan. Once you have it organized, start writing. If you are hard up for materials pricing, industry numbers and other data, please don’t forget about the Brewers Association. The Association’s website has oodles of information that can be extremely helpful to you as you build your plan. For $195.00, a brewery in planning can join and get all of the same benefits that are available to existing breweries. So, please, don’t delay in joining.
I know that still many of you might fear getting started. There are a number of pre-written outlines available on the WWW that might be of interest to you. I have not had the opportunity to scan them all for content, but there are many out there.
One in particular that I think can provide a good starting point is the Business Plan for a Microbrewery published by MBA, Nat Chiaffarano. You can download the business plan documents (a fill in form) for as little as $30 and as much as $70, depending on the girth.
While you can always rely on a pre-written plan to get a head start, you should remember that you can benefit immensely from penning your own custom plan. But whatever you do – make sure you have a plan.