A balloon business plan does not need to be complicated. In fact, it's best when you are starting out to get basic questions answered so you can formulate a plan going forward.
The idea of a business plan at all is to guide your efforts in a profitable direction. The old adage of "fail to plan then you plan to fail" has truth to it. Any business you get involved requires planning.
It doesn't need to be 200 hundred pages of planning, but you must be able to answer some basic questions to get going.
Keep in mind, too, a business plan is used to get money from banks or credit unions. Financial institutions need to understand what you business is about and specifically how you make money and what, if any, contingencies you may have when things don't go as planned.
So, in this case, you'll want to do a little homework. Sit down with a pen a paper or laptop and think about the following questions.
1. What is your company name?
Try out your company name ideas on friends and family. You want honest feedback about how your business name sounds and whether it's easy to pronounce and to remember. Ideally your business name is short and conveys the service your provide. Of course, Hooray Balloons Kids Entertainment is not short, but does convey the idea I provide children's entertainment.
You will want to check whether the business name you want is available as a .com on either GoDaddy or Name.com. And, too, you will need to check if it's available on social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or any other social channels of interest.
2. What is your company tagline (if you have one)?
Taglines, while not critical to your business, further assist your target market to understand what you do for them. Nike's Just Do It is the quintessential example of a terrific tagline. Now you may not be able to get your tagline down to three compelling words, but you can create one and use it for now. As time goes by, you will adjust your tagline to better fit your market, but don't spend an enormous amount of time figuring this out for your balloon business plan. Give yourself a few hours and move on.
3. What services do you provide?
Twisting balloon animals at private parties and corporate events is a service you can provide. However, you may want to offer balloon workshops for summer camps or centerpieces for businesses or balloon decor. Balloon decor can - and often is - it's own service. Determine the type of service or services you want to offer.
4. What problem do you solve?
Solving your customer's problem is critical. Folks searching online are looking for solutions to their problems. Maybe their problem is entertainment for their one-year-old's party? You can provide the solution by offering to twist balloon animals. Or maybe their problem is getting an organic balloon arch for their wedding reception? Understand the problem you want to solve and focus on providing services that do just that.
Your balloon business plan must identify the problem or problems your business will solve. Without this information it will be difficult to have a balloon business to begin with so knowing this is essential.
5. Who is your target audience or what does your ideal client look like?
My target audience for my balloon business plan is busy moms. If you're not a busy mom you are not my target market. If you're a busy dad you are not my target market. This does not mean busy dads do not call me because they do, but there are not many dads who book my services.
moms book me and you need to know who is booking you. Is it busy moms?
Is it some particular segment of your local population booking your
services? Figure this out and direct all of your marketing messaging
towards them. You'll get others hiring you, too, but you must serve a
specific target market and not fall into the trap of serving everyone.
6. What is your Unique Selling Proposition "USP"?
Important to your balloon business plan is your USP is what makes YOU different from your competition. Maybe your competition is offering costume characters for parties? How are you different from them? Research your local competition to understand what they are offering and how you can do it better.
7. How much do you charge?
This is a question everyone struggles with as it's not easy to put a price on your skills. You also need to consider all the incidental expenses such as travel, gas, tolls, time, training, supplies, equipment, insurance, advertising and other stuff. Get these numbers straight so you can figure out what to charge to make money and be profitable.
8. What is your monthly revenue goal?
With a balloon business plan you need to know what you want to earn each month. It can be a $1,000, $5,000 or $10,000, but you need this number in order to focus your efforts. No revenue goal makes your business lose direction. You will also find it difficult to ask for and get funding if you decide to apply for loans.
9. How many new or repeat clients do you need to achieve this goal?
This question closely ties in with number 8 above. Know whether or not you will have repeat customers to determine your marketing budget. If you have repeat customers you won't need to spend much on advertising. Repeat customers save you the hassle of always trying to get new customers. Absolutely keep repeat customers happy with your services, but if you need new customers each month, plan to spend money on marketing campaigns.
10. How do you get new clients?
Your balloon business plan must outline how you'll get new clients. The answer to this question is critical to your business.
Will you join local business groups such as a Chamber of Commerce in your area? Will you become a speaker on your balloon business to establish your authority and gain customers this way? Will you advertise in the local newspaper? Is knocking on the doors of local businesses for balloon decor work in your plans? If not, what is? Really sit down and consider how you get new clients and most importantly how you'll keep them happy with you.
11. How will you fulfill your services? Who makes up your production team?
This two part question helps you think about your logistics. If your focus is to offer balloon decor to the wedding industry and specifically to brides, you must know how you will render services. This entails having vehicles to bring decor with you and will you do all of this yourself? Consider getting an intern or part time help or a spouse or friend to assist you with decor work. You want to be clear for yourself and your balloon business plan as to how you'll execute your services.
12. Who are the other key players of your team? List their names and titles.
If you are doing a balloon business with your spouse, for example, or a sibling or friend, commit to writing the names and titles of everyone on your team. Anyone working with you in your business needs to know their role. This help avoid misunderstandings down the road and particularly as you earn more revenue and need to expand your operations.
13. How do you measure success (number of clients, monthly revenue, etc.)?
Understand for yourself what success looks like for you. Maybe it means you have 20 clients a month you serve or maybe it's less clients but you earn "X" number of dollars each month to enjoy vacations and time with your family.
When you do consider putting together a balloon business plan know that it doesn't need to be complicated. It does however, need to provide you an actionable plan so that you can move your business from idea to execution. It's also a living document in sense it will grow and change with you as your business grows and expands.