One characteristic of successful business owners is that they focus on their goals and follow them through to the end. Without a solid business plan to guide you it is difficult to find success in any industry and the hot dog vending business is no exception.
Even if you don’t need a business plan to take to investors or potential partners you will still find one useful. It will be the central place where you can compile your thoughts, lay out you research findings and state your business goals.
The following gives you a basic outline of a hot dog stand business plan that includes details on some of the sections that you may consider including.
While this section of a business plan always comes first you should write it up last as it is basically a summary of all the other sections. It should be carefully written in a convincing manner so as to entice readers into reading the entire document.
Summarize the opportunities that you see in the market and how you intend to capitalize on those opportunities.
Table of Contents
A decent business plan for a hot dog stand should be around 10 to 30 pages. Help readers to easily navigate their way to the chapters that most interest them by including a table of contents.
Offer the reader some background information on yourself and why you want to start your own hot dog business. Also offer some background on the hot dog industry in the US at both the local and national level to give readers an idea of the scale of the opportunity.
Outline the current status of your plan if you have already completed some of the necessary steps towards getting licensed and set up.
Offer a description of the business. This section will likely include basic information like name ideas, products offered, cart details, proposed locations, opening hours and scale of the operation. Give details on the legal structure of the business and whether you will be operating as a sole proprietor or a limited liability company
Write out your vision of how you intend to develop your hot dog stand business in the future. You initial aim may be simply to have one hot dog stand operating profitably within a certain time period. Other hot dog stand entrepreneurs may intend to own and manage multiple stands within several years. More short term targets could include goals for daily revenue, the number of hot dogs sold or food cost percentages.
Set out a list of equipment and inventory that you will need to get started. Calculate anticipated startup costs and make a note of how the venture is to be funded. Set out your options and ideas for financing the project.
Go into detail about all of the licensing requirements and regulations that you must comply with in order to set up a legal hot dog business. Report on your research and discussions with health departments, police chiefs and other city or county authorities. Set out a timeline for compliance.
Write about the current state of the hot dog business in the market area that you are hoping to enter. Assess the potential that the local area has for supporting a hot dog stand at your preferred location. Set out any relevant details on the demographics of the local population and how this will influence the kind of stand that you intend on setting up. It is ideal if you can include some census data or survey some local people and present your findings.
Scout out some potential locations and then visit them during the peak hot dog business hours and see how much traffic is going by. Peak times for a hot dog stand will usually be around lunch time and dinner time unless you are in a location close to a city’s night life.
Spend some time spying on other hot dog businesses in your area. By taking note of which ones are doing good volume and which ones are not you will get ideas on where to locate your own hot dog stand and what kind of hot dogs to sell.
Write up profiles of your main competitors and try to understand how they run their businesses. Borrow and adapt characteristics of their business that work and look for weaknesses in their business models that you may be able to capitalize on. Figure out how you will differentiate your brand from theirs.
Set out a plan for bringing customers to your hot dog stand and maximizing the sales opportunity that you have with each customer. Discuss branding, signage, menus, displays, advertising, promotions, up-sells and customer service.
Make a note of all the products that you intend to sell, your pricing strategy and your reasoning behind these decisions.
Operations and Management
Outline the management structure if you are starting out with more than one owner. If multiple partners are involved then you should clearly outline the responsibilities that each partner has so that there is no confusion at a later date.
This part of the plan should also set out details of your day to day operations. Make a note of where your cart will be stored, how you will purchase and store supplies, how you will prepare and clean up and which commercial kitchen you will be using for your commissary.
Also state how you intend to comply with health department rules, safety requirements and other local regulations.
Financial Analysis and Projections
Create a spreadsheet that shows anticipated cash flow forecasts over the first few years of business for a variety of scenarios. This can be done by estimating average daily customer numbers and the average amount spent per customer. Then you can subtract your costs to get an idea of potential profits.
Try to identify a ‘break even’ point in terms of the number of hot dogs that you need to cover costs. Also include figures for a variety of different scenarios that show expected outcomes in cases where things go better or worse than expected.
Attach any supporting documentation to your business plan as an appendix. This could include your commissary agreement, reference letters or information from suppliers.
Keep a copy of your business plan on your PC as well as in files or in a binder in case of emergency. Don’t see it as being something that gets put aside once your business gets underway but rather as a guide book that is continually referred to and updated as you go along.
Don’t forget about your business plan once you have started to operate your stand. Refer to it regularly to make sure that you are on track to meet targets and don’t be afraid to make changes to where necessary.
Source by Alan Jefferson