By Program Coordinator, Lillian Chase
The 2023 Fall Business Lab Program is coming to a close, so I thought I would share the deliverables we ask our entrepreneurs for. The first is the business pitch, which those of you in our community get to see live and in person here at Hannah Grimes at the end of each cohort. Don’t miss our upcoming pitch event on December 6th, where you’ll learn about seven new and growing women-owned small businesses in the Monadnock Region.
The second deliverable we work with entrepreneurs to create is the business case. A business case is valuable for any entrepreneur. Before we get into the details, let’s answer a few frequently asked questions.
- What is a business case? A business case is a document that captures the essence of your business and critically important elements of your core purpose, customers, budgets, marketing, and operations.
- What’s the difference between a business plan and a business case? A business plan is traditionally more detailed and comprehensive than a business case. Crafting your business case is a great way to establish where your business is now and what your short term goals are. For business plan templates and examples, check out SBA.gov.
Let’s get into the outline of a business case.
- Executive Summary: Although it belongs at the beginning of your business case, you’ll want to write this section last because it is a distillation of everything you’ve learned and decided about your business. In 75 words or less, describe what you do, who your ideal customer is, and how your offerings help your customers. In other words, answer the question: what problems are you solving for your customers?
- Business Overview: In this section, you’ll share a little bit more about your business, including:
- Company name, tagline, and logo.
- Origin and history. Where did your business start and how did you get to where you are now?
- Mission, vision, and values. What do you stand for? What kind of organizational culture are you building?
- Ownership and legal structure. Is your business an LLC, sole proprietorship, or something else?
- Team. List your management team and any advisors or mentors that are important to you.
- Location and facilities. Do you have a brick and mortar? Are you operating out of your home? Do you sell product online?
- Technology, equipment, and tools you need to conduct your business.
- Product(s) and/or Service(s): Explain as simply as possible what your business makes or provides. Describe the basic components. What will customers be paying for? How will your product or service deliver value to customers? What problems does your business solve for its customers? How does your product or service make customers’ lives easier or better?
- Customers and Markets/Competitors: In this section, you will describe both your customers and any competitors in the market. For this, you’ll want to create a customer persona for your 2-3 primary customer types. Think about:
- Gender, age, education
- Home ownership, household income, assets
- Family status
- Hobbies and interests
- Personal values and ideals, lifestyle and career
- Health and wellness
- Marketing and Sales: Describe your core messages. What are the benefits to your customers? Why is your product or service better than your competitors’? How are you getting your message out? Website, social media, print, radio, flyers, business cards, something else? Describe how people will pay for your product or service. Are you selling online, wholesale, retail, craft fairs, business to business?
- Financial Models and Projections: Describe your revenue models. What are your streams of revenue? Sales, rentals, licensing, something else? Share your revenue projections. What is the price for your products or services? What are your sales targets or goals? When will you be paid? How will your sales grow over time? Detail your expense projections. What are your start-up expenses, including capital expenses? What are the expenses associated with producing your products or services? What are your operating expenses? In this section, you should also include when you will be profitable and how you will pay your expenses until then.
- The Next 90 Days: Create an action plan. Describe and list the critical tasks that are most important for implementation in the coming three months. This will include
- Marketing mini-campaign.
- Sales. What sales calls or offers will you make?
- Operations and finance plan. Think legal, banking, human resources, ordering, and more.
- Milestones. List the milestones that are achievable within the next 90 days.