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Sample Business Plans

This is a sample business plan for Go Green Yoga Mats. This sample is an example of a customized level 2 business plan. The links at the right can be used for simple navigation between sections of the business plan. The plan starts below with the executive summary.

Contents

Executive Summary

History

Go Green Yoga Mats sells eco-friendly yoga products in the continental U.S. and was established in 2008. Owners Tyler and Hunter Jensen are determined to make gogreenyogamats.com the #1 seller of eco-friendly yoga packages and products in the United States. We will be successful through good business practices, fast delivery, quality products, and a great marketing plan.

Marketing

The yoga industry has 16 million participants and is continuing to grow.[1] The green movement is also on the rise with people becoming more conscious about how the decisions they make will affect the environment. Consumers are spending more time researching products online and then making purchases, instead of always going to a brick and mortar store.

There are several competitors in this industry and including large organizations with online and brick and mortar stores and smaller companies that only sell online. Go Green Yoga Mats plans to set themselves apart through their high quality products and package deals. They offer a variety of eco-friendly yoga mats and package deals for consumers to choose from. They even have a “MATmatcher” to help customers determine what option is best for them. All of their products are sold at the same or lower price than their competitors making them a better choice for most consumers. The website also contains additional information about yoga so consumers can continue to gain more knowledge about the industry while they shop.

The key in this industry is to create a user friendly and trust worthy company that sells high quality eco-friendly products with great customer service.

Go Green Yoga Mats marketing goals are to increase our website traffic by 15 percent each month. They plan for their sales on e-bay to have a similar increase, 15 percent per month.

Financials

The company is expect to generate $355,000 at the end of the second year with very low overhead

Operations

Hunter Jensen and his team of four staff members handle software development and some marketing at the Pacific Beach office. Accounting, customer service, marketing, and order fulfillment are handled by Tyler Jensen and a team of three to four staff members at the Solana Beach office.

Mission Statement

Go Green Yoga Mats is dedicated to selling high quality, “green” yoga products to the eco-minded individual through individual mat sales and discounted package deals. Our superior products and fast delivery are sure to create satisfied customers! We believe business can change the world; and through the eco movement, gogreenyogamats.com sets out to make positive impacts on the environment while delivering the products our consumers need.

Core Values

High Quality
Environmental Awareness
Customer Service
Balance

Core Purpose

Provide yoga enthusiasts with high quality yoga products from a trusted source while considering our environmental impact.

PRODUCT & SERVICE DESCRIPTION

Go Green Yoga Mats is an online based company created in August of 2008. That has set out to provide customers with eco-friendly yoga mats and products that help protect and keep the environment safe for generations to come. Gogreenyogamats.com does not sell any products containing more than 1% PVC. Why PVC is bad for our environment:
PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic, commonly referred to as vinyl, is one of the most hazardous consumer products ever created.
Most consumers do not know that a 3 in the recycle symbol indicates that the plastic is made of PVC. PVC cannot be effectively recycled due to the many different toxic additives used. One PVC bottle can contaminate a recycling batch of 100,000 bottles. Less than 1% of PVC is recycled!
When produced or burned, PVC plastic releases dioxins, a group of the most potent synthetic chemicals ever tested, which can cause cancer and harm the immune and reproductive systems.
Health risks include angiosarcoma of the liver, lung cancer, brain cancer, lymphomas, leukemia, and liver cirrhosis.
Communities surrounding vinyl chloride facilities suffer from groundwater and air pollution.
New car smell? New shower curtain smell? That’s the smell of poisonous chemicals off-gassing from the PVC. Our bodies are contaminated with poisonous chemicals released during the PVC lifecycle, such as mercury, dioxins, and phthalates, which may pose irreversible life-long health threats.

Go Green Yoga Mats provides people with yoga packages that are put together with the yoga user in mind. They set themselves apart from other companies with their unique packages and brand comparisons that other companies are not offering. Go Green Yoga Mats provides mats as package deals to save consumers money. Go Green Yoga Mats will provide fast, reliable, and quality products to consumers to help them better their lives in the area of health and well-being.

Go Green Yoga Mats distributes Manduka and Jade Yoga products. Manduka and JadeYoga handle the inventory and shipping of the products through a drop-shipping program. Orders are sent to Manduka or Jade Yoga via e-mail, the order is placed and shipped to the customer’s location accordingly. We will create a pricing market that is equal to Manduka, JadeYoga, and our competitors.

Product Development Activities

We plan to expand our product line to include other green yoga related products. This may include training videos, clothing, and other yoga accessories.

Customer service

Go Green Yoga Mats has set up a return policy for both damaged mats and when consumers change their minds. For damaged mats, Go Green Yoga Mats must be notified within 3 days of the consumer receiving the product or no refund/exchange will be possible.
Go Green Yoga Mats accepts returns or exchanges up to 30 days from the date of purchase. There is a $15.00 restocking fee for all non-defective Go Green Yoga Mats merchandise that is returned out of the original packaging. In order to process a return/exchange, we must receive ALL of the following:
Returned merchandise in clean condition
Proof of purchase (i.e. sales receipt)
Return Authorization Form

MARKET ANALYSIS

Market Segmentation

The market segmentation for Go Green Yoga Mats reaches four potential segments; women, 23-34 and 35-55, men and yoga instructors. People who practice yoga often have a median income of $75,000 or higher[1] and are looking for health benefits and stress reduction. Go Green Yoga Mats has something to offer all yoga students whether they are concerned with website security and accessibility or focused on getting high quality eco-friendly products.

Market Trends & Growth Patterns

Women
According to the US Census Bureau, as of 2008, Women between the ages of 25-44 accounted for 26.18% of the US female population, approximately 40.9 million people. As a percentage of the total population, this segment is projected decrease slightly to 25.68% of women by 2020. However, this will still result in a population increase, to an estimated 43.5 million people in 2020. Overall, the Census Bureau predicts a slow but steady increase in this population over the next decade.[2]
Yoga
A 2008 study indicated that almost half (49.4%) of current yoga students began practicing to improve their overall health, which has grown since 2003 when that number was 5.6%. Nearly 8%, or 18.3 million Americans, say they are very or extremely interested in yoga and 4.1% of non-practitioners, or about 9.4 million people, say they will definitely try yoga within the next year.[3]
“Green”
Mintel forecasts that there will be a 19% growth for green products by 2013.[4] About 50% of women say are looking for more green options. 37% say they are paying more attention to brands that are committed to environmental causes and of all the products in woman’s shopping carts today, 25% of them are environmentally friendly.[5] 30% of American consumers are willing to pay up to a 20% premium on clean, green products over non-sustainable alternatives.[6]
Online
Consumers are spending more time investigating what brands are doing before buying products.[7] Currently approximately 63% of online shoppers are women.[8] These positive trends in online shopping and green products suggest strong market growth for Go Green Yoga Mats.

Market Size and Potential

Women
72% of yoga practitioners are women who do the main purchasing for the household.
Yoga
Go Green Yoga Mats market size consists of the entire population of yoga practitioners, approximately 15.8 million people.[9]
“Green”
The green movement is continuing on the rise, growing around 5% per year.[10]
Online
In today’s market place more people are buying online, which is currently averaging around 68 million online shoppers.[11] Go Green Yoga Mats has a large market size of individuals that shop online for green yoga products.

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Industry Overview

Size
The NAICS Code is 451110 – Sporting Goods Stores, subsector 454 – non store retailers. The SIC Code is 5941 – Exercise equipment stores. These two code numbers represent the industry
classifications. The Sporting goods stores industry contains approximately 18,390 firms[1], that vary from online small stores to large nationwide organizations.

Industry Statistics

The Yoga Journal estimated that in 2008 Americans spent $5.7 billion a year on yoga classes and products, including equipment, clothing, vacations and media (DVDs, videos, books and magazines). This figure represents an increase of 87 percent compared to the previous study in 2004—almost double of what was previously spent.[2]
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides projection data for fitness trainers and aerobics instructors. It has projected that the 2008 employment figure of 261,100 will increase to 337, 900 by the year 2018. This includes an increase of 76,800 jobs available within the yoga sector and sums up to a 29% increase.2 The North American Studio Alliance (NAMSTA) estimates that there are approximately 70,000 yoga teachers in North America.[3] The yoga mat industry clearly will benefit with this projected increase of yoga professionals.
Yoga instructors now need specialized training in their particular method of exercise. There are several types of training programs for instructors that range from online programs to programs that give the title of Registered Yoga Teacher. Most yoga studios require teachers to complete a 200-500 hour program which helps to standardize the industry.[4] This allows yoga participants to feel more confident in the yoga studios and their instructors.

History

Yoga has been around for thousands of years, but really took hold around the 1960’s as more types of yoga become available for a wider variety of participants.[5] Today millions of people practice yoga. The trend is credited to people looking for natural remedies to health problems and individuals looking to improve their overall health and quality of life.[6]

Economic Factors

The recession has created a new segment of cash-strapped individuals, looking for inexpensive new ways to exercise. Yoga and cardio kickboxing were among the biggest gainers from 2008 to 2009. Purchases of yoga instructions, mats and supplies continue to increase in a health and money conscious market place.[7] During this economic down turn green businesses are still surviving. Many companies are seeing the green movement as a way to cut costs and improve their reputation. Businesses are using the movement to improve operations, foster innovation, engage employees and satisfy customers.[8] Online shopping is also becoming increasingly popular during the recession because consumers can research products in advance and find what they want at the least expensive price out there. [9]

Major Trade Organization Contributors:

Bureau of Labor Statistics run by the United States Department of Labor (Occupational Outlook Handbook)
The 2010 Statistical Abstract Report collected by the U.S Census Bureau[10]
YogaDayUSA.org operated by Yoga Alliance (Integrity. Diversity. Community)[11]
YogaJournal.com continues to expand and provide necessary information for those with yoga on mind. [12]
Blog sites like www.life.gaiam.com provides insightful and up to date information regarding the new current trends taking place in the yoga industry. The site is well aware that despite the economy and the recession, there was constant growth and expansion in the yoga world.[13]

Industry Participants

In the yoga industry the size of organizations varies widely. Many of the larger organizations have both an online and mortar and brick store. This gives consumers a chance to see the products in person. For example large organizations include Luluemon Athletica and Prana, who have both online, and brick and mortar stores. Gaiam has only online stores. Other organizations tend to be smaller with only online stores. These stores usually sell a variety of products from various brands, focusing on lower costs and strong customer service. Some do have their own brand and often focus on a higher quality product that consumers are willing to pay for. These smaller companies include Yoga-Clothing.com, Barefoot Yoga.

Industry Trends & Growth

Yoga
The yoga industry continues to grow almost every year. According to the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), yoga has the second highest growth rate among sports and recreation activities. Following closely behind running/jogging, in 2008 yoga had a growth rate of 17.1% reaching about 16 million participants.[14]

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has also become increasingly popular in the past several years. Based on data from 2007 approximately 38% of adults in the past 12 months spent 34 billion on CAM. Self care accounted for 22 billion of the market and 4 billion of that was spent on classes such as yoga and tai chi.[15]

The U.S Census Report Health and Nutrition (Table 161) “Adults 18 years and over who used complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the past 12 months by selected type of therapy 2002 and 2007″ shows that between the years 2002-2007 there was a 26.8 percent increase from 10,386,000 to 13,172,000 in the usage of yoga practices. A 26.8 percent increase within the 5 year bracket shows that yoga is a growing industry and an increasingly common method of alternative medicine. [16]

Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that jobs for fitness workers are expected to increase much faster than the average for all occupations, because of continued job growth in health clubs, fitness facilities and other settings in which fitness workers are concentrated.[17]

“Green”
Green businesses are also becoming increasingly popular. Over the last three years (2004-2007) they have grown at a rate of 5% annually.[18]

Online

The online shopping industry is continuing to grow every year. The industry is expected to double over the next five years to 132 million users. A recent study also showed that 19% of internet users shop online at least once a week and this is expected to continue to grow.[19]
The online, green and yoga industries will allow them to get the information and products they need to find alternative methods to stay healthy, in shape and environmentally friendly.

Industry Improvements and Developments

The green industry is continuing to grow in this economy because many organizations are using environmental improvements and innovations to get through lean times and give them a way to rebound as the economy improves. The green industry is continuing to educate the public, which is leading companies to not only move towards greener organizations, but to also share how their organization is effecting the environment. This allows consumers to make smarter choices about the products and services they will use.[20]
The online shopping industry is ever evolving. As more consumers shop online there are increased expectations on how user friendly websites are and the experience they have while shopping. Consumers are normally shopping sites looking for the best deal out there. This forces organizations to try to turn price hunters in to loyal followers to continue to increase revenues.[21]
The yoga industry, although growing, continues to face many misconceptions that make people cautious about taking part in this healthy practice. In December 2009, a survey was conducted on behalf of Yoga Alliance to identify those factors that may be inhibiting people from beginning a yoga practice. These factors include beliefs that yoga is religious, only flexible people can practice yoga and doubts that yoga is really exercise. Yoga Alliance is focused on increasing education about yoga, through online information and word of mouth, and establishing requirements for teachers and schools in order to help encourage new people to give it a try.[22]
Developments such as the recent Lululemon Athletica Inc. profit increase shows what is happening in the yoga sector. The Vancouver based company released better-than-expected 2009 fourth-quarter results and an upbeat outlook. Investors rewarded it by sending its stock to a 52-week high after it had quadrupled in value over the past year.[23] Yoga retailers are doing a great job in keeping customers satisfied with a variety of yoga commodities.
The yoga, green and online shopping industries will continue to thrive, according to the statistics and information that are currently available. As the industries continue to grow, yoga supplies will continue to be in high demand, more companies will move more toward green methods and online stores will continue to pop up. The market is expected to grow as individuals become more aware of eco-friendly yoga mats and the availability of them online.

COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS

Competitive Overview

Go Green Yoga Mats is in the yoga industry and is focused on selling eco-friendly yoga products. Their main competition rests in companies that sell eco-friendly yoga mats, bags, and props. Go Green Yoga Mats products stand out compared to others by means of quality and by offering package deals. They also offer a variety of eco-friendly yoga mats for customers to compare.

Go Green Yoga Mats’ direct competitors are other online distributers of yoga products. Some of the competitors compile all the top brand names to sell on their sites. Consumers will continue to do more research on companies, products and pricing as more information is available to them online.
Direct Competitors: Gaiam, Barefoot Yoga, Yoga-Clothing.com, Manduka and Jade Yoga.

Indirect Competitors: include all companies that sell yoga products, but don’t offer green products, or sell their products online.

Indirect competition comes in many forms including offline retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target. They are indirect competitors that offer inexpensive yoga products with the appeal of instant gratification (no wait time to receive your product). However, the low-quality, short product life, and the lack of eco-friendliness create a consumer market that we are not targeting. Other indirect competitors include Amazon and Lululemon Athletica, which are large companies.

Market Share Analysis

Exact market size for online eco-friendly yoga stores is difficult to determine because many of these businesses are private. There are a small number of dominant organizations with significant market share, but most of these companies also have brick and mortar stores in addition to their online sales. The major organizations in the market include Lululemon Athletica, who has a brick and mortar store along with online shopping and net revenue increase 54.5% in the last year[1], and Gaiam and Amazon, who sell solely online. These stores are either well branded or have a wide variety of options, and have some focus on eco-friendly products. Many companies sell yoga products as part of a much wider line, such as Amazon, Wal-Mart, etc

Competitive Advantages

Go Green Yoga Mats only carries organic, toxin free, naturally made mats with no exceptions. Their premium yoga mats are made with only all natural products, contain no harmful substances like PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and are lovingly crafted using sustainable green practices. Go Green Yoga Mats products stand out from their competitors due to their high quality and package deals. They offer a variety of eco-friendly yoga mats for customers to be able to compare to determine what option is best for them. The website also contains additional information about yoga so consumers can continue to gain more knowledge about the industry.

Barriers to Entry

There are few barriers to entry in the yoga product distribution industry, due to the nature of the industry and the organization being online. The most relevant barrier of entry for this organization would be brand recognition. Many of the organizations have very strong brands which get consumers attention and loyalty. Getting our name heard and our website viewed will be the main challenge, though our prices, packages, and quality of products will be on our side. Marketing and advertising are another potential barrier due to the size of the competition and the money they are willing to spend to get there brand noticed.

Product Description

Product Description

Definition

In this section you get the chance to clearly explain what products or services your business will offer. The information provided in this section will become the basis of your marketing plan. It should be written so the reader can easily understand what the product is, and what it does. You should never assume that your product will sell itself, so you must always include a detailed description of the product using specifics and no vague language.

In addition to a comprehensive explanation of your product, the Product Description should also compare your product to other similar products on the market. This gives you the opportunity to clearly define what advantages your product has over the competition, as well as address any weaknesses that you may need to improve upon.

What’s in it

A Product Description contains an overview of your product or service, its features, benefits, and advantages, as well as any product development activities or liability issues. The overview should paint a complete picture of the product by answering the following questions in detail:

1. What exactly is the product or service you are going to offer?

2. What exactly does this product or service do?

3. How does the product or service perform its function?

If possible, it is a great idea to add pictures, blueprints, or any other graphical descriptions of your product to give as clear of an explanation of your product as possible. By doing this in comparison with other competing products, you can make it clear why your product stands out amongst the competition.

The product summary should also take time to focus on the problem(s) that your product will solve. In addition to an explanation of the problems, you should also discuss what the causes are, how the product solves these problems, and the benefits to potential customers. A complete description of your product, the problems it solves, and a comparison with competitors should all work to make a case as to why your product will be successful.

Overview of the Stages of a Business

Overview of the Stages of a Business

Definition

The business life cycle is broken down into 5 main sections. They are the seed stage, the launch stage, the startup stage, the growth/automation stage, and the maturity stage.

Beginning Stages

The seed stage includes all the planning and other processes involved in preparing for launch. The launch stage, rather than a process, is the moment when your company goes from planning and preparation to being open for business and accepting customers. Once your launch occurs, you are in the startup stage. In this make or break stage, your goals are to establish a customer base and a solid presence in the market that will sustain your company without running of resources.

Growth Stages

Once you’ve developed a customer base and proven your product in the startup stage, you will move into the growth and automation stage. In this stage, the major goals are to accelerate your company’s growth to scale up your business, while implementing automation systems and adding employees to fulfill the needs of a larger business. In this section, the CEO shifts focus from the day to day operations of the business to planning and strategizing the future vision of the company.

When the growth and automation stage is complete, the company has reached the maturity stage. At this point of success, the owner faces the choice of how to proceed with the company. The Company is now a profitable asset, and the owner has the opportunity to choose what his future with the company will look like. The owner may choose to continue running the company, or sell it for a profit.

Mission Statement

Mission Statement

Definition

Your company’s Mission Statement represents your company’s beliefs and values. When writing a Mission Statement, you are writing your organization’s primary goal and purpose.

Also within a Mission Statement are a company’s Core Values and Core Purpose. A company’s Core Values are qualities that the company would not give up, no matter what, even if it meant going out of business. A Core Purpose is the reason that the company is in existence. The Core Purpose gives meaning to what the company or organization is doing and it will guide the company through both good and bad phases.

What’s in it

The Mission Statement, Core Values, and Core Purpose section is usually the shortest section of the business plan, containing only a few phrases or sentences. A Mission Statement is usually only a sentence or two, giving a complete and inspiring description of your company’s main goal. Core values are a short list of words or phrases that all members of the company will strive to embody. The Core Purpose is usually only one sentence, and is the most basic definition of what the company does.

Why it’s important

It is an opportunity to show your passion for what you wish to accomplish and how you will go about doing so. More importantly, this section of your business plan serves to create the identity of your company. The Mission, Purpose, and Values that you state here will guide you and your team members through all of the challenges and successes that lay ahead of you in your business venture.

Marketing Plan

Marketing Plan

The Marketing Plan is a document to comprehensively organize a company’s marketing strategy and efforts. The marketing plan typically includes:

  • An overview of the sales goals, contact types, sales funnel, target market, marketing goals, timeline, budget, and marketing team
  • A market analysis of market segmentation, market trends and growth patterns, market size and potential and target market information
  • An industry analysis with an industry overview, industry participants and industry trends and growth patterns
  • A competitive analysis with a competitive overview, market share analysis, listing of direct competitors and indirect competitors, competitive advantages and barriers to entry
  • A product description with an overview of products and services, product and service advantages and product liability
  • A statement of the company’s mission, vision, core values and purpose
  • A strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis
  • A positioning statement
  • A branding section with a company overview, current client profile and ideal client profile
  • A pricing strategy
  • A customer service plan
  • And a section on marketing strategies, overviewing the marketing programs, direct sales plans, planned networking events, advertising, the referral program and strategic partnerships.

Business Plan

Business Plan

Contents

Definition

A business plan is a document that clearly communicates what your company does, identifies your goals, and shows potential investors how you plan on being successful. It will act as a road map, giving you an idea about what audience to target and how to go about doing it. Creating a business plan also gives your business focus so you can put all the puzzle pieces together and create a strategy and plan for how the company is going to succeed.

Major Uses of a Business Plan

Funding:
Often the primary purpose of a business plan, raising enough funds helps to minimize early problems of a startup company. By presenting a business plan to investors like angel investors, and venture capitalists, they can assess the potential of your company. The better researched, written, and presented business plans often receive the most initial investment.

Strategic Planning:
Strategic Planning is defined as a structured process of outlining an organization’s direction, vision, and overall business strategy. By performing many of the key elements initially proposed in a business plan, these strategic plans can go a long way towards shaping a business. Examples of Strategic Planning include SWOT Analysis and Operational Plans.

Major Sections of a Business Plan

Although there are variations of business plan layouts, the following categories are major sections that are found in almost all plans. They are often listed in the Business Plan Table of Contents, along with subcategories under each of the major sections.

Executive Summary

Mission Statement

Product Description

-Market Analysis

-Industry Analysis

-Competitive Analysis

-Marketing Plan

-Operations Plan

-Management Team

-Financial Projections

Major Benefits of a Business Plan

1. Receive Investment

One of the most common reasons that entrepreneurs write a business plan is to raise funds from financial institutions like angel investors, and venture capitalists, and others. Before betting on you, they want to learn as much as possibly about your business. A business plan is an effective, and often required, tool that you can use to give investors all of the information they need and to demonstrate that you are a credible entrepreneur.

2. Examine your weak spots

When starting a business, it is easy to focus on some aspects of the company and forget others, especially if you are very strong in one area but weak elsewhere. By writing a complete business plan, you are forced to examine all areas of your business and build strong strategies that will prepare you for successful execution when launching. It will help you eliminate any grey areas in your business as it will force you to answer tough questions and provide specific information about your business.

3. Create a Framework

A business plan provides a framework of where you are and where you want to be by outlining certain action items, next steps and future activities. By revisiting and updating your plan every few months, you will be able to apply what you’ve learned through operations to your strategy and stay focused on your high level goals.

4. Enroll Strategic Partners

Many small businesses are unable to succeed by themselves and require skilled partners to jointly build their business. Most well-qualified potential partners will have many questions that must be answered before signing on. With a business plan in place, you’ll be able to communicate your high level vision, clearly articulate your strategy and show any potential partner where they fit into it all.

See also Marketing Plan