Sunday, January 09, 2011

Business Dinner Plans

This post was originally written for Alpaca Farm Girl's blog and first published on 5MAR2009.

As alpaca owners we are often business owners.  And as business owners we are expected to have a business plan.  However, writing a business plan can be intimidating.  To me, it can be compared to dinner.  I’m going to assume that everyone reading this has eaten dinner numerous times through out their lives.  So let’s assume that our overall goal is to eat dinner (or in the case of your business plan, to make money raising alpacas).

First we need to obtain raw materials (something edible):
·        Grocery store
·        Farmer’s market
·        Your garden
·        The fridge
·        Outsource to someone else

Dinner preparation:
·        Your stove
·        Someone else’s stove
·        Grill
·        Microwave

Dinner delivery:
·        On china
·        On a paper plate
·        Eaten out of the pan while standing over the sink

And don’t forget the financing:
·        Your wallet
·        Someone else’s wallet
·        Dine and dash (not recommended)

Much like there are many ways to have dinner, there are a variety of ways to run an alpaca business.  A business plan specifies how you run your alpaca business now as well as your future goals and dreams.

To get started on your business plan you can find recipes here and here.  Fill in the ingredients you already have on hand (information you already know).  Next make a visit to the Alpaca Academy to start filling in the missing ingredients.   If there’s still a few items missing simply mark as ‘to be determined’ or ‘I don’t know yet.’  Substitutions are definitely allowed.

Remember this is your business plan. Highlight what makes you stand out from other alpaca owners.  Write it in first person and make it easy to understand.  It’s okay to use bullet points and lists.  In fact, someone outside of the alpaca industry should be able to understand why you’ve chosen to raise alpacas, how you’re going to make an income, and your goals for the future.

Once a draft is written, it’s time for a taste test.  Take your draft down to the Small Business Administration.  They’ll be able to provide valuable feedback. 

Writing a business plan takes some effort.  Don’t let all that effort go to waste by putting it aside.  The plan is a tool.  It provides the actions needed to achieve your goals.  Review the plan every six months or so.  Does it still meet your needs?  Does it need some more spice?  Do you need to cut back on the fat and carbs?  The plan doesn’t need to be rewritten.  Just add a page with the date, changes made and why the changes were made.

Meals are so integrated into our lives that most of us probably don’t even think of all the options and choices that go into them.  These same skills, which you already possess, can easily be adapted to creating your alpaca business plan. 

Bon Appetit!

On the menu:  Sweetness & Warmth

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