The start of a successful microbrewery is composed of a ton of elements working synchronously. While the beer industry is a unique one, it shares many of the same business principles as companies in other sectors; one of these principles is establishing a business plan when beginning any new company.
So what is a business plan exactly? Oxford Languages describes a business plan as “a document setting out a business’s future objectives and strategies for achieving them.” Essentially, your business plan provides the groundwork upon which you’ll build your microbrewery into what you desire it to be. Let’s explore this further.
Why Are Business Plans Important?
It helps to know why building a business plan is essential before you get started writing one. Let’s take a look at some of the most important reasons:
- Idea Development – A business plan gives you the opportunity to layout any ideas and goals for your new microbrewery and see how they might realistically work or need to be altered.
- Timeline Establishment – When starting a new company, the establishment of a timeline is crucial. By setting deadlines and completion expectancy within your business plan, you can ensure you stay on course while getting your microbrewery up and running.
- Financial Guidelines – As the old adage says, “It takes money to make money.” Finances will play a vital role in the development of your microbrewery. By laying out financial guidelines, budgets, and expectations within your business plan, you can ensure you stay on track with profits and don’t overspend.
- Marketing Planning – With any business, especially new ones, marketing is extremely important. By laying out your business plan, you have a crucial opportunity to plan for sales and customer acquisitions and integrate with the other steps for a more fluid process.
- Business Model Development – When you lay out the plans for your new microbrewery, how solid does it seem? Do any potential problems or flaws stick out? By developing your business plan fully before implementation, you can often gain a unique perspective and build upon it or revise it where necessary.
- Strategic Planning – It’s crucial to know what your competitors and other microbreweries in the industry are doing. Your business plan can help you with strategizing and eventually claiming a piece of the pie for yourself.
- Investment Seeking – Are you planning to seek funding from investors for the start-up of your new microbrewery? Potential investors will want to see a clear vision and plan for your business, which can be provided through a well-crafted business plan.
Do This First
Before you begin drafting your business plan, it’s vital that you have a clear understanding of the goals and expectations you have for your microbrewery. Setting your goals will lay the framework for the remainder of your plans to come. Take a moment to simply consider the objectives you have in mind for your microbrewery; don’t attempt to establish your plan for accomplishment yet. Here’s how to begin and what to consider with your goal development:
- Vision – You’ll need to consider the vision you have for your new business carefully. What is the end goal of starting your microbrewery? What would you like to accomplish with your business? Why is this move important to you, and how will it be necessary to other people? Answering these and other similar questions can help provide you with clear and established expectations.
- Financial – Finances will play an essential role in the successful launch of your new microbrewery. Specifically, it’s important to have a good idea of where you desire your financial margins to be and how you would like to see growth. Staying realistic when setting financial goals is critical.
- Expansion – How big do you plan to go with your new business? Are you hoping to keep things small, or do you have dreams of going big? By establishing how you expect and desire for your microbrewery to grow can help you with navigating future business decisions.
- Timelines – To keep your goals achievable, deadlines for completion must be established; doing this can help ensure you stay on track. It’s important that you revisit your goals from time-to-time to check in on completion and to make sure things are running on schedule.
What Elements Make Up a Business Plan?
The underlying construct of a business plan is generally the same across different industries. Below are the elements you’ll want to make sure are included:
- Contents – Your business plan should begin by laying out what is to be expected within and what page each section can be found on for quick reference.
- Statement of Purpose – The statement of purpose provides a brief summary of your business plan and your aspirations with beginning your microbrewery. Writing this portion at the end of crafting your business plan is generally more manageable since you’ll have a good grasp of all components by that time.
- Overview – This section of your business plan is going to provide basic details about your microbrewery and should include:
- Microbrewery name, including any DBA (doing business as)
- Microbrewery established date
- Contact information, including phone number and email address
- Bank information
- Website and social media information
- Description – In this section, you’ll begin to develop the details of your microbrewery and lay out what you expect your business to look like. Your microbrewery description should include the following information:
- The mission statement of your brewery
- Legal business registration (corporation, partnership, LLC., sole proprietorship, or otherwise)
- Desired or current location of microbrewery
- Personal goals for the microbrewery
- Professional goals for the microbrewery
- Listing of products and services
- Market Assessment – This section mainly describes how you plan for your microbrewery to succeed within its market. You and your investors should be given a clear idea of the plan of action. This section should include details on the following:
- Researched market size and demographics
- Growth trends and expectations
- Target market description
- Sales expectations
- Branding plans for your microbrewery
- Analysis of competition within the industry
- Operational Plan – The operational plan portion of your business plan will outline current and expected staff needs, day-to-day functional components, microbrewery supply needs, and licensing and insurance requirements.
- Finances – You’ll definitely want to approach the financial section with care. Laying out the details of your financial plan will help guide you as you build your microbrewery business and provide valuable information for potential investors. You should include expected expenses, sales forecasts, start-up expenses, and day-to-day expenses in this section of your business plan.
- Summary – The summary of your microbrewery business plan essentially ties everything together. Be sure to include final notes on why you expect your microbrewery to succeed and summarize the components you need to ensure this success.
- Corresponding Paperwork – If you have any pertinent letters of recommendation, contracts, customer testimonials, or other legal documents, they should be included with your business plan.
Tips for Your Microbrewery Business Plan
The microbrewery industry is a unique and challenging one. To formulate a successful business plan, it’s crucial that you address the unique challenges of your microbrewery head-on. Here are five industry tips to help:
- Focus on the Equipment – The equipment of your microbrewery is the backbone for its functionality and success. Without continued access to things like storage tanks, fermentation tanks, kegs, cleaning equipment, bottling equipment, and more, your brewery will not succeed. Be sure to layout an exact financial plan for acquiring and maintaining necessary brewery equipment.
- Location Is Important – The location needs of your microbrewery will be anything but micro. When considering the site for your new business, be sure to take machinery and equipment needs, as well as supporting plumbing and electrical structures.
- Include a Plan for Failure – If your brewery incurs damage, or a machine breaks down, what’s your plan to continue operations? Problems are inevitable with any business; it’s important to plan ahead for issues and demonstrate this preparedness to investors to ensure confidence.
- Start-up Costs – Starting a microbrewery will be expensive and take a decent amount of funding upfront. Careful focus must be placed in the financial portion of your business plan so you can plan accordingly. When building your plan, consider things like loan needs, plans and timelines for repayment, lines of credit needed, and projected operational costs.
- Establish a Support Network – Whether it’s personal motivational support, financial support, or business guidance, it’s crucial to have access to a network of support to help you along your new business journey. It definitely won’t be easy starting your microbrewery, but it’s well worth it in the end.