On the Merit of a Business Plan

business plan template small business tourism operators Jan 07, 2022

Welcome to 2022!  For us here at Firecircle, the beginning of a new fiscal quarter. The holidays were a reset and gave us a wink of time to think about the future.

We've been working on our quarterly business plan - part of our larger annual plan - which is in turn part of our multi-year plan.  And for many of our tourism and hospitality clients, we're helping them with theirs. 

A lot of tourism business owners get started without a business plan. There so much available information online and from e-commerce platforms that they take a course here and there, watch a few videos and jump right in. It's not surprising that many tourism businesses would ask, "Why do I need a business plan?"

For many small business owners, a business plan is a vague and scary document that  other people do – but not them!!!  The thought of having to produce a business plan gives most people the chills. It’s intimidating, it’s hard, and for many tourism entrepreneurs, it’s really not where they want to be spending their time.

But guess what? You need one. It’s your map. Your guidebook. It’s the organization of your thoughts and plans. It’s your itinerary. Your business plan may evolve month by month and year by year, but it is what keeps you on track.

A business plan helps you set your goals and achieve them. It records everything you want your tourism and hospitality business to be, from your amazing vision to your unique brand story to your innovative operational and physical design, to your successful financial management.  

A well-crafted business plan is also your key to applying for sponsorship, government funding, bank loans and approaching investors. Without documenting your vision, the gap you are filling in the marketplace, the products you are offering, without describing how, where and when you will operate, who your team is made up, how much money you need to start up your business and how you anticipate your revenues, expenses, profits and cashflow will perform over the next 3 to 5 years, none of these potential sources of funds will want to talk to you.

Think of it as a sorting out of your opportunities and challenges on paper before you spend a dime. We definitely believe in not planning until it’s ‘perfect’. That may mean you never begin.  But it does make sense to work through where you think you are going before diving in blindly and then trying to sort everything out on the fly. Those operators never catch up and leave a lot of opportunity on the table – unrealized – because they didn’t map out their game plan.  

 So. Be a tourism pro. Make a plan.