Many discussions we have at the Brewers Association (BA) revolve around resources and ideas specific to the beer industry. We focus on technical brewing, sourcing the right ingredients, building a brand, marketing beers, passing OSHA inspections, and TTB compliance, among others. Yet there is a foundation for breweries, brewpubs and taprooms, which is the common thread running through all businesses. This foundation is a well constructed business plan.
Learn how to create and maintain your business plan
I’m often asked what business planning resources the BA provides, and I direct members to our production statistics, benchmarking surveys, review and analysis articles, and a myriad of Craft Brewers Conference presentations. (CBC) covering specific business-related topics. Additionally, Brewers Publications offers The Brewers Association’s Guide to Starting Your Own Brewery, which includes business planning guidelines and a sample business plan. Despite all this information, however, I still hear questions about the root of the business plan – where to start and how to create one. So I’ve compiled a handful of resources to help breweries create and maintain a business plan.
We all have preferences on how we digest educational materials. Thus, the information below comes in several formats from various sources. These resources are helpful whether you’re looking to create your first business plan or just want to update your current plan. A business plan is a living document that needs to be updated regularly, rather than a “one and done” springboard for potential businesses. This is by no means an exhaustive list of resources on this topic, as there are hundreds of them. Rather, it is a starting point for members wishing to establish and expand their knowledge. These resources can help us to establish and update business plans, in addition to highlighting the elements that we wish to explore further.
Business plan resources:
- Let’s start with two presentations from our CBC seminar archives:
- The nuts and bolts of great business plans – An oft-cited (and very comprehensive) guide to the and the details of creating your business plan. This 30-page PDF document is updated annually and provides excellent details on What and Why of each section of the plan.
- the US Small Business Administration (SBA) is an excellent general resource for businesses. They offer a step by step tool which explains each section of the business plan template, as well as a place to enter your specific business information along the way.
- GOAL, a nonprofit resource partner of the SBA, offers a variety of resources focused on creating business plans and starting small businesses. This includes a 60 minute webinar on One Page Business Plansan on-demand service Business Plan Development Coursearticles on business plan creationand even mentoring opportunities.
- For those who prefer educational videos, BizPlanTemplate.com offers a free business plan template paired with a 10 minute tutorial explaining each section.
- If learning on the go interests you, scribendi.com offers a very succinct podcast describing How to Write a Business Plan. For those starting from scratch, it’s a good introduction to dive deeper into more detailed models.
Don’t forget to use your community
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention the brewers association forum. It’s a great place to ask questions and engage with other brewery owners as you create and revise your business plans. While every brewery (and therefore every business plan) is unique, there is a lot to learn from those around us. I’m constantly reminded of the community spirit of many breweries, and it’s a fantastic way to connect and share resources with each other.