#bakery business plan

#

Sugar and spice and everything nice that’s what bakeries are made of, right? The model looks easy enough when it seems like a new cupcake bakery opens every week.

Private research firm AnythingResearch.com listed bakeries and baked goods as its eighth fastest-growing industry hospitable to small business this year, saying “growth may be the result of people cutting back on larger entertainment expenses (e.g. vacations) and choosing instead to spend more on daily indulgences.”

Without the right recipe, however, dreams of getting a bakery off the ground could crumble like a cookie. This guide will show you how to perfect your recipe for success.

How to Write a Bakery Business Plan: Conduct a Market Study

There’s little doubt that bakeries are big. Bakeries, pastry shops, and bagel sellers are growing at a rate of 5 percent, according to AnythingResearch.com. To figure out if a bakery can provide you with a sweet payoff, however, you’ve got to have a plan.

Start with an in-depth market study that profiles the target customer base, current sales in the market area for the product category, pricing and product features of competitors, plans for differentiation in the proposed products and expected sales, recommends Kirk O’Donnell, vice president/education at the American Institute of Baking .

Next, after determining a research-based sales estimate, look at cost structure, which O’Donnell says starts with building and equipment. He suggests the following questions:

How much building space is needed?
What is the cost of the building space?
Do you need flexibility for expansion?
What is the specific equipment needed?
What is the cost of installation of equipment?
Will you need vehicles for transportation?

Once these costs are known, then costs of ingredients and packaging can be determined from sales projections and current commodity costs, O’Donnell said. But don’t forget staffing needs, transportation and distribution. Determine the number of people needed for production, sales, and their projected salary and benefits.

Finally, estimate all overhead costs and sources of income to help determine your required financing.

Sound like too much work? Maybe you can follow the route taken by Paul Sapienza, owner of Sapienza Bake Shop in upstate New York.

“I took over from my dad who didn’t ask for one,” he says, laughing.

How to Write a Bakery Business Plan: Software or Business Professional?

No need to worry about your lack of business school credentials. Online resources can assist in formulating your bakery business plan such as this sample on Bplans.com. The “Cupcakes Take the Cake” blog had an active discussion about a year ago featuring a video log of Cincinnati’s Funky Brick Bakery efforts to launch its business. And there’s software, such as Business Plan Pro, to help you along.

Neither O’Donnell nor Sapienza is completely sold on the software, however.

“The software that I have seen for bakery management normally focuses on inventory management, scheduling and record-keeping,” O’Donnell says. “In other words, (it’s) a help in managing a business, but not in writing a business plan.”

Sapienza, vice president of operations for the Retail Bakers of America. recommends paying a professional to write the plan or asking a b-school professor for advice.

Kevin VanDeraa, owner of Cupcake in Minneapolis, opted for a hybrid approach when developing his plan. He used software and took advantage of the local chapter of SCORE. which prides itself on being “counselors to America’s small businesses.”

“Partner with a small business association. There are a lot of free resources,” VanDeraa says. Most importantly, he suggests viewing the plan as an evolving document, not something to be filed away once the business gets going. “Go back to it and compare your estimates to your actuals,” he says, “and you’ll have a more realistic sense of how to move the company forward.”

Dig Deeper: How to Write a Great Business Plan

How to Write a Bakery Business Plan: What’s in a Name?

Never underestimate the pull of a good name.

When Adriano Lucas opened a New York City bakery called The Best Chocolate Cake in the World, the press, well, ate it up. The mini-chain, which only has one U.S. location, got mentions in both The New York Times and New York magazine before its grand opening in June. Hoards of hungry choco-holics consumed 400 cakes during opening weekend alone.

The key to a good name, according to BabyCakes NYC owner Erin McKenna, is one that strikes a good mix between “warmth and comfort.”

“The name needs to be short and immediately identifiable to the product, not trying to sound too girly or precious,” she said.

For VanDeraa, picking out the name was the hardest part.

“I wanted the name to convey both coffee shop and bakery, to imply you’re going to get both here,” he says. “I had to give it up for a while. I was just calling it ‘Minneapolis coffee shop.'”

Inspiration struck while he was having margaritas with friends. Cupcake was an immediate hit. “I was really lucky,” VanDeraa says. “It was before the trend.”

How to Write a Bakery Business Plan: Let Them Eat (cup)Cake?

Of course, VanDeraa is referring to the cupcakery explosion.

The much-hyped “Sex and the City” movie sequel helped to put cupcakes in the news again. Hello Cupcake in Washington, D.C. even had a cupcake/movie tie-in with specialty treats inspired by each character.

The popularity of cupcakes is good news for owners like McKenna, who opened her second vegan bakery, BabyCakes LA, in January. But even good news has its limits, she said.

“I don’t think cupcakes are the problem. The press swooning over them so much that people want to by nature reject them is the problem,” McKenna says. “If someone’s going to open up a cupcake bakery, I don’t think they should play up the adorability of it. Just have more a focus on the food.”

Van Deraa found in his market research that a standalone bakery concept didn’t appeal much to his target audience. They wanted soups and sandwiches, too, he said.

He adjusted his model. In addition to baked goods, Cupcake also serves breakfast all day, quiche, paninis, salads and soups. And six different categories of cupcakes simple, gourmet, premium, party line, baby and celebration.

The diverse offerings drive the business year-round, he says. In winter, customers come for the soup. Many come in daily for their morning coffee. Some have never even tasted the cupcakes, he said.

“It’s helped us as a business to have more offerings especially if there’s a diet fad,” he says, with a laugh. “That was a big stroke of luck.”

The bakery-and-restaurant model like Panera Bread and Dunkin Donuts is the more profitable model for most owners, Sapienza says.

“I’m aware that Mrs. Fields and Famous Amos started in the kitchen, but very few make the leap (to a successful business),” he says, adding that “cupcakes might be the exception to the rule.”

Whatever model you choose, don’t forget to add the following to your recipe: two cups of passion, an extra serving of hard work and an ounce of luck.



#business contract

#

How to Write a Business Contract

Entering into a contractual business relationship with another party is a serious task and should only be entered into after giving real thought about the relationship you want. Don’t fall into the trap of entering into agreements haphazardly or with complete trust of the other party. Even if it’s a family member (some would argue especially if it’s a family member), the business contract should protect your own business interests first and to do so you’ll need to familiarize yourself with some guidelines on how to write a business contract.

Generally, you will want to keep two things in mind when entering or writing a business contract:

  • Does the agreement address all of the possible situations which may arise. It’s also good to have contingency plans.
  • Do the provisions leave too much room for ambiguity? Contract disputes often arise over unclear terms or provisions.

Read below for tips on writing business contracts for your small business.

1. Get it in Writing

Anytime you enter into a business contract, you want written proof of the agreement as well as specific terms by which each party is bound. Oral agreements do occur in the small business context, but such agreements are difficult to enforce and people’s memories can be faulty and terms easily misremembered or misinterpreted. The first lesson in How to Write a Business Contract 101 is to always get it in writing .

2. Use Language You Can Understand

There’s no need to be intimidated by a false sense that a business contract has to be written in legalese. The best contracts, particularly in the small business context, are written in plain English where both parties know exactly what they’re signing and what the provisions mean. Just be sure that the terms you write are specific as to each party’s obligations and the specific remedies that you have in the event that the other party violates the agreement. Also, keep in mind that certain terms have specific meaning in the law .

The easiest way to write a contract is to number and label each paragraph and only include that topic in the paragraph. By segmenting the contract into individual units, it will be more easily understood by the parties (and by a court should it come to that).

The rights and obligations of each party should be laid out in specific language that leaves little room for interpretation. If you want delivery on the 15th of each month, use the specific number instead of writing, mid-month . If you and the other party agree to a new term or decide to change an existing term in the agreement, be sure to add a written amendment to the contract rather than relying on an oral agreement. A court may or may not accept the oral agreement as part of the contract.

4. Include Payment Details

It’s important to specify how payments are to be made. If you want to pay half up front and the other half in equal installments during the life of the contract, state that, as well as the terms under which you will release payment. For example if you contract with someone to paint your business offices, you might want a provision stating that your regular payments are contingent upon a certain number of rooms being painted to your satisfaction. Whenever possible, list dates, requirements and methods of payment (cash, check, credit). Contract disputes often center on money, so you’ll want to be as specific as possible.

5. Consider Confidentiality

Often when entering a business contract, the other party will gain access and insight into your business practices and possible trade secrets. If you do not want the other party sharing this information, you should include a clause that binds the other party from disclosing your business information or information included in the contract to other parties.

6. Include Language on How to Terminate the Contract

Contracts aren’t meant to last forever. If one party continually misses payments or fails to perform their duties, you want to have a mechanism in place so that you can (relatively) easily terminate the contract. It could be a mutual termination agreement (when the objectives of each side have been met through the contract) or more likely an agreement that either side can terminate if the other side violates a major term of the contract, after giving proper notice of its intent to terminate.

7. Consider State Laws Governing the Contract

Contracts can stipulate which state’s laws will govern in the event there’s a dispute. If the other party is located in another state, you should include a clause that states which state laws will govern. If you don’t, and there’s a dispute, there may be a whole other legal argument (which costs more money) about which state’s laws should be applied to the contract. Avoid this headache and agree to it at the inception of the contract, when both parties are agreeable.

8. Include Remedies and Attorneys’ Fees

Especially if you believe that it’s more likely that you’ll sue over the contract (as opposed to the other party suing you), you might want to include a clause that awards attorneys’ fees to the winning party. Without this clause, each party will have to pay for their own attorneys.

9. Consider a Mediation and Arbitration Clause

In the event of a dispute, it may be advantageous to include a provision that requires the parties enter either mediation or arbitration. or both. Mediation is a voluntary process where both parties try to work out their issues directly, with the help of a neutral third party mediator. Any settlement must be approved by both parties. Arbitration is a more adversarial process where the arbitrator hears both sides’ arguments and makes a decision that both parties must abide by. It’s akin to a trial setting, but the arbitration process is much quicker and cheaper than litigating in court.

10. Consider the Help of a Legal Professional

Writing a business contract that protects your interests while balancing your business objectives is critical to your business’ success. Learning how to write a business contract is the first step on the road to success. But while you should get acquainted with the legal terms and processes for writing a contract, sometimes it’s best to have an attorney review your contract before it takes on the force of law. Find a business and commercial law attorney near you for assistance.



#business proposal examples

#

Write Your Way to a Win: Business Proposal 101

It’s a tough world these days, especially for entrepreneurs who have stiff competition in their business niches. Keeping current clients and adding to your client portfolio is the only way you both stay afloat and grow, and no matter how good your products and/or services may be, there are always competitors who want your current business and will go after the same potential clients you do.

Many calls for business proposals are pretty impersonal – governments and public agencies may advertise for bids on projects, products, or other services, give a bid deadline date, and publish the details of their needs. They do this because, by law, they are required to.

For example, a public school district looking to build a new school will publish a “call for bids” for the project. Local and regional contract management firms will then put their proverbial “hats” in the ring and present their proposals. The local school board will receive the bids and make a decision on the contract award, and they are accountable to the public for this decision.

Not so in the private sector. A company is free to make contract decisions as it wishes, having only minimal accountability to their Boards for poor performance and/or cost overrides. Still, business owners seeking new clients and customers must perform well if they intend to keep those clients.

Before You Put Pencil to Paper

Writing business proposals involves a lot of initial legwork. Once you become aware that a potential client is looking for proposals in your business niche, you know you will want to develop a sound, clear, and precise business proposal, and there are many pre-panning activities you will want to conduct.

  • Do Your Research: If you don’t know much about the potential client, you need to study up! Go to the website and read everything! You will get names of decision-makers, get an idea of its business model, how long it been in business, its goals, and it financial picture – all good information to have!
  • Arrange a Meeting with Management: You may not get into see the CEO, but you should make an appointment with as high level a manager as possible. During this meeting you want the client to clarify goals and needs, so be a good listener and take notes! You really want to get clear budget parameters too, so you have a financial framework for your proposal. While the focus of this meeting must be on the client, try to tout yourself a bit – talk about your successes with similar organizations/industries.
  • Develop Your Solutions: Once understand the goals and needs, you are prepared to brainstorm and to develop the most effective and cost-effective ways to serve the client’s needs. For example, if you are in the property management business, and you have become aware that a large apartment complex owner is looking for a new outside property management firm, you meet with that owner or his rep. You ask about his issues and problems and what made him unhappy with the previous management. These will be critical points in your solution proposal.

Writing the Proposal

Writing a business proposal is a lengthy and time-consuming process, so plan enough time to do it right! And if you don’t know how to write a business proposal, you need to be a quick learner. There are templates and samples online that you can study; visit a fellow entrepreneur who has experience and ask for his/her help. Generally, though, your sections will be as follows:

  1. Describe the client’s current situation: In the case of the apartment owner, repair and maintenance have not been acceptable; perhaps screenings of tenants has not be thorough enough; perhaps the management company has not been responsive to tenant issues. These make up the current situation.
  2. State your goals, objectives, and methodologies for meeting the needs of the client and remedying the current situation. Perhaps more resident maintenance staff are required; perhaps the office is under staffed; perhaps there are not clear and consistent policies and practices to respond to repair calls and to conduct those tenant screenings – systems and accountability need to be put into place!
  3. Time and cost: Here is where you get to the heart of the matter. How long, and along what timeline, will you implement the changes, install the equipment, etc. And, critically important, the costs must be carefully and clearly broken down, so that each facet of your solution methodology has a specific cost. In this way, if the client has to cut back on something, he can make informed decisions.
  4. Your conclusion: Do not be afraid to praise yourself. What are the benefits of choosing your company? Point out your successes with similar projects and provide references.
  5. Binding: Make certain that your proposal is bound in a professional manner and submit several copies so that decision-makers can all have their own.

A Word About the Prose

If you are not a good writer, get someone who is. You never know who will be reading your proposal, so make sure there are no grammatical, punctuation or spelling errors. And above all, keep it simple. No one wants to struggle through long and complex sentences with academic-level vocabulary.

How to Write a Business Proposal Letter

A business proposal letter is really a formal and much more dignified “cold call.” You are trying to drum up business by introducing yourself to potential clients who may or may not have heard of you before. The format of the letter should, of course, be business formal and should be impeccable in grammar and style. Here are some pointers:

  1. Find out who the decision-maker is before you write the letter. It should be addressed to that individual.
  2. Your opening paragraph should catch their attention quickly. Using saving money will do the trick, so tell them that you can save them money and/or make their operations more cost-efficient.
  3. The next paragraph should provide more detail about your product or service and describe how it saves money or is more efficient.
  4. The third paragraph should speak to your qualifications. How long have you been doing this? Name past and current clients who have experienced cost savings and greater efficiency with your help. Be certain that you have the approval of these clients to use their names, for they may be contacted.
  5. Closing paragraph should be short and give some call to action. Either ask them to call you or tell them you will call in a few days for an appointment.

Happy proposal writing!

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Andy Preisler is a blogger at Grabmyessay where he came just after he finished his second bachelor. He is very passionate about helping those that are new to the professional aspects of writing, whether it is business related or academic. He is very experienced writer as his field of interests includes education content marketing and business etiquette. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Andy via social profiles.

Posts by Andy Preisler



#bakery business plan

#

Sugar and spice and everything nice that’s what bakeries are made of, right? The model looks easy enough when it seems like a new cupcake bakery opens every week.

Private research firm AnythingResearch.com listed bakeries and baked goods as its eighth fastest-growing industry hospitable to small business this year, saying “growth may be the result of people cutting back on larger entertainment expenses (e.g. vacations) and choosing instead to spend more on daily indulgences.”

Without the right recipe, however, dreams of getting a bakery off the ground could crumble like a cookie. This guide will show you how to perfect your recipe for success.

How to Write a Bakery Business Plan: Conduct a Market Study

There’s little doubt that bakeries are big. Bakeries, pastry shops, and bagel sellers are growing at a rate of 5 percent, according to AnythingResearch.com. To figure out if a bakery can provide you with a sweet payoff, however, you’ve got to have a plan.

Start with an in-depth market study that profiles the target customer base, current sales in the market area for the product category, pricing and product features of competitors, plans for differentiation in the proposed products and expected sales, recommends Kirk O’Donnell, vice president/education at the American Institute of Baking .

Next, after determining a research-based sales estimate, look at cost structure, which O’Donnell says starts with building and equipment. He suggests the following questions:

How much building space is needed?
What is the cost of the building space?
Do you need flexibility for expansion?
What is the specific equipment needed?
What is the cost of installation of equipment?
Will you need vehicles for transportation?

Once these costs are known, then costs of ingredients and packaging can be determined from sales projections and current commodity costs, O’Donnell said. But don’t forget staffing needs, transportation and distribution. Determine the number of people needed for production, sales, and their projected salary and benefits.

Finally, estimate all overhead costs and sources of income to help determine your required financing.

Sound like too much work? Maybe you can follow the route taken by Paul Sapienza, owner of Sapienza Bake Shop in upstate New York.

“I took over from my dad who didn’t ask for one,” he says, laughing.

How to Write a Bakery Business Plan: Software or Business Professional?

No need to worry about your lack of business school credentials. Online resources can assist in formulating your bakery business plan such as this sample on Bplans.com. The “Cupcakes Take the Cake” blog had an active discussion about a year ago featuring a video log of Cincinnati’s Funky Brick Bakery efforts to launch its business. And there’s software, such as Business Plan Pro, to help you along.

Neither O’Donnell nor Sapienza is completely sold on the software, however.

“The software that I have seen for bakery management normally focuses on inventory management, scheduling and record-keeping,” O’Donnell says. “In other words, (it’s) a help in managing a business, but not in writing a business plan.”

Sapienza, vice president of operations for the Retail Bakers of America. recommends paying a professional to write the plan or asking a b-school professor for advice.

Kevin VanDeraa, owner of Cupcake in Minneapolis, opted for a hybrid approach when developing his plan. He used software and took advantage of the local chapter of SCORE. which prides itself on being “counselors to America’s small businesses.”

“Partner with a small business association. There are a lot of free resources,” VanDeraa says. Most importantly, he suggests viewing the plan as an evolving document, not something to be filed away once the business gets going. “Go back to it and compare your estimates to your actuals,” he says, “and you’ll have a more realistic sense of how to move the company forward.”

Dig Deeper: How to Write a Great Business Plan

How to Write a Bakery Business Plan: What’s in a Name?

Never underestimate the pull of a good name.

When Adriano Lucas opened a New York City bakery called The Best Chocolate Cake in the World, the press, well, ate it up. The mini-chain, which only has one U.S. location, got mentions in both The New York Times and New York magazine before its grand opening in June. Hoards of hungry choco-holics consumed 400 cakes during opening weekend alone.

The key to a good name, according to BabyCakes NYC owner Erin McKenna, is one that strikes a good mix between “warmth and comfort.”

“The name needs to be short and immediately identifiable to the product, not trying to sound too girly or precious,” she said.

For VanDeraa, picking out the name was the hardest part.

“I wanted the name to convey both coffee shop and bakery, to imply you’re going to get both here,” he says. “I had to give it up for a while. I was just calling it ‘Minneapolis coffee shop.'”

Inspiration struck while he was having margaritas with friends. Cupcake was an immediate hit. “I was really lucky,” VanDeraa says. “It was before the trend.”

How to Write a Bakery Business Plan: Let Them Eat (cup)Cake?

Of course, VanDeraa is referring to the cupcakery explosion.

The much-hyped “Sex and the City” movie sequel helped to put cupcakes in the news again. Hello Cupcake in Washington, D.C. even had a cupcake/movie tie-in with specialty treats inspired by each character.

The popularity of cupcakes is good news for owners like McKenna, who opened her second vegan bakery, BabyCakes LA, in January. But even good news has its limits, she said.

“I don’t think cupcakes are the problem. The press swooning over them so much that people want to by nature reject them is the problem,” McKenna says. “If someone’s going to open up a cupcake bakery, I don’t think they should play up the adorability of it. Just have more a focus on the food.”

Van Deraa found in his market research that a standalone bakery concept didn’t appeal much to his target audience. They wanted soups and sandwiches, too, he said.

He adjusted his model. In addition to baked goods, Cupcake also serves breakfast all day, quiche, paninis, salads and soups. And six different categories of cupcakes simple, gourmet, premium, party line, baby and celebration.

The diverse offerings drive the business year-round, he says. In winter, customers come for the soup. Many come in daily for their morning coffee. Some have never even tasted the cupcakes, he said.

“It’s helped us as a business to have more offerings especially if there’s a diet fad,” he says, with a laugh. “That was a big stroke of luck.”

The bakery-and-restaurant model like Panera Bread and Dunkin Donuts is the more profitable model for most owners, Sapienza says.

“I’m aware that Mrs. Fields and Famous Amos started in the kitchen, but very few make the leap (to a successful business),” he says, adding that “cupcakes might be the exception to the rule.”

Whatever model you choose, don’t forget to add the following to your recipe: two cups of passion, an extra serving of hard work and an ounce of luck.



#small business plan

#

How To Write a Business Plan

Planning for Success

You ve no doubt heard the expression, Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Many entrepreneurs write a business plan only when they need to secure start-up financing. However, your plan is far more than a document for banks and investors to read; it s an invaluable roadmap for launching and growing your business.

In order to put your business concept on paper, you need to think through and research the many factors that are needed to make sure your business is a success. With a plan, not only can you spot potential weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, your plan can help you make informed decisions about your venture before you commit yourself legally or financially.

Here, we ve summarized the key sections that you ll find in a business plan.

The Seven Key Sections of a Business Plan

1. Executive summary

Your executive summary should be 1–2 pages long, and provide an overview of your business concept, key objectives of your business and your plan, ownership structure, management team, your product or service offering, target market(s), competitive advantages, marketing strategy, and a summary of your financial projections. Your executive summary should be written last, after you ve written the rest of the plan; each paragraph should be a summary of the more detailed, related section of the plan.

2. Business Overview

In your overview, include details regarding your business’s history, vision and/or mission, objectives, and your ownership structure.

3. Products and Services

Expand upon your products and services, including features and benefits, competitive advantages, and, if marketing a product, how and where your products will be produced.

4. Industry overview

The industry overview is your opportunity to demonstrate the viability of your business by discussing the size and growth of your industry, the key markets within your industry, how your customers will buy your products or services, and which markets you’ll be targeting.

5. Marketing Strategy

Here you describe your target market segments, your competition, how you ll differentiate your products or services, and your products’ or services’ unique selling proposition (USP).

  • Discuss product or service pricing and promotion, including how your promotional programs will appeal to each of your target market segments.
  • Provide a plan of traditional and guerrilla marketing tactics, such as tradeshows, press-magnet events, social media marketing (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.), networking, and print, media, or online advertising. Include the cost associated with each tactic.
  • Describe how your products or services will be sold (e.g. storefront, online, wholesalers), and your target markets’ buying cycle.

6. Operations Plan

Provide a profile of your management team, your human resources plan, your business location(s) and facilities, your production plan (if selling a product), and an overview of day-to-day operations.

7. Financial plan

Some believe this is the most important part of a plan – so much so, it’s worth dedicating up to 80% of your time to writing this section. You ll need to show three years’ worth of projected financial statements, including income statements, pro-forma balance sheets, and monthly cash flow and annual cash flow statements. Summarize each statement into a few easy-to-understand sentences and put these in a cover page for the statements. Be sure to document all of the assumptions you used in forecasting your revenues and expenses.

Download the Small Business BC How to Write a Business Plan checklist and start planning for your business success.

Business Plan Resources

Here are some resources to help you with your business plan:

Import / Export Business Registration Resources:

Business Plan Review:

Business Plan Guides:

Upcoming Seminars



#business contract

#

How to Write a Business Contract

Entering into a contractual business relationship with another party is a serious task and should only be entered into after giving real thought about the relationship you want. Don’t fall into the trap of entering into agreements haphazardly or with complete trust of the other party. Even if it’s a family member (some would argue especially if it’s a family member), the business contract should protect your own business interests first and to do so you’ll need to familiarize yourself with some guidelines on how to write a business contract.

Generally, you will want to keep two things in mind when entering or writing a business contract:

  • Does the agreement address all of the possible situations which may arise. It’s also good to have contingency plans.
  • Do the provisions leave too much room for ambiguity? Contract disputes often arise over unclear terms or provisions.

Read below for tips on writing business contracts for your small business.

1. Get it in Writing

Anytime you enter into a business contract, you want written proof of the agreement as well as specific terms by which each party is bound. Oral agreements do occur in the small business context, but such agreements are difficult to enforce and people’s memories can be faulty and terms easily misremembered or misinterpreted. The first lesson in How to Write a Business Contract 101 is to always get it in writing .

2. Use Language You Can Understand

There’s no need to be intimidated by a false sense that a business contract has to be written in legalese. The best contracts, particularly in the small business context, are written in plain English where both parties know exactly what they’re signing and what the provisions mean. Just be sure that the terms you write are specific as to each party’s obligations and the specific remedies that you have in the event that the other party violates the agreement. Also, keep in mind that certain terms have specific meaning in the law .

The easiest way to write a contract is to number and label each paragraph and only include that topic in the paragraph. By segmenting the contract into individual units, it will be more easily understood by the parties (and by a court should it come to that).

The rights and obligations of each party should be laid out in specific language that leaves little room for interpretation. If you want delivery on the 15th of each month, use the specific number instead of writing, mid-month . If you and the other party agree to a new term or decide to change an existing term in the agreement, be sure to add a written amendment to the contract rather than relying on an oral agreement. A court may or may not accept the oral agreement as part of the contract.

4. Include Payment Details

It’s important to specify how payments are to be made. If you want to pay half up front and the other half in equal installments during the life of the contract, state that, as well as the terms under which you will release payment. For example if you contract with someone to paint your business offices, you might want a provision stating that your regular payments are contingent upon a certain number of rooms being painted to your satisfaction. Whenever possible, list dates, requirements and methods of payment (cash, check, credit). Contract disputes often center on money, so you’ll want to be as specific as possible.

5. Consider Confidentiality

Often when entering a business contract, the other party will gain access and insight into your business practices and possible trade secrets. If you do not want the other party sharing this information, you should include a clause that binds the other party from disclosing your business information or information included in the contract to other parties.

6. Include Language on How to Terminate the Contract

Contracts aren’t meant to last forever. If one party continually misses payments or fails to perform their duties, you want to have a mechanism in place so that you can (relatively) easily terminate the contract. It could be a mutual termination agreement (when the objectives of each side have been met through the contract) or more likely an agreement that either side can terminate if the other side violates a major term of the contract, after giving proper notice of its intent to terminate.

7. Consider State Laws Governing the Contract

Contracts can stipulate which state’s laws will govern in the event there’s a dispute. If the other party is located in another state, you should include a clause that states which state laws will govern. If you don’t, and there’s a dispute, there may be a whole other legal argument (which costs more money) about which state’s laws should be applied to the contract. Avoid this headache and agree to it at the inception of the contract, when both parties are agreeable.

8. Include Remedies and Attorneys’ Fees

Especially if you believe that it’s more likely that you’ll sue over the contract (as opposed to the other party suing you), you might want to include a clause that awards attorneys’ fees to the winning party. Without this clause, each party will have to pay for their own attorneys.

9. Consider a Mediation and Arbitration Clause

In the event of a dispute, it may be advantageous to include a provision that requires the parties enter either mediation or arbitration. or both. Mediation is a voluntary process where both parties try to work out their issues directly, with the help of a neutral third party mediator. Any settlement must be approved by both parties. Arbitration is a more adversarial process where the arbitrator hears both sides’ arguments and makes a decision that both parties must abide by. It’s akin to a trial setting, but the arbitration process is much quicker and cheaper than litigating in court.

10. Consider the Help of a Legal Professional

Writing a business contract that protects your interests while balancing your business objectives is critical to your business’ success. Learning how to write a business contract is the first step on the road to success. But while you should get acquainted with the legal terms and processes for writing a contract, sometimes it’s best to have an attorney review your contract before it takes on the force of law. Find a business and commercial law attorney near you for assistance.



#business plan outline

#

The Dos and Don’ts of Writing a Great Business Plan

If you re planning a road trip across the country, you ve likely researched the routes that best suit your desires for the trip. Perhaps you chose scenic roads with lots of stops along the way, or maybe you decided to take the quickest track. To make it to your destination, you need to know where you re going and how you re getting there.

Preparing a business plan is just the same. Without a clear, objective proposal, you cannot expect your company to evolve successfully. The plan should serve to guide you throughout the startup process.

Brian S. Cohen, an operating partner at Altamont Capital Partners and member of Young Presidents Organization. a global network of young chief executives, likened the business plan to a road map for the company.

You don t want to go into any situation blind, said Cohen. You need a map for how you are going to achieve your objectives. The business plan serves that function.

Based on advice from our expert sources, here are a few specific dos and don ts to consider while formulating your plan. [See Related Story:10 Surprising Things Every Business Plan Should Include]

Editor s Note: Need more in-depth support for your business plan? Fill in the questionnaire below and we ll have a top rated company offer you a competitive quote to write your business plan for you.

Do share your plan don t keep it to yourself.

If you want your company to succeed, then all employees should understand the business plan s dynamics. It is not a document that you should lock away.

The business plan keeps an organization focused, [and] it needs to be shared, Cohen told Business News Daily. Too many companies treat it as a confidential document to be kept away from the prying eyes of the rank-and-file employees. I believe the business plan should be shared, discussed and amended where appropriate, through an open loop of feedback and insights.

The more people who are involved, the more ideas you can circulate around the company, Cohen said. It is important to consider every worker s input to ensure that the outcome is something that s pleasant to all.

Do follow an outline; don t go overboard.

You don t need to have an over-the-top, elaborate document, fancy formatting or flashy decor. However, much like a road map, it must make sense to you as well as to your company s employees.

Start your plan, said Cohen, by using a specific outline called SWOT. which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. First, create an executive summary, in which you describe in what field you wish to succeed, and how and why you intend on doing so. And then, list your company s strengths and weaknesses as well as opportunities for growth, and detail the threats to it that might hinder the achievement of those goals.

Do conduct research don t wing it.

As with any business project, research is absolutely critical to a solid business plan.

Research is one of the big value-adds of writing a business plan, said Joseph Ferriolo, director of Wise Business Plans. Research forces companies to learn what they can expect to make and what the industry trends are.

If the research indicates that your idea is viable, then you can proceed by writing down the goods or services you offer, your marketing plan, how much funding you need and your goals. For more ideas on specific points to include in your business plan, check out this Business News Daily article .

Do put it to use don t file it away.

Your plan is there for a reason. Don t be afraid to refer to it as much as possible think of it as checking the map when you ve made a wrong turn. There is nothing wrong with using your plan to get back on track or to remain there.

The biggest mistake people make is this: They prepare the document and then put it in a drawer and never look at it again. That s self-defeating, Cohen said.

Finally, remember that you should revisit your business plan as your company grows.

Don t just make the business plan and use it for funding really benchmark your company against it, Ferriolo said. Reference the plan monthly and quarterly, and revise your research and estimates as you proceed. Being accountable to the vision you set forth will help keep you in line and successful.

Editing and updating is always a good idea, too; you can never make too many revisions. Cohen said that a business plan is a document that is never complete.

Templates and resources

Additional templates and resources are available at the following sites:

A side-by-side comparison of the best software for writing business plans is available on our sister site Top Ten Reviews .

Editor s Note: Need more in-depth support for your business plan? Fill in the questionnaire below and we ll have a top rated company offer you a competitive quote to write your business plan for you.

Additional reporting byElizabeth Peterson and Katherine Arline.Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

Sammi Caramela is a senior at Rowan University with a major in writing arts and a double minor in journalism and psychology. She is President of Her Campus magazine and I Am That Girl at Rowan, and contributes to other writing platforms on and off campus. She expects to graduate in 2017 and continue her freelance work with Business News Daily. Reach her by email. or check out her blog at sammisays.org



#business contract

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How to Write a Business Contract

Entering into a contractual business relationship with another party is a serious task and should only be entered into after giving real thought about the relationship you want. Don’t fall into the trap of entering into agreements haphazardly or with complete trust of the other party. Even if it’s a family member (some would argue especially if it’s a family member), the business contract should protect your own business interests first and to do so you’ll need to familiarize yourself with some guidelines on how to write a business contract.

Generally, you will want to keep two things in mind when entering or writing a business contract:

  • Does the agreement address all of the possible situations which may arise. It’s also good to have contingency plans.
  • Do the provisions leave too much room for ambiguity? Contract disputes often arise over unclear terms or provisions.

Read below for tips on writing business contracts for your small business.

1. Get it in Writing

Anytime you enter into a business contract, you want written proof of the agreement as well as specific terms by which each party is bound. Oral agreements do occur in the small business context, but such agreements are difficult to enforce and people’s memories can be faulty and terms easily misremembered or misinterpreted. The first lesson in How to Write a Business Contract 101 is to always get it in writing .

2. Use Language You Can Understand

There’s no need to be intimidated by a false sense that a business contract has to be written in legalese. The best contracts, particularly in the small business context, are written in plain English where both parties know exactly what they’re signing and what the provisions mean. Just be sure that the terms you write are specific as to each party’s obligations and the specific remedies that you have in the event that the other party violates the agreement. Also, keep in mind that certain terms have specific meaning in the law .

The easiest way to write a contract is to number and label each paragraph and only include that topic in the paragraph. By segmenting the contract into individual units, it will be more easily understood by the parties (and by a court should it come to that).

The rights and obligations of each party should be laid out in specific language that leaves little room for interpretation. If you want delivery on the 15th of each month, use the specific number instead of writing, mid-month . If you and the other party agree to a new term or decide to change an existing term in the agreement, be sure to add a written amendment to the contract rather than relying on an oral agreement. A court may or may not accept the oral agreement as part of the contract.

4. Include Payment Details

It’s important to specify how payments are to be made. If you want to pay half up front and the other half in equal installments during the life of the contract, state that, as well as the terms under which you will release payment. For example if you contract with someone to paint your business offices, you might want a provision stating that your regular payments are contingent upon a certain number of rooms being painted to your satisfaction. Whenever possible, list dates, requirements and methods of payment (cash, check, credit). Contract disputes often center on money, so you’ll want to be as specific as possible.

5. Consider Confidentiality

Often when entering a business contract, the other party will gain access and insight into your business practices and possible trade secrets. If you do not want the other party sharing this information, you should include a clause that binds the other party from disclosing your business information or information included in the contract to other parties.

6. Include Language on How to Terminate the Contract

Contracts aren’t meant to last forever. If one party continually misses payments or fails to perform their duties, you want to have a mechanism in place so that you can (relatively) easily terminate the contract. It could be a mutual termination agreement (when the objectives of each side have been met through the contract) or more likely an agreement that either side can terminate if the other side violates a major term of the contract, after giving proper notice of its intent to terminate.

7. Consider State Laws Governing the Contract

Contracts can stipulate which state’s laws will govern in the event there’s a dispute. If the other party is located in another state, you should include a clause that states which state laws will govern. If you don’t, and there’s a dispute, there may be a whole other legal argument (which costs more money) about which state’s laws should be applied to the contract. Avoid this headache and agree to it at the inception of the contract, when both parties are agreeable.

8. Include Remedies and Attorneys’ Fees

Especially if you believe that it’s more likely that you’ll sue over the contract (as opposed to the other party suing you), you might want to include a clause that awards attorneys’ fees to the winning party. Without this clause, each party will have to pay for their own attorneys.

9. Consider a Mediation and Arbitration Clause

In the event of a dispute, it may be advantageous to include a provision that requires the parties enter either mediation or arbitration. or both. Mediation is a voluntary process where both parties try to work out their issues directly, with the help of a neutral third party mediator. Any settlement must be approved by both parties. Arbitration is a more adversarial process where the arbitrator hears both sides’ arguments and makes a decision that both parties must abide by. It’s akin to a trial setting, but the arbitration process is much quicker and cheaper than litigating in court.

10. Consider the Help of a Legal Professional

Writing a business contract that protects your interests while balancing your business objectives is critical to your business’ success. Learning how to write a business contract is the first step on the road to success. But while you should get acquainted with the legal terms and processes for writing a contract, sometimes it’s best to have an attorney review your contract before it takes on the force of law. Find a business and commercial law attorney near you for assistance.



#bakery business plan

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Sugar and spice and everything nice that’s what bakeries are made of, right? The model looks easy enough when it seems like a new cupcake bakery opens every week.

Private research firm AnythingResearch.com listed bakeries and baked goods as its eighth fastest-growing industry hospitable to small business this year, saying “growth may be the result of people cutting back on larger entertainment expenses (e.g. vacations) and choosing instead to spend more on daily indulgences.”

Without the right recipe, however, dreams of getting a bakery off the ground could crumble like a cookie. This guide will show you how to perfect your recipe for success.

How to Write a Bakery Business Plan: Conduct a Market Study

There’s little doubt that bakeries are big. Bakeries, pastry shops, and bagel sellers are growing at a rate of 5 percent, according to AnythingResearch.com. To figure out if a bakery can provide you with a sweet payoff, however, you’ve got to have a plan.

Start with an in-depth market study that profiles the target customer base, current sales in the market area for the product category, pricing and product features of competitors, plans for differentiation in the proposed products and expected sales, recommends Kirk O’Donnell, vice president/education at the American Institute of Baking .

Next, after determining a research-based sales estimate, look at cost structure, which O’Donnell says starts with building and equipment. He suggests the following questions:

How much building space is needed?
What is the cost of the building space?
Do you need flexibility for expansion?
What is the specific equipment needed?
What is the cost of installation of equipment?
Will you need vehicles for transportation?

Once these costs are known, then costs of ingredients and packaging can be determined from sales projections and current commodity costs, O’Donnell said. But don’t forget staffing needs, transportation and distribution. Determine the number of people needed for production, sales, and their projected salary and benefits.

Finally, estimate all overhead costs and sources of income to help determine your required financing.

Sound like too much work? Maybe you can follow the route taken by Paul Sapienza, owner of Sapienza Bake Shop in upstate New York.

“I took over from my dad who didn’t ask for one,” he says, laughing.

How to Write a Bakery Business Plan: Software or Business Professional?

No need to worry about your lack of business school credentials. Online resources can assist in formulating your bakery business plan such as this sample on Bplans.com. The “Cupcakes Take the Cake” blog had an active discussion about a year ago featuring a video log of Cincinnati’s Funky Brick Bakery efforts to launch its business. And there’s software, such as Business Plan Pro, to help you along.

Neither O’Donnell nor Sapienza is completely sold on the software, however.

“The software that I have seen for bakery management normally focuses on inventory management, scheduling and record-keeping,” O’Donnell says. “In other words, (it’s) a help in managing a business, but not in writing a business plan.”

Sapienza, vice president of operations for the Retail Bakers of America. recommends paying a professional to write the plan or asking a b-school professor for advice.

Kevin VanDeraa, owner of Cupcake in Minneapolis, opted for a hybrid approach when developing his plan. He used software and took advantage of the local chapter of SCORE. which prides itself on being “counselors to America’s small businesses.”

“Partner with a small business association. There are a lot of free resources,” VanDeraa says. Most importantly, he suggests viewing the plan as an evolving document, not something to be filed away once the business gets going. “Go back to it and compare your estimates to your actuals,” he says, “and you’ll have a more realistic sense of how to move the company forward.”

Dig Deeper: How to Write a Great Business Plan

How to Write a Bakery Business Plan: What’s in a Name?

Never underestimate the pull of a good name.

When Adriano Lucas opened a New York City bakery called The Best Chocolate Cake in the World, the press, well, ate it up. The mini-chain, which only has one U.S. location, got mentions in both The New York Times and New York magazine before its grand opening in June. Hoards of hungry choco-holics consumed 400 cakes during opening weekend alone.

The key to a good name, according to BabyCakes NYC owner Erin McKenna, is one that strikes a good mix between “warmth and comfort.”

“The name needs to be short and immediately identifiable to the product, not trying to sound too girly or precious,” she said.

For VanDeraa, picking out the name was the hardest part.

“I wanted the name to convey both coffee shop and bakery, to imply you’re going to get both here,” he says. “I had to give it up for a while. I was just calling it ‘Minneapolis coffee shop.'”

Inspiration struck while he was having margaritas with friends. Cupcake was an immediate hit. “I was really lucky,” VanDeraa says. “It was before the trend.”

How to Write a Bakery Business Plan: Let Them Eat (cup)Cake?

Of course, VanDeraa is referring to the cupcakery explosion.

The much-hyped “Sex and the City” movie sequel helped to put cupcakes in the news again. Hello Cupcake in Washington, D.C. even had a cupcake/movie tie-in with specialty treats inspired by each character.

The popularity of cupcakes is good news for owners like McKenna, who opened her second vegan bakery, BabyCakes LA, in January. But even good news has its limits, she said.

“I don’t think cupcakes are the problem. The press swooning over them so much that people want to by nature reject them is the problem,” McKenna says. “If someone’s going to open up a cupcake bakery, I don’t think they should play up the adorability of it. Just have more a focus on the food.”

Van Deraa found in his market research that a standalone bakery concept didn’t appeal much to his target audience. They wanted soups and sandwiches, too, he said.

He adjusted his model. In addition to baked goods, Cupcake also serves breakfast all day, quiche, paninis, salads and soups. And six different categories of cupcakes simple, gourmet, premium, party line, baby and celebration.

The diverse offerings drive the business year-round, he says. In winter, customers come for the soup. Many come in daily for their morning coffee. Some have never even tasted the cupcakes, he said.

“It’s helped us as a business to have more offerings especially if there’s a diet fad,” he says, with a laugh. “That was a big stroke of luck.”

The bakery-and-restaurant model like Panera Bread and Dunkin Donuts is the more profitable model for most owners, Sapienza says.

“I’m aware that Mrs. Fields and Famous Amos started in the kitchen, but very few make the leap (to a successful business),” he says, adding that “cupcakes might be the exception to the rule.”

Whatever model you choose, don’t forget to add the following to your recipe: two cups of passion, an extra serving of hard work and an ounce of luck.



#business emails

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How to write a perfect professional email in English in 5 steps

For most of us, email is the most common form of business communication so it s important to get it right. Although emails usually aren t as formal as letters, they still need to be professional to present a good image of you and your company.

How to write a formal email

Follow these five simple steps to make sure your English emails are perfectly professional.

  1. Begin with a greeting
  2. Thank the recipient
  3. State your purpose
  4. Add your closing remarks
  5. End with a closing

Download our free ebook: Everyday English Vocabulary 38 pages which points useful words and English phrases to help you have a better understanding of what’s going on around you.

Begin with a greeting

Always open your email with a greeting, such as Dear Lillian . If your relationship with the reader is formal, use their family name (eg. Dear Mrs. Price ). If the relationship is more casual, you can simply say, Hi Kelly . If you don t know the name of the person you are writing to, use: To whom it may concern or Dear Sir/Madam .

  • Thank the recipient

    If you are replying to a client s inquiry, you should begin with a line of thanks. For example, if someone has a question about your company, you can say, Thank you for contacting ABC Company . If someone has replied to one of your emails, be sure to say, Thank you for your prompt reply or Thanks for getting back to me . Thanking the reader puts him or her at ease, and it will make you appear more polite.

  • State your purpose

    If you are starting the email communication, it may be impossible to include a line of thanks. Instead, begin by stating your purpose. For example, I am writing to enquire about … or I am writing in reference to … .

    Make your purpose clear early on in the email, and then move into the main text of your email. Remember, people want to read emails quickly, so keep your sentences short and clear. You ll also need to pay careful attention to grammar, spelling and punctuation so that you present a professional image of yourself and your company.

  • Add your closing remarks

    Before you end your email, it s polite to thank your reader one more time and add some polite closing remarks. You might start with Thank you for your patience and cooperation or Thank you for your consideration and then follow up with, If you have any questions or concerns, don t hesitate to let me know and I look forward to hearing from you .

  • End with a closing

    The last step is to include an appropriate closing with your name. Best regards . Sincerely . and Thank you are all professional. Avoid closings such as Best wishes or Cheers unless you are good friends with the reader. Finally, before you hit the send button, review and spell check your email one more time to make sure it s truly perfect!

  • Aren t you an EF English Live student yet? See the general and business English course in action by requesting a one month for only one dollar* trial. Find more information about essential professional English tips here .

    Wil is a writer, teacher, learning technologist and keen language learner. He’s taught English in classrooms and online for nearly 10 years, trained teachers in using classroom and web technology, and written e-learning materials for several major websites. He speaks four languages and is currently looking for another one to start learning.

    Wil