This step of the process can take the longest of all the steps. Writing a business plan for something like a brewery is a cash flow nightmare. I think my cash flow is over 250 rows from start to finish. It all depends on how robust you want to make your projections. I would hate to have a small little spreadsheet that didn’t give an exact picture of the way things look when you get busy. Spend the time on this and get it right the first time.
- Write your business plan: This never ends, but the rudimentary plan should take a solid 6 months if you have other commitments (family, full time job). For me, it took almost 1 year of playing with the plan, learning more, making the revenue and expenses more robust, adding in all the applicable taxes, raw materials costs, energy costs, etc, etc.
- Shop your business plan to get feedback: Not from an investment standpoint but more from a feedback on your writing style, does your plan cover everything off? Is it written in an easy to read style?
- Follow Blogs like mine: (shameless plug I know, but the more you can learn from my mistakes the better off you will be), so that you can learn what you are about to do. I hope to share content on what this process is like, as I found it a little difficult to find the process itemized out like I had hoped to.
- Keep working on your business plan: If your plan is done properly, you will have been making decisions throughout this process. Off the top of my mind, things like: Name, type of brewery, aspirations, bottle/can/neither/both, self distribution versus LCDB, etc
- Find yourself a Lawyer, Accountant: You will need these guys down the road, and best to make the choice while you have time.
- Start looking for money: When you business plan is written, is presentable, and is in a state that you are happy it details your business in fair and positive light, put it out there to the world. Don’t bother with any NDA agreements for anyone that is sophisticated, they will be insulted.
- Get healthy – Mentally, physically and emotionally: Ok, this isn’t so much related to starting a brewery as it is something to just do while you can. Further down the road, you will be working 12 hour days with several fires to put out a day, meaning exercise and time for yourself evaporates. More importantly, the stress can lead a person to become run-down and develop bad habits. Yoga, running, hockey, playing with my kids, eating healthy and always getting 6-1/2 hours of sleep a night are how I cope.