Let’s be honest: no one will ever read your business plan from A to Z. Neither the bankers nor the funds, no one. “Investors get so many that they can not study them all. At best, they fly over them, ”assures a young designer. But there is no reason to skip this step. “At the start of a creative project, it’s even important to write one,” insists Jérôme Masurel, director of the Paris Accelerators 50 Partners.
In fact, working for several months on this 30-page document allows entrepreneurs to accurately measure the business they are embarking on: Will the turnover of their box after thorough analysis be closer to 1 million or 10 million euros? And is it worth spending crazy energy just for a million? Before we get to the conclusion, the file is structured around five parts, each describing one of the ingredients for your success.
This is the first point to address. Catering, household products or undertakers, accurately outline your market segment and its size. With Alanna, a social platform for bereaved families, Marie Salmon thus launched this year in the funeral industry, estimated at 2.5 billion euros. Number of deaths (600,000 per year), average expenses per funeral (3,815 euros), annual growth (3%), etc. In the sector, the available data are abundant. It helps to build strong hypotheses, ”she says. Very often ”the indicators do not exist. It is up to the creator to gather information from its future competitors, suppliers and partners, and to calculate its exact scope of activity, ”resumes Jérôme Masurel.
This is the section where the founder makes investors want to finance him. “In the UK, Denmark, Portugal, new types of places dedicated to catering are exploding, but not yet in France. But it does not last long. So there are places to take right now, ”says Geoffroy Marticou, co-founder of Grand Scène, a food court in Lille. An argument that hit the spot as the young CEO, who aims to open several other addresses in France between fundraising, loans and grants, has raised 4 million euros.
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“This passage counts a lot because financiers are dependent on a duo or a trio of complementary profiles,” emphasizes Agathe Chapelais, incubator director at EuraTechnologies Accelerator. Write a text showing how your experience gives you credibility: you have already worked in the sector or in a company with the same model; you have completed large projects successfully; and you have strong enough shoulders not to give up in six months.
Marie Salmon is thus completely legitimate in leading Alanna because, before launching her young recording, she led the French subsidiary of two British scale-ups: Made.com (furniture) and Bloom & Wild (flowers). Nothing to do with funerals, but they are digital platforms. “I am used to these companies”, assures the one who raised 200,000 euros in pre-seed, thanks in part to her CV
Describe your product in 4 or 5 pages. Is it a product or service, is it offered for sale in a store or by subscribing online? Give details. “If you deliver, say, for example, how much the logistics cost you each time and how you finance it,” advises Agathe Chapelais. Also include a section on your competitors.
All in all, this meticulous work will allow you to imagine your activity in a concrete way. “By projecting oneself into reality, any problem can be foreseen. For example, Chic Types (clothes for men) could have saved its skin, in 2016, if it had measured that it would be exposed to so many thefts, ”swears Jérôme Masurel.
This is the quantified part of your business plan. It takes up 4 pages and just as many tables. “If your market is stable, like the restaurant market, with well-known margins and growth rates, your three-year revenue assumptions will be realistic,” explains Jérôme Ledig, Certified Public Accountant and President of In Extenso Côte. of Azure. But if it’s newer or even new, as is the case with start-ups, your projections will sound like science fiction. In this case, it is better to present a forecast at the break-even point. “
To do this, list all your costs (expenses, rents, salaries, taxes, etc.) and determine your “breakeven point”, ie. the turnover in addition to which you start making money. Above all, the income statement is an essential management tool, emphasizes Nicolas Simon, co-founder of La Marque en less (household products sold online). Updated weekly and indicates the minimum number of sales to be made to avoid falling into the red. This is valuable for handling cash. “
Together with Maxime Deguine, his partner, they added two tables: an annual income statement and an Excel file describing the cost and profit of each product. “Our business plan has primarily served to reassure investors. Thanks to him, they were able to verify that we had mastered our profession. ” And be sure enough to give them 2 million euros. On good terms…
Marianne Barbier and Geoffroy Marticou, the founders of the Grand Scène
Before opening our food court, which brings together 10 restaurants and 2 bars in the former premises of Galeries Lafayette, in the center of Lille, we spent six months writing our ‘data room’. This 50-page electronic document sets out our strategic vision, our cost estimates, our architecture that performed the work, the business lease and the company’s administrative documents, the logo, etc. All of these elements allow our interlocutors to imagine our activity in a very concrete way.This data space helped us convince banks and investors to give us 4 million euros. “
The 8 key points
Your preliminary business plan should include at least the following elements.
- A presentation of your course and your motivations.
- The company’s assets: its buildings, its equipment, future investments.
- Human resources: the amount of compensation and social costs for the manager and employees.
- WCR (working capital requirement): expenses to be incurred while waiting for cash to arrive.
- To be financed: investments, stocks, start-up costs (advertising, training, etc.), WCR.
- Resources: your contribution, assistance received, bank loans.
- The result: Revenue minus purchases, fixed costs, personnel costs, depreciation and interest on debt.
- The three-year financing plan. It is the summary document and the final judgment that confirm – or not – your forecasts regarding free cash flow.
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