So you’ve decided you want to start a food truck but you don’t have the start up capital to do it on your own. A business plan for your mobile food business is going to be an important first step, but if you’ve never written one, you may wonder what you have to do to complete this task.
How does one get started on a business plan? There is no absolute route to follow, it depends on who you are, what you do well and how you think. The people who own food trucks (or those who want to) are all different.
An easy way to look at business plans is to see it as a collection of components or modules, that can be started wherever you feel most comfortable.
Here are five areas of a business plan you can start with depending on which one is best for you?
This is a collection of thoughts organized into four categories: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Ideally you gather a small group of people together for just an hour or two, you have somewhere to write out thoughts into bullet points. The SWOT almost always leads to simple, practical strategy.
It’s really hard to do a SWOT without thinking about how to focus on strengths, work around weaknesses, seize opportunities and avoid threats.
Simple Sales Forecast
Your sales forecast is a snapshot of what you think your food truck revenues will be for a few months at the very least, ideally 12 months by month and two more years just annually. Break your forecast into tickets, average revenue per ticket, number of sales, average cost per ticket. From here, the math is simple. Sales is the number of tickets times revenue. Costs are tickets times average cost per ticket.
What happens to most people is that thinking through the details of the sales forecast gets you into business planning. You can’t help thinking about prices, costs, target markets, strategy and focus.
Mission Statement, Vision Statement and Mantra
The mission statement is about what your food truck business does for the customer, the employee, and the owner. The vision statement is a view of what you want your mobile food business to be three years from now. And a mantra is a simple sentence summary.
Try to avoid simple hype. Test it yourself by asking these questions:
- Does this describe my food truck in a way that it differentiates it from my competitors?
- Would a customer read this and identify my business with it?
- Is this what one customer would tell another about your food truck?
Develop your core market story.
Invent an ideal customer and tell yourself the story of how they identify a problem, or something he or she wants, searches for it, and finds your food truck. Make the story an explanation of what the problem was and how your mobile food business solved it.
Talk to 10 Prospective Customers
I’m always amazed at how much business thinking comes out of the simple process of talking to real people about your real business. Do it right: Find people willing to talk to you and take some time with them. Start by making sure they don’t think they are supposed to tell you what you want to hear, but rather, the truth.
Any one of these five first steps might be right for you. All of them can help you get going, and they are all good steps to take regardless of what follows.