Your executive summary is the first part of your business plan, but you usually write it last because it is a summary of all the most important parts.
The point of your executive summary is to grab the reader’s attention quickly. Tell them what kind of carpet cleaning business you have and how things are going. For instance, are you a startup, do you have a carpet cleaning business that you want to grow, or do you run a chain of carpet cleaning businesses?
Next, give an overview of each part of your plan that comes next.
- Describe the business of cleaning carpets in a few words.
- Talk about what kind of carpet cleaning business you own.
- Detail your direct competitors. Describe your ideal customers.
- Briefly describe your marketing plan. Find the key players on your team.
- Describe in general terms how you plan to handle your money.
In your business summary, you will say what kind of carpet cleaning business you have.
For instance, you could focus on one of the following types of carpet cleaning businesses:
- Residential services: This type of business helps people who own their own homes clean their carpets.
- Commercial services: This kind of business cleans carpets for businesses like corporate offices, hotels, and apartment complexes.
- Carpet restoration: This type of business not only cleans carpets, but also fixes or replaces them.
- Steam cleaning: This type of business specializes in cleaning carpets with a powerful machine that mixes hot water and soap for a deep clean.
In the company overview, you need to say what kind of carpet cleaning business you will run and give some background on the business.
Include answers to questions such as:
- When and why did you start your own business?
- What are the most important steps you’ve taken so far? Milestones could be things like how many customers you served, how many carpets you cleaned, how much money you made, etc.
- Your legal business Do you run your business as an S-Corporation? An LLC? A business with just one person? Tell us about your legal structure.
In your industry or market analysis, you need to talk about the carpet cleaning business as a whole.
This may seem like it doesn’t do anything, but it does.
First, learning about the business of carpet cleaning gives you information. It helps you understand the market you’re in better.
Second, market research can help you come up with a better marketing plan, especially if you look for market trends.
The third reason is to show that you know what you are talking about. This is what you do when you do your research and write it down in your plan.
In the industry analysis section of your carpet cleaning business plan, you should answer these questions:
- How much money does the business of cleaning carpets bring in?
- Is the market getting smaller or bigger?
- Who are your biggest market competitors?
- Who are the most important suppliers in the market?
- What kinds of changes are happening in business?
- How do you think the business will grow over the next 5–10 years?
- How large should the market be? That is, how many people could your carpet cleaning business serve? You can get this number by figuring out how big the market is in the whole country and then applying that number to the people in your area.
In the “Customer Analysis” section of your business plan, you must describe the customers you serve or expect to serve.
Customer segments include people, schools, families, and corporations.
As you might expect, the type of carpet cleaning business you run will depend a lot on the customer segment(s) you choose. People would react to marketing campaigns differently than, say, businesses.
Try to figure out who your best customers are based on how they look and what they think. In terms of demographics, you should talk about the people you want to serve’s ages, genders, locations, and income levels. Psychographic profiles explain what your ideal customers want and need. If you can understand and define these needs well, it will be easier to find and keep customers.
In your competitive analysis, you should list both direct and indirect competitors for your business and then focus on the direct ones.
There are other companies that also clean carpets and are direct competitors.
Customers can buy other things besides your product or service that aren’t in direct competition with it. This includes other cleaning services and stores where you can buy things to clean your own carpets. You should also mention this contest.
Give an overview of each competitor’s business and a list of their strengths and weaknesses. You won’t know everything about your competitors unless you’ve worked at one of their companies. But you should be able to find important information about them, such as
- Who are the clients they work with?
- What kind of a carpet cleaning business are they?
- What are the prices (high, low, etc.)?
- What are they really good at?
- Why do they mess up?
Try to answer the last two questions from the customer’s point of view. And don’t be afraid to ask the people who buy from your competitors what they like and don’t like about them.
In the last part of your competitive analysis, you should list the ways you are better than your competitors. For instance:
- Will you make it easier for your clients to get your services?
- Will you sell or provide things that your rivals don’t?
- Will you be nicer to your customers?
- Will you make better prices?
- In this part of your plan, you should think about how you will do better than your competitors and write those ideas down.
Usually, a marketing plan includes four parts: the product, the price, the place, and the promotion. Your carpet cleaning business’s marketing plan should include the following:
Product: In the product section, you should say again what kind of carpet cleaning business you have, just like you did in your company summary. Then, explain what goods or services you will be selling. For example, do you offer services like steam cleaning, dry cleaning, or cleaning with foam?
Price: Write down what you’ll be charging and how it compares to what your competitors are charging. In your plan, you list the products or services you offer and how much they cost in the “Products and Prices” section.
Place is where your company that cleans carpets is located. Write down where your business is and how it’s location will affect your success. For example, is your carpet cleaning business in a busy shopping area, a business district, a stand-alone office, or only online? Talk about why your website might be the best place for your customers.
Promotions: In the last part of your carpet cleaning marketing plan, you write down how you will bring potential customers to your location (s). Here are a few ways you could promote your business:
- Advertise in local newspapers, radio stations, and/or magazines
- Get in touch with sites
- Distribute flyers
- Engage in email marketing
- Put ads on social networking sites
- Improve your site’s SEO (search engine optimization) for specific keywords
You wrote about your goals in other parts of your business plan. In your operations plan, you talk about how you will reach these goals. Your operations plan should have two different parts.
Everyday short-term processes include everything you have to do to run your carpet cleaning business, like answering calls, setting up cleaning appointments, billing customers and collecting payments, etc.
Long-term goals are the things you want to accomplish in the future. These dates could be when you hope to get your Xth customer or when you hope to make $X in sales. It could also be when you want to take your carpet cleaning business to a new city.
You need a strong management team to show that your carpet cleaning business has a chance of doing well. Showcase the backgrounds of your key players, focusing on the skills and experiences that show they can help a company grow.
You or someone on your team should have run a business before that cleaned carpets. If so, talk about your skills and experience. But you should also talk about any experience you have that you think will help your business succeed.
If your team is missing something, you may want to form an advisory board. A two-to-eight-person advisory board could help your business by giving advice. They would help answer questions and give suggestions about how to plan. If you have to, try to find advisory board members who have managed a carpet cleaning business before.
Your 5-year financial plan should have a monthly or quarterly breakdown for the first year and an annual breakdown after that. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement.
Profit and Loss, or P&L, is a more common name for an income statement. It shows how much money you made and how much you spent, so you can see if you made a profit.
To make your income statement, you have to guess what will happen. For instance, will you hire 5 people to clean carpets, and will each person serve 3 customers per day? And will sales grow every year by 2% or 10%? As you might expect, the assumptions you choose will have a big effect on the financial forecasts for your business. Try to find out as much as you can about your assumptions to see if they are right.
The Balance Sheets
Balance sheets show what you own and what you have to pay back. Balance sheets can have a lot of information, but try to get down to the most important parts. For instance, if you spend $50,000 to build up your carpet cleaning business, you won’t make money right away. Instead, it is an asset you can use to make money for years to come. Also, you don’t have to pay back a $50,000 check right away if someone gives it to you. You will have to pay that back slowly instead.
Statement of Cash Flow
Your cash flow statement will help you figure out how much money you need to start or grow your business and make sure that you never run out of cash. Most business owners and entrepreneurs don’t realize that you can make money and still go bankrupt if you run out of money.
When you make your Income Statement and Balance Sheet, make sure to include some of the most important costs of starting or growing a carpet cleaning business:
- Cost of carpet-cleaning tools and supplies
- Payroll or salaries that are given to workers
- Businesses need insurance.
- When you start a new business, you will also have to pay for legal fees, permits, computer software, and equipment.