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 important parts.
The point of your Executive Summary is to get the reader’s attention quickly. Tell them what kind of courier company you run and what the status is. For example, are you a new business, do you have a courier business that you want to grow, or do you run a chain of courier businesses?
Next, give an overview of each part of your plan that follows. For instance, you could give a short summary of the industry. Talk about the kind of courier service you are running. Detail your direct competitors. Tell us about your ideal customers. Give a brief overview of your marketing plan. Find the important people on your team. And explain what your financial plan is.
In your company analysis, you will explain what kind of courier business you run.
For example, you might run one of the following types of courier businesses:
- Bicycle Courier: This kind of delivery service uses bicycles to make deliveries.
- Van couriers are delivery companies that use vans to make deliveries.
- Drone Courier: This kind of courier uses drones to make deliveries.
- Same-Day Delivery Courier: This type of courier makes deliveries on the same day.
- International Courier: This kind of courier delivers packages all over the world.
In the section of your business plan called “Company Analysis,” you need to explain what kind of courier business you will run and give some background on the business.
Answers should be given to questions like:
- When did you start your business, and why?
- What important steps have you taken so far? Milestones could include the number of customers served, the number of good reviews, the total number of deliveries, and so on.
- Your legal structure. Are you set up as an S-Corporation? An LLC? A single-person business? Explain your legal structure here.
In your industry analysis, you need to describe the courier service industry as a whole.
Even though this may seem pointless, it has more than one use.
First, learning about the courier service business gives you information. It gives you a better idea of the market you are in.
Second, market research can help you make your strategy better, especially if it shows you market trends.
The third reason to do market research is to show your readers that you know a lot about your field. You do just that by doing the research and putting it in your plan.
In the industry analysis section, you should answer the following questions:
- How much money does the business make?
- Is the market going down or up?
- Who are your main rivals in the market?
- Who are the main market suppliers?
- What changes are happening in the field?
- How fast is the industry expected to grow in the next 5–10 years?
- How big is the market that matters? That is, how big could your courier company’s market be? You can figure out such a number by figuring out how big the market is in the whole country and then applying that number to the population in your area.
In the customer analysis section, you need to explain who you serve and/or who you hope to serve.
Small businesses, e-commerce businesses, manufacturing companies, law firms, printing companies, and healthcare providers are all examples of customer segments.
As you might expect, the type of courier company you run will depend a lot on which customer segments you choose. e-commerce businesses and healthcare providers, for example, would respond to different marketing campaigns.
Try to figure out who your ideal customers are based on how they look and how they think. In terms of demographics, talk about the ages, genders, locations, and income levels of the people you want to serve. Because most courier businesses mostly serve people in the same city or town, it is easy to find this kind of demographic information on government websites.
Psychographic profiles explain what your target customers want and need. The better you can understand and define these needs, the easier it will be to get customers and keep them coming back.
In your competitive analysis, you should list your business’s direct and indirect competitors and then focus on the direct ones.
Other courier companies are their main competitors.
Indirect competitors are other places where customers can buy things that aren’t direct competitors. This includes regular shipping services like USPS and UPS. You should also talk about this competition.
In terms of direct competition, you should list the other courier services that you compete with. Most likely, the closest couriers to you will be your direct competitors.
Give an overview of each of these competitors’ businesses and list their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you’ve worked at one of your competitors’ companies, you won’t know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key facts about them, such as:
- What kind of clients do they work with?
- What types of courier services do they have?
- How much do they charge (high, low, etc.)?
- What can they do well?
- What do they do wrong?
For the last two questions, try to answer them from the customers’ point of view. And don’t be afraid to ask the customers of your competitors what they like and dislike about them.
The last part of your competitive analysis section is to list the ways you are better than your competitors. As an example:
- Will you offer better delivery and packaging services?
- Will you offer things that your competitors don’t?
- Will you treat your customers better?
- Will you price things better?
Think about how you will do better than your competitors and write them down in this part of your plan.
Usually, a marketing plan has four parts: the product, the price, the place, and the promotion. Your marketing plan for a courier service should include the following:
Product: In the product section, you should mention again the type of courier company you wrote about in your Company Analysis. Then, give specifics about the products you’ll be selling. For example, do you offer any other services besides courier services? Do you offer custom packaging, fax and print services, or anything else?
Price: Write down the prices you’ll be charging and how they compare to those of your competitors. In your marketing plan, the product and price sections are basically where you list the services you offer and how much they cost.
Place: This is where your courier company is located. Write down where you are and how that will affect your success. For example, is your courier business in a busy shopping area, business district, industrial area, etc.? Talk about why your location could be the best for your customers.
Promotions: The section on promotions is the last part of your courier marketing plan. Here, you’ll write down how you’ll get people to your location (s). Here are some ways you could promote your business:
- Putting ads in newspapers and magazines in your area
- Contacting local websites
- Social media marketing
- Local radio advertising
In the other parts of your business plan, you talked about your goals. In your operations plan, you talk about how you will reach those goals. Your plan for operations should have two separate parts.
Everyday short-term processes include all of the things you need to do to run your courier business, like talking to customers, getting packages, figuring out how to deliver them, and packaging and delivering them.
Long-term goals are the goals you want to reach in the future. These could include the date you hope to make your 100th delivery or make $X in sales. It could also be when you want to expand your courier service into a new city or start offering services in a new market.
Your courier company needs a strong management team to show that it can do well. Showcase the backgrounds of your key players, focusing on the skills and experiences that prove they can help a company grow.
You and/or your team members should have managed courier businesses before. If so, talk about your experience and skills. But also highlight any experience you think will help your business succeed.
If your team is missing something, you might want to put together an advisory board. A two-to-eight-person advisory board would help your business in the same way that a mentor would. They would help answer questions and give advice on how to plan. If you need to, try to find advisory board members who have run courier services or small businesses successfully.
Your 5-year financial plan should include a monthly or quarterly breakdown for the first year, then an annual breakdown after that. Your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement are all part of your financial statements.
A more common name for an income statement is a Profit and Loss statement, or P&L. It shows your income and then takes away your expenses to show if you made a profit.
You need to make assumptions in order to make your income statement. For example, how often will you get 10 new customers? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% every year? As you might expect, the financial forecasts for your business will be greatly affected by the assumptions you choose. Do as much research as you can to try to make sure your assumptions are true.
Balance sheets show both your assets and your debts. Balance sheets can have a lot of information, but try to boil them down to the most important parts. For example, if you spend $50,000 on building up your courier business, you won’t make money right away. Instead, it is an asset that you can use to make money for years to come. Likewise, if a bank gives you a check for $50,000, you don’t have to pay it back right away. Instead, you will have to pay that back over time.
Cash Flow Statement: Your cash flow statement will help you figure out how much money you need to start or grow your business and make sure you never run out of cash. Most business owners and entrepreneurs don’t realize that you can make money but still go bankrupt if you run out of money.
When making your Income Statement and Balance Sheet, make sure to include some of the most important costs of starting or growing a courier business:
- Location build-out, which includes construction, design fees, etc.
- Cost of supplies and equipment
- Payroll or wages given to employees Business insurance
- Taxes and licenses:
- Legal expenses