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 business you are running as a notary public and what the status is. For example, are you a start-up, do you have a notary public business that you’d like to grow, or do you run a chain of notary public businesses?
Next, give an overview of each part of your plan that follows.
- Give a short summary of the notary public business.
- Talk about the kind of notary public business you run.
- Detail your direct competitors. Tell us about your ideal customers.
- Give a quick summary of your marketing plan. Find the important people on your team.
- Give an overview of how you plan to handle your money.
In your business summary, you will explain what kind of notary public business you have.
For example, you could specialize in one of the following types of notary public businesses:
- General Notary: In this type of notary business, you travel to clients’ homes to notarize documents that have nothing to do with real estate. This can include things like powers of attorney, trust documents, documents about health care, transfers of car titles, etc.
- Loan Signing Notary: To become a Signing Agent, you usually need to get additional certifications that are specific to the mortgage industry. As a Signing Agent, you will get jobs from signing services like title companies and mortgage companies to do signings for mortgage and real estate deals.
- Non-Notary Services: This type of notary business is meant to give your notary public business more ways to earn money. This can include services like fingerprinting, inspections, delivery, and apostille services.
In the company overview, you should say what kind of notary public business you will run and give some background on the business.
Include answers to things like:
- When did you start your business, and why?
- What important steps have you taken so far? Milestones could include the number of clients served, the number of notaries with good reviews, reaching X number of clients served, etc.
- Your business’s legal structure. Are you set up as an S-Corporation? An LLC? A single-person business? Tell us about your legal structure.
In your industry or market analysis, you need to give an overview of the notary public industry.
Even though this may seem pointless, it has more than one use.
First, learning about the notary public business makes you smarter. It gives you a better idea of the market you are in.
Second, market research can help you make a better marketing plan, especially if you use it to find market trends.
The third reason is to show readers that you know what you’re talking about. You do just that by doing the research and putting it in your plan.
In the industry analysis section of your notary public business plan, you should answer the following questions:
- How big (in dollars) is the notary public business?
- 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 notary public business’s target 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 section of your business plan for a notary public called “Customer Analysis,” you must describe the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.
Homebuyers, people who need legal or medical documents notarized, real estate agents, and title companies are all examples of customer segments.
As you might guess, the type of notary public business you run will depend a lot on the customer segment(s) you choose. People who need medical documents notarized, for example, would respond to different marketing campaigns than title companies.
Try to figure out who your ideal customers are based on how they look and how they think. In terms of demographics, you should talk about the ages, genders, locations, and levels of income of the people you want to serve. 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 find and keep customers.
In your competitive analysis, you should list your business’s direct and indirect competitors and then focus on the direct ones.
Other notary public businesses are direct competitors.
Indirect competitors are other things that customers can buy besides your product or service that aren’t in direct competition with it. This includes notaries who work for title companies, the post office, or real estate companies. You should also talk about this competition.
Give an overview of each competitor’s business 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 important facts about them, like
- What kinds of customers do they work with?
- What kind of notary public services do they offer?
- 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 provide service if the client comes to you?
- Will you sell or provide 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 notary public business plan should include the following:
Product: In the product section, you should repeat the type of notary public company that you wrote about in your company overview. Then, explain what products or services you will be selling. For instance, do you offer apostille services, inspections, wedding officiation, or fingerprinting?
Price: Write down the prices you’ll be charging and how they compare to those of your competitors. In the product and price sections of your plan, you show what products or services you offer and how much they cost.
Place is where your notary public company is located. Write down where your business is and how the location will affect your success. For example, is your notary public business in a busy shopping area, a business district, a stand-alone office, or just online? Talk about why your site may be the best place for your customers.
Promotions: The last part of your notary public marketing plan is where you write down how you will bring potential customers to your location (s). Here are some ways you could promote your business:
- Advertise in the local newspapers, radio stations, and/or magazines
- Get in touch with websites
- Put out flyers
- Email marketing is a good idea.
- Place ads on social media sites
- Improve your website’s SEO (search engine optimization) for specific keywords
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 everything you need to do to run your notary public business, such as answering calls, setting up notary appointments, traveling to clients and/or notarizing, etc.
Long-term goals are the goals you want to reach in the future. These could include the dates when you hope to book your Xth client or earn $X. It could also be when you want to start doing business as a notary public in a new city.
Your notary public business needs a strong management team to show that it has the potential to 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 the people on your team should have direct experience running businesses for notaries public. 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 by giving advice. They would help answer questions and give advice on how to plan. If you need to, look for advisory board members who have experience running a small real estate or title company business or a notary public business.
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 parts 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, will you see 5 clients a day and/or offer additional services? 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.
The Balance Sheets
Balance sheets list what you own and what you owe. 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 to build up your notary public business, you won’t start making money right away. Instead, it is an asset that you can use to make money for years to come. Also, if someone 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.
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 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, be sure to include some of the most important costs of starting or growing a notary public business:
- Price of notarized documents and notary supplies
- Payroll or salaries given to employees (if any)
- Insurance for businesses
- If you’re starting a new business, you’ll also have to pay for legal fees, permits, computer software, and equipment.