Business and Marketing Plan
The time it takes to develop a Business and Marketing Plan will be returned to you tenfold. It should become the tool that drives strategic growth and against which you measure your progress.
We touch on some key issues below, and look separately at marketing considerations. Once you’ve given it some thought, download the Business & Marketing Plan template and get to work.
If you really are starting from scratch, then get some guidance. Ask your regional association or other local businesses what they do and who you could talk to in the first instance. There are plenty of people with working knowledge who can help.
The South Australian Tourism Industry Council has prepared some very useful information for new tourism ventures, including a checklist, advice kit and business planning template. You can access these resources here.
Sometimes the best way to make a start on your Business and Marketing Plan is to ask yourself some questions and write down the answers.
- Where am I now? (A snapshot of your business)
- What are the main reasons I am here? (Major factors that influenced current position)
- Where do I want to be? (Identify the products, prices, positioning and volumes you need to achieve)
- Who is buying my product/visiting my cellar door? (Describe the target markets that are attracted to your offer)
- How do they hear about me? (Current source of business - such as referral, advertising, media, through trade presence)
- How could I get more of those customers? (Increasing customers within the current customer profile)
- What other customers do I want to attract? (Appealing to customers of a different profile)
- Where are those customers currently going, or what other activities are they engaging in? (Existing winery visitors going somewhere else or lifestyle consumers currently doing other things)
- How can I get them to hear/know about me? (Marketing and communications strategy)
Size does matter
It is common to hear small business owners preclude themselves from the necessity of 'corporate' behaviour on the basis of their size. Business success relies upon strong leadership, understanding of the organisational and operational structure, clear assignation of roles and tasks, regular reporting, transparent and structured communication and most importantly, accountability – regardless of business size.
Know the rules
Like any development project, you will need to work within council guidelines, so it's important to gain a thorough understanding of the development code for your region to ensure your plans comply. Otherwise you could encounter costly delays that impact directly on your bottom line.
Read more about Compliance and licensing
When establishing or expanding wine tourism and cellar door facilities, financial management must be precise to ensure an adequate return. Whether establishing new facilities or adapting existing premises, your decisions must be influenced by available cash, expected return on investment (ROI), and desired image.
The "cheap" option of adapting existing premises can prove more costly in the long run because of early compromises, and it may not be conducive to building your brand image.
Fit-out can also be expensive, depending on the style and range of materials you choose. Once again, this will be determined by your desired brand image and the requirements of your visitors. Landscaping, signage, amenities, car parking and external facilities also need to be factored in, as these play a key role in establishing and reinforcing your brand and attracting and retaining visitors.
Cash flow & ROI
Even the smallest business should at the very least operate a Cash Flow budget. Planning for difficult cash flow times can save enormous stress and finance costs. Equally, planning for cash surpluses means you have the opportunity to maximise the benefits of spare cash by reducing debt, pre-paying invoices at a discount, or timing purchases to minimise overdraft or borrowings.
Equally important is the overall ROI you expect to get. Your invested capital should be returning you an income - eventually, anyway. Otherwise, you may be better off just putting it in the bank. And don't forget to allow for changes in interest rates on your borrowed funds, unless you are locked in for the long term.
Effective businesses simply cannot exist and compete without access to (and a presence on) the Internet, plus email, software programs, merchant facilities and the computer hardware required to drive it all. If the budget allows, an investment in a fully integrated system that incorporates point of sale (cash registers) with accounting, database and distribution programs will pay huge dividends in the long run, potentially generating considerable cost savings in human resources. And whilst you - or your staff - will certainly need to be fluent in the operational aspects of the programs, the really technical stuff can be contracted to experts who are just a phone call away.