Growth Management and Strategies (GMS) is an innovative company aiming to revolutionize the small business consulting industry. Led by an experienced consultant as President, GMS plans to achieve over 50% annual growth through exceptional customer service, a strong sales plan, proven competitive strategies, and a team that brings dynamic energy to both the company and the sales process.

This business plan serves two purposes: securing a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and providing a roadmap for the company. It instills a sense of purpose in all present and future employees, including the owner. The plan is a living document that extends beyond the SBA loan, potentially attracting investors.

GMS’s financial projections are conservative, based on industry standards. The company aims to build its client base gradually and prioritize personalized customer service to foster loyalty. Delivering excellent customer service aligns with GMS’s mission.

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1.1 Objectives

The objectives for Growth Management and Strategies are:

  • Gain access to an SBA loan upon start up.
  • Grow the company from 2 employees in Year 1, to over 10 by Year 5.
  • Increase revenue to over $3 million by Year 3.
  • Increase client base by 450% in three years.
  • Maintain job costing that keeps margins above 70%.

1.2 Mission

The company mission is to serve small business clients in need of logistical, technical, and business strategy services. Projects will be chosen based on the availability of human resources, and each employee will be given the respect of a contract worker and will share in profits for each job. The company will implement and clearly communicate a performance review policy that applies to all employees. Credit and compensation will be given for innovative modifications to projects.

Growth Management and Strategies is a company that respects the needs and expectations of its employees and clients. Adjustments will be made to preserve the company culture if either is compromised.

1.3 Keys to Success

Our keys to success are:

  • Maintain client satisfaction of at least 90%.
  • Keep overhead low.
  • Ensure professional marketing and presentation of services.
  • Provide an active and functional website.

Company Summary

Growth Management and Strategies is a C corporation based in Boston, MA, near Copely Place. The company was established by owner Bill Dawson, who has extensive experience leading small businesses to growth and innovation. Dawson’s previous experience includes working for McKinsey and Bain and Company. The company has achieved notable successes, including one client being acquired by a major multinational conglomerate and another experiencing 700% product sales growth in the first year.

2.1 Start-up Summary

This start-up summary lists the costs associated with leasing, purchasing office equipment, and acquiring other resources necessary to establish the business. Furniture, LAN lines, and technology purchases are essential for effective client communication and website establishment.

Other services included in the start-up summary are legal consulting fees, minimized through resources provided by Nolo. Incorporation fees are included in the legal fees.

The start-up table shows a high free cash flow relative to similar small consulting businesses. The owner prioritizes positive cash flow and recognizes the need for financial stability during months without contracts. Planned debt leverage is low, resulting in relatively low risk to lenders.

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Start-up Requirements:

– Legal (Incorporation, Books) – $350

– Stationery, Basic Office Supplies – $300

– Collateral Materials (Printing and Design) – $1,500

– LAN, Wireless Network Setup – $550

– Business and Liability Insurance – $250

– Lease Deposit and First Month – $5,400

Market Research Data – $1,250

– Website Hosting – $100

– Computer, Printer, other Expensed Equip. – $4,500

– Total Start-up Expenses – $14,200

Start-up Assets:

– Cash Required – $45,800

– Total Assets – $45,800

Total Requirements: $60,000

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Start-up Funding:

– Start-up Expenses to Fund – $14,200

– Start-up Assets to Fund – $45,800

– Total Funding Required – $60,000

Assets:

– Non-cash Assets from Start-up – $0

– Cash Requirements from Start-up – $45,800

– Additional Cash Raised – $0

– Cash Balance on Starting Date – $45,800

– Total Assets – $45,800

Liabilities and Capital:

– Liabilities

– Current Borrowing – $0

– Long-term Liabilities – $25,000

– Accounts Payable (Outstanding Bills) – $0

– Other Current Liabilities (interest-free) – $0

– Total Liabilities – $25,000

– Capital

– Planned Investment

– Dawson – $35,000

– Other – $0

– Additional Investment Requirement – $0

– Total Planned Investment – $35,000

– Loss at Start-up (Start-up Expenses) – ($14,200)

– Total Capital – $20,800

Total Capital and Liabilities – $45,800

Total Funding – $60,000

2.2 Company Ownership

Growth Management and Strategies is wholly owned by Bill Dawson and is classified as an LLC.

Services

Growth Management and Strategies offers a variety of customized services to small businesses. The company uses a bidding process and also provides fixed rate options.

Market Analysis Summary

The target customer is a dissatisfied small business owner who is unhappy with the business’s revenue or daily management. The customer likely operates a business worth $200K to $10 million with growth rates between 1-10%. Market growth in the Boston/Cambridge Metro area is predicted to be around 3% per year and may increase due to SBA lending programs. However, the company’s customer base relies more on service needs and reputation. Mr. Dawson has a strong reputation and connections within the community, including being a frequent contributor to the business section of the Boston Herald.

4.1 Market Segmentation

The market is divided by revenue, but other factors are also important. Growth Management and Strategies specializes in assisting businesses that are at or below the general economic growth rate and require a turnaround. Other factors considered include debt of more than 30% yearly revenue, negative free cash flow, underperforming long-term growth compared to competitors, and management discord/performance issues. These factors serve as a starting point for the sales team when targeting potential clients.

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Market Analysis

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5

Potential Customers Growth CAGR

200K – $500K Revenue 4% 1,250 1,300 1,352 1,406 1,462 3.99%

$501K – $3 million Revenue 1% 320 323 326 329 332 0.92%

$3 million – $10 million Revenue -5% 129 123 117 111 105 -5.02%

Other 0% 0 0 0 0 0 0.00%

Total 2.82% 1,699 1,746 1,795 1,846 1,899 2.82%

4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy

The target market strategy involves isolating potential customers by revenue, then drilling down to specific needs via the sales team’s needs analysis methodology.

The first tier customers, businesses with over $3 million in revenue, may find themselves more comfortable hiring Growth Management and Strategies on retainer. A retainer helps maintain consistent cash flow, even if these customers require more services than what they have paid for. This issue will be addressed in the Personnel topic.

The second tier customers, businesses operating at revenue levels of $501K – $3 million, are excited to have moved out of the home office stage and into a new level of stability. These businesses can be challenging to work with because they are often not willing to part with company shares and are unsure of necessary marketing investments. The company will serve these small businesses based on a bid cycle and needs analysis.

The third tier customers are easier to identify and more ubiquitous than the rest. These small businesses are operating on $200K – $500K in revenue, often from a home office, and have a firm sense of their market and potential. They have trouble executing their plans effectively or following through on growth strategies. The strategy is to provide these businesses with a short needs analysis and focus on the quantity of such customers to maintain a solid revenue stream.

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4.3 Service Business Analysis

This industry is split between small businesses advising small businesses, such as Growth Management and Strategies, and large conglomerate multinational consulting firms. GMS plans to be there when the larger consulting firms fail to deliver on their promises.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are mom and pop consulting firms owned by talented people who lack the marketing resources or expertise to reach a broader customer base.

GMS is somewhere in between. With years of guerrilla marketing experience and a long-term plan for success, Mr. Dawson is determined to build the company one client at a time and focus on a sales team that outperforms competitors.

GMS plans to grow to over $2 million in consulting revenue within the first two years. At that point, the service business analysis will be re-evaluated.

4.3.1 Competition and Buying Patterns

Small business clients typically learn about the consulting services market through word-of-mouth and outbound sales teams. The most competitive players in this market have the best sales teams that can communicate technical needs analysis in a non-technical way and provide industry-specific information useful to the client.

Price is also important and operates on a tiered system. GMS must be careful not to outbid competitors if the customer has no plans to modify their business plan. Competition in this industry leads to frustration and burnout, and GMS takes a strong sense of purpose to push the business beyond low-return clients.

Strategy and Implementation Summary

GMS will pursue a strategy aligned with the experience of the owner. Implementation will be performance-based and follow a clear path. Milestones and the vision of Mr. Dawson are important to the implementation of this plan. The company strategy is closely tied to the sales strategy.

5.1 Competitive Edge

GMS has a significant competitive edge in the following areas:

– Customer service mobility – GMS offers no hold phone lines, same day email responses, and callbacks within one hour. The phone technology provides salespeople with all databased customer information before they say “hello”.

– “Needs Analysis” service – GMS offers a unique competitive advantage in an industry filled with aggressive outbound sales teams and customer-alienating consultants.

– A considerable network of contacts – Mr. Dawson’s connections in the consulting industry, including his Harvard degree, provide an extensive alumni network and open doors for GMS.

5.2 Marketing Strategy

GMS’s marketing strategy revolves around a three-tiered focus. The first tier focuses on customer service ideals, which are also included in the competitive comparison. The second tier is centered on the execution level of all sales efforts, and the third tier aims to build a team-centric company culture.

5.3 Sales Strategy

GMS plans to develop and train 5-6 new salespeople by year two. The primary sales contact will be Mr. Dawson initially, but this will change as revenues increase and the company can invest in human capital.

GMS’s sales strategy focuses on conducting an initial needs analysis with potential clients and then discussing specifics in a personal interview. The goal is to identify the client’s needs and offer appropriate solutions. GMS aims to provide customer service and empowerment rather than condescension and sales "closers."

5.3.1 Sales Forecast

The sales forecast is based on the assumption that most revenue will come from consulting bids. The growth in retainer revenue is lower than the expected yearly growth in consulting bids. GMS believes that the Needs Analysis service will generate sales far exceeding the costs incurred.

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Sales Forecast:

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3

Sales

Job Bids $257,493 $463,487 $834,276

Retainer $549,337 $714,138 $928,379

Needs Analysis $0 $0 $0

Other $0 $0 $0

Total Sales $806,829 $1,177,624 $1,762,655

Direct Cost of Sales:

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3

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Job Bids $0 $0 $0

Retainer $0 $0 $0

Needs Analysis $10,151 $11,673 $13,424

Other $0 $0 $0

Subtotal Direct Cost of Sales $10,151 $11,673 $13,424

5.4 Milestones:

The milestones table includes one listing each for the business plan and the marketing plan. These are crucial to the success of GMS in the short and long term. While the other milestones are important, most are standard tasks required to start any business. However, the most significant milestone is financial. The SBA loan will determine whether GMS has enough working capital to sustain the business for 5-12 months without immediate revenue. If GMS cannot secure the necessary working capital outlined in this document, the company will dissolve, and the owner will pursue other opportunities. It is possible that the line item for "SBA Loan" may be revised to involve family or friends as investors. Ideally, Mr. Dawson will be able to maintain full control of the company and guide its direction in line with his vision.

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Milestones

Milestone Start Date End Date Budget Manager Department

Business Plan 7/1/2003 8/1/2003 $250 Dawson NA

Select and Purchase Equipment 7/15/2002 9/1/2002 $4,500 Dawson NA

Establish Sales Routine, Methods 8/12/2002 8/22/2002 $0 Dawson NA

Setup LAN, Utilities, Office 8/1/2002 9/1/2002 $450 Dawson NA

Marketing Plan 6/1/2002 7/1/2002 $250 Dawson NA

Corporate Minutes, Board Selection 9/1/2002 9/15/2002 $0 Dawson NA

SBA Loan 10/1/2002 11/1/2002 $250 Dawson NA

Totals $5,700

Management Summary

The management team will initially consist of Bill Dawson. A Harvard MBA and world-renowned consultant for major Fortune 500 companies, Mr. Dawson has built a reputation based on his customer-centric approach to consulting, a relative anomaly in the world of high-profile consulting. Many consultants believe they are right and that the client exists solely to learn from them. However, GMS takes a different approach. Mr. Dawson acts as an interviewer, gathering as much information as possible about the client in a one or two week period. This approach is very effective as it gives the sales team flexibility in dealing with potential customers and removes the pressure to close the sale.

Mr. Dawson also applies this approach to managing his salespeople. GMS does not require a large management structure or administrative overhead. Many of these processes can be outsourced or automated through internet technology. Instead, GMS aims to reward high performers and educate underperformers. Each salesperson undergoes a series of tests and screenings to ensure they align with the Dawson management style. This approach eliminates uncertainty and fosters a light-hearted and fun team atmosphere.

6.1 Personnel Plan

This table outlines GMS’s plan to acquire clients. Initially, one salesperson will be trained who will later lead a team of salespeople as the company expands. The promise of growth and the opportunity to work for a strategically positioned consulting business has attracted interest from three major players, despite a significant salary cut. The chance to share in company profits (10%) and growth compensates for the lack of guarantees in this low base, high commission position.

Personnel Plan Year 1 Year 2 Year 3

Salesperson #1 $54,000 $62,000 $68,000

Other $0 $0 $0

Total People 1 3 5

Total Payroll $54,000 $62,000 $68,000

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