Business plan template

A friend -the person who donated their business plan for analysis in the Analyzing Business Plans series– sent me an apparel industry appropriate business template that he found. By the way, he has taken your criticisms (although some were a bit harsh) to heart which is why he thinks you all would appreciate knowing about the business template too.

You can buy the template from our neighbors next door at fashionincubator.com (the Toronto Fashion Incubator). I knew it was there and was going to buy it at one point just to see if it was any good but part of me was very prima-donna-ish, pouting that they should just send me one free since I’d be likely to broadcast it’s utility but then my psychologically-intact side said that TFI was a worthwhile organization, worthy of support so I should just pay the $27 CDN fee since I could afford it but by the time my inner evil twins duked it out, I forgot it was there. Therefore, thanks to our friend who sent me a copy for the purposes of review (whether I would recommend it), I’ve seen it and can whole heartedly and enthusiastically recommend it. Yes, please do rush out and buy it. I like it. I like it a lot.

There is one downside; it is specific to Canada. Dollar figures are Canadian dollars so adjust accordingly. I still think it’s worth buying for everybody in the lower 48. It doesn’t have everything in it but it has a lot. You won’t regret buying it. For those of you who don’t sew, and know nothing about costing the different operations that may be needed or anything like that, it won’t give you all the answers but you can use it as another road map toward finding more of the questions you don’t know enough to know that you should be asking. In other words, it’s almost a self teaching tool that could be useful in calculating operating costs and the like. For those who do know this stuff, it can serve as a checklist or reminder for things you may have forgotten.

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9 comments

  1. J C Sprowls says:

    Wow… a very generous response from your friend. Please extend my gratitude.

    I’m a little too busy until the end of November; but, I have this page bookmarked so I can quickly retrieve this information.

  2. Yvonne says:

    I concur….I have used it in as guide in developing my own business plan, and it was the only template I could find that was industry relevant.I works hand in hand with the How to Start a Fashion Business guide which i also purchased.
    By the way TFI is also launching it’s own industry
    web TV station TFI-TV Oct.9th, available through a paid subscription http://www.tfitv.com/promo

  3. Kim and I joined TFI in August and purchased both the business plan document and guide.

    Along with Kathleen’s book, these have been an incredible boost to starting our business. This stuff is not taught in school.

    Last week, we signed up to a TFI seminar on marketing in Germany and watched it through a webcast provided by the same company that is doing their TFI-TV.

    Not only did it save us 8 hours of driving and gas, but we got much better notes than had we been there since they had someone repeating what the presenter was saying in the chat window. All in the comfort of our home :)

    The information was fantastic and I am really looking forward to their “TV shows”.

  4. Marnie says:

    Kerry –

    If it weren’t out of your way to attend the seminars in person, which would you choose – live or TFI-TV? I live close to TFI and attend their seminars. It had never occurred to me to watch them online until you mentioned the notes-taking, and it’s an excellent point. A transcript of the seminar would be incredibly valuable.

  5. I asked them if they would be posting the video so it could be viewed later and they said “possibly”. A guess would be that you would get access to those if you subscribe to TFI-TV. I’m not sure about transcripts. The person typing in the chat didn’t type every word, but just certain points. Very helpful when it came to spelling German cities :)

    If they do make the videos/transcripts available and I lived in Toronto, I would likely go since it would be nice to be there and talk with other designers, etc and then download the video later for reference.

    But the good thing about having a chat interface along side the video is we got to ask questions to the presenter during the presentation just like everyone else. There were about 4-5 people in the chat (you can’t actually see them in a list) and there was even a person from L.A. which was very cool.

    I’ll make a post on our blog later on and link it here when it’s done.

    Hope this helps.

    Kerry

  6. Susan says:

    Hi Kathleen and everyone!

    Thank you all so much for your overwhelmingly positive remarks about the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI), our guidebooks and our new TFI-TV program.

    As Canada’s premier fashion non-profit dedicated to helping new fashion entrepreneurs succeed and survive, we really try our best to deliver relevant information. Every sale that’s made goes back into developing new programming and improving existing ones.

    The seminar on exporting to Germany (and a transcription) will be posted in the archive section of TFI-TV in 2 weeks. We’ll also be selling audio CDs of all webcasts (including that one) so people can listen on the go, without making a 3-month subscription committment to TFI-TV. But for $54 Canadian for 3 months, TFI-TV is really a good deal. Kathleen, if you want to test it out, email me and I’ll give you a temporary password. The promo at http://www.tfitv.com/promo/ really doesn’t compare to all of the content on the live site.

    BTW, our mutual friend who sent you his business plan also sent it to me. I sent it back to him with 2 recommendations: 1. To get your book 2. To get our business plan template. He’s done a great job revising his plan although it’s still too aggressive/optimistic (I told him this already). In Canada, I tell new fashion entrepreneurs to expect to break even at the 8 year mark. Someone can do it in less; some will take more time. But after 30 years in the business, that’s what I’ve tracked.

    Take care & thanks again for your support of TFI!

  7. Peter says:

    I actually would like to get a brand’s franchise but my knowledge about how to deal with the companies and what are the requirement is not very well so,im asking for help

    I already know which brand i want to work with and i know how to get them to my country.
    The only problem is how to deal and connect theml and make a business plan.

    Im looking forward to hearing from you.

  8. J C Sprowls says:

    Peter,

    Franchising takes many forms. The most popular is as a “joint venture partner”. The JVP essentially fronts a small investment to license the franchise for a period of time; and, the organization works with the JVP to set up shop – effectively, a turn-key operation (i.e. locating real estate, finding local vendors, establishing the corporate quality standard, etc). You don’t need a business plan to buy into a franchise, per se. It is in your best interest to work with a franchise or business law attorney and an industry consultant to negotiate the deal – question and validate everything! The industry consultant will tell you what it takes to make those figures real; while, the attorney will tell you what is within your rights.

    If you have already identified the brand you want to work with, look for franchise opportunities on their website. If they do not have a website, then contact the Corporate Controller’s office or the Real Estate office to ask for a referral to someone who can speak to you about franchise opportunities. Other catch phrases might be: Business Development, Market Expansion, or Market Penetration. In addition, there are also several franchise-devoted search engines, making the propsect even easier. Google the term: “franchise” and see what you get.

    —-The following is an unsolicited opinion, so please proceed at your own risk—-

    I am adamantly opposed to franchising. I spent 16 years in the hospitality industry, 7 of which I consulted, process-(re)engineered, and developed (i.e. ground-up built) restaurants for several brand names as an independent contractor. Some of these brands are in your “neighborhood” [wink!] or “down under” [wink!]. Many of the JVP deals I saw during the projects I worked allowed a partner (or, group of partners) to buy in for about $20K.

    The organization(s) (IMO) man-handled the JVP. They put forth a contract that basically said (in laymen’s terms): produce $[some_riduclously_impossible_figure] in profit w/in 2 years, or the license and property are forfeit. In other words… “produce, or you’re out on your ear.” The ugly truth is that out of 34 projects, I only know of 2 who were still held jointly by the JVP and the Corporation(s) – and, those situations were precarious when I last checked in 2003.

    The short of it: franchising is seductive, so be extremely prudent. Frankly, I think you should first determine why you require a franchise. Is the goal to learn a specific brand’s operating principles? Or, is it because you feel you need to turn your small investment around quickly? If the former, apply for a job with the firm (preferably as operations supervisor or manager). If the latter, save your money – I have never seen a JVP make any more than 8% – 13% on their investment after year #3. You’d make more in a CD (13/4 = 3.25% non-compounded APR) and not have to deal with those pesky non-compete clauses – which, IMO, are worse than losing money. The non-compete prevents you from re-entering the industry when you need it, the most.

    If you survive more than 5 years in the franchise, you’ll begin to make a return on your investment. Plan to break even between years #3 and #5. Be wary, though, the contract is designed to prevent you from holding onto your share beyond year #5 – it’s a statistics paradigm.

  9. V. Yang says:

    Thanks for sharing another great resource Kathleen! Off to purchase the template – I’ve been looking for an apparel-industry specific one for ages! I know this is quite an old post, but I have been slowly making my way through the blog archives. (^(oo)^)

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