Anatomy of a food truck business plan | Part 1

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A business plan is actually a pretty standard document with common headings and topics. While you want to be clear and effective in your writing, there are some parts that should be succinct and others very detailed. Review this breakdown of standard business plan sections before you start writing:

Cover Page

This simple page can help you make the best first impression with investors and others interested in helping your business. This page should include things like:

  • Your business name
  • Your business website
  • Your contact information
  • Your logo, if you have one

A cover page allows the person who picks up your plan to know exactly what they’re looking at and who they are trying to assess.

Table of Contents

To make things easier for the reader, it will help to have a table of contents after your cover page.  This is simply a list of the elements of your business page so that a person can easily flip back to the pages they want to see, or they can come page to certain sections after reading the entire plan.

You may also notice that a person who reads your plan might want to look at the table of contents first to see if you’re submitting complete plan, not just an undeveloped summary.

Ideally, you can create your table of contents first and then use it as you write to make sure you’ve covered all of the potential questions and concerns a person may have when reading your plan.

Basic Information

One of the first questions a person will have when reading your business plan is who is involved with the business.  While this might include just you, for now, you will want to list yourself as the owner (assuming you are), as well as the investors you have already, any partners you might include, as well as your accountant, your attorney, your banking contacts, etc.

This section should be brief, but it should contain the people who are involved with the business and who the reader will need to contact for verification of the information inside the plan.

Introduction

As with any good piece of writing, you need to introduce the information that is to follow.  In the introduction piece, make sure to briefly introduce what the business is, who you are, and what the business plan will contain.  While this might seem redundant after the Table of Contents, reminding the reader of what they can expect prevents them from feeling lost.

Executive Summary

The first thing you need to include in your business plan is the summary of what you are doing.  This doesn’t have to be very formal necessarily, but it does need to include the reason why you’re in the business in the first place.  This piece shouldn’t be more than a few paragraphs as the reader wants to have the basics of your business, without having to read a novel.

You should create a summary that allows a person to clearly picture what your business has to offer.  This piece is a sales pitch for your company, so it should be filled with exact details about what your food truck will include.  You should not be vague in this section as this is often where readers will determine whether to continue reading, or if they should stop before they get in too deep.

Business Description

Just a single sentence about what your business will be offering allows there to be no question about what your food truck business will include for the customers.

Mission Statement

If you have written up a unique mission statement, this is a good place for it.  And if you haven’t written one up already, it’s time to do so.  This should be a well-written piece about what your business has to offer that other food trucks in your area do not.  For example, if you’re offering organic foods, then you need to have this in your mission statement.

For example, you might write something like:

Our mission is to provide fresh, local produce and organic ingredients, sourced from local community farmers to the community.

Instantly, the reader understands the value and the MISSION of your business.

Company Goals and Objectives

If a reader doesn’t get the impression that you have certain goals in mind, they might not be confident in your ability to reach certain goals that will allow you to repay investments and to become a success.

In this section, you will want to talk about why you’re starting this business and why you feel it’s important to the market in which you will be placed.  You might have noticed a need in your area for certain types of foods, without having to create another restaurant.

You might also want to talk about the objectives you have in running your food stand.  This can include things like five-year or even ten-year goals for profitability and expansion.  With this section, you will begin to show your reader that you are thinking long term, not just about the profits you can make right now.

Business Philosophy

When you thought about starting your business, you thought about running your business in a certain way, or your philosophy.  In this section, you can talk about why it’s important for YOU to run a food truck or mobile food business.

Market Overview

The food truck business is booming and many people already know this.  Here, you will want to demonstrate your knowledge of the market and what this means for your success.

If there are already a hundred food trucks in your area, you might be entering into an area where you may not be set up for success, for example.  This section should show that you are thinking about this fact and about how your business will need to change and grow as the market changes and grows.

Strengths and Core Competencies

When you’re starting up a business, you need to show potential investors that you’re not only a person with a good idea, but you’re also a person that can run a business effectively.  In this section, you will want to talk about what you bring to your business.

  • What are your strengths?
  • What special training do you have?
  • What is your background?
  • What are your skills?

Here, you can begin to show the reader that you aren’t just any other food business entrepreneur, but you are uniquely qualified to run your business.

Next: Business Structure

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