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Every business starts with a dream. But all too often the dream fails, not because of a lack of hard work or passion for the business, but because no one ever sat down and took the time to map out a comprehensive business plan.
In fact, the importance of a solid business plan cannot be overstated. Even the simple act of putting pen to paper to clarify your vision for your agency and the direction in which you want to take it can help clarify what it will take to move things forward.
That's where Funjet Vacations and Mark Travel Corp. can certainly help.
Business plans can range in length (and detail) from the simple one-pager to very detailed roadmaps that go on for hundreds of pages. A general rule of thumb is to create a plan for the next 3 to 5 years that outlines your agency's market and general plan to increase revenue. Generally speaking, a business plan should cover the following sections:
Executive Summary: This is where you lay out your agency's 30-second elevator pitch. This is the place to provide an overview of your agency, list your goals and the direction you wish your agency to take.
Agency Description. This is your time to wax poetic about your agency-lay out what your agency does and what differentiates it from other agencies that share the same market space. It's also a good place to provide a brief overview of the markets your agency serves.
[READMORE]READ MORE: How Agents Can Leverage Social Media [/READMORE]
Market Strategies/Analysis. Here, you need to provide a fairly detailed analysis of the market and your competitors to help you get a clearer understanding of where your agency fits into the overall market. It also can help you to visualize how you need to position your agency to be able to earn its share of sales and grow in the coming years and how you might be able to position yourself to outmaneuver your competition.
Organization and Management. In this section, lay out how your agency is organized. Who does what, who reports to whom and what each person's responsibilities are should all be laid out. It's a good idea to include an organizational chart in this section to help you visualize how your office leadership flows and whether anything needs to be tweaked. It's also a good idea to include a quick breakdown of the capital and expenditures needed to run your agency.
Product Offerings. This is the section in which to lay out the products your agency sells from tours and cruises to travel insurance all the way down to luggage tags and drink koozies.
Marketing and Sales. As the heading suggests, this is where you lay out your sales strategy and how you currently market your business, along with future plans for sales and marketing.
Financials. It might be last, but this section is by no means the least important. In fact, this might be your most detailed section. This section should cover your current financials including expenses and projected income, as well as your financial projections for your agency down the line.
Kristina Rundquist is an Atlanta-based freelance writer with more than 14 years experience working within the travel industry.
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