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stages of growth. As with any major business initiative, you will undoubtedly run into surprises along the way. How will you retain shelf space if your sales skyrocket and you cannot produce enough product? What if your distribution channels are not timely in selling your product, thereby reducing cash flow? Your business plan should provide spending parameters and account for contingencies to ensure adequate funds are preserved for critical investments that will support your distillery’s ultimate success.

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IT SERVES AS AN IMPORTANT COMMUNICATIONS TOOL.

Many small business owners find there are times when they need to effectively communicate the mission and expectations of their company to customers, suppliers, attorneys, distributors, and other third parties. The business plan, partially or in whole, provides a thorough overview of your company’s vision for its future. It can therefore be a valuable tool for giving employees a broad view of the company, educating key partners and suppliers about the scope of the business, and informing financial supporters of your specific plans for future success. Again, the business plan can be considered the blueprint for that success, describing in detail what it will look like and how it will be built.

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IT DRIVES YOU TO FOCUS ON 5 YOUR DISTILLERY’S FUTURE. Whether your vision is to run a small, profitable local distillery or become a leading industry competitor, the only way to ultimately control the outcome of your business undertaking is to plan for it. In the end, this may be the greatest value offered by your business plan. By documenting your ideas and strategies – what you want to see happen and how you plan to get there – you are taking control of your future and placing the power to direct the final outcome in your own hands. By comparing actual results to projections, you receive a perspective for making educated decisions going forward. These are just a few of the most important reasons for creating a business plan. You might also consider the benefits your business plan can provide in outlining specific objectives for managers, key investment decisions such as whether to rent additional space or distribute, valuing your business for estate planning and tax purposes, or defining your personal exit strategy. Developing a thoughtful business plan can help you focus your vision for the future and positively impact your level of success. If you haven’t already done so, get started on your distillery’s business plan today. For instructions on how to write your business plan, look for our second article in this series called “How to Build a Sound Business Plan for Your Distillery” in the next issue. Jeff Clark is craft distillery domain expert at Live Oak Bank. Live Oak Bank is the second largest Small Business Administration (SBA) lender in the United States and the top SBA lender to craft brewers nationwide in 2015 – Member FDIC. WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM  

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Profile for Artisan Spirit Magazine

Artisan Spirit: Winter 2016  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

Artisan Spirit: Winter 2016  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.