How to write a business plan for a cosmetic brand?
Putting together a business plan for a cosmetic brand can be daunting - especially if you're creating a business for the first time - but with this comprehensive guide, you'll have the necessary tools to do it confidently.
We will explore why writing one is so important in both starting up and growing an existing cosmetic brand, as well as what should go into making an effective plan - from its structure to content - and what tools can be used to streamline the process and avoid errors.
Without further ado, let us begin!
Why write a business plan for a cosmetic brand?
Having a clear understanding of why you want to write a business plan for your cosmetic brand will make it simpler for you to grasp the rationale behind its structure and content. So before delving into the plan's actual details, let's take a moment to remind ourselves of the primary reasons why you'd want to create a cosmetic brand business plan.
To have a clear roadmap to grow the business
Running a small business is tough! Economic cycles bring growth and recessions, while the business landscape is ever-changing with new technologies, regulations, competitors, and consumer behaviours emerging constantly.
In such a dynamic context, operating a business without a clear roadmap is akin to driving blindfolded: it's risky, to say the least. That's why crafting a business plan for your cosmetic brand is vital to establish a successful and sustainable venture.
To create an effective business plan, you'll need to assess your current position (if you're already in business) and define where you want the business to be in the next three to five years.
Once you have a clear destination for your cosmetic brand, you'll have to:
- Identify the necessary resources (human, equipment, and capital) needed to reach your goals,
- Determine the pace at which the business needs to progress to meet its objectives as scheduled,
- Recognize and address the potential risks you may encounter along the way.
Engaging in this process regularly proves advantageous for both startups and established companies. It empowers you to make informed decisions about resource allocation, ensuring the long-term success of your business.
To get visibility on future cash flows
If your small cosmetic brand runs out of cash: it's game over. That's why we often say "cash is king", and it's crucial to have a clear view of your cosmetic brand's future cash flows.
So, how can you achieve this? It's simple - you need to have an up-to-date financial forecast.
The good news is that your cosmetic brand business plan already includes a financial forecast (which we'll discuss further in this guide). Your task is to ensure it stays current.
To accomplish this, it's essential to regularly compare your actual financial performance with what was planned in your financial forecast. Based on your business's current trajectory, you can make adjustments to the forecast.
By diligently monitoring your cosmetic brand's financial health, you'll be able to spot potential financial issues, like unexpected cash shortfalls, early on and take corrective actions. Moreover, this practice will enable you to recognize and capitalize on growth opportunities, such as excess cash flow enabling you to expand to new locations.
To secure financing
Whether you are a startup or an existing business, writing a detailed cosmetic brand business plan is essential when seeking financing from banks or investors.
This makes sense given what we've just seen: financiers want to ensure you have a clear roadmap and visibility on your future cash flows.
Banks will use the information included in the plan to assess your borrowing capacity (how much debt your business can support) and your ability to repay the loan before deciding whether they will extend credit to your business and on what terms.
Similarly, investors will review your plan carefully to assess if their investment can generate an attractive return on investment.
To do so, they will be looking for evidence that your cosmetic brand has the potential for healthy growth, profitability, and cash flow generation over time.
Now that you understand why it is important to create a business plan for a cosmetic brand, let's take a look at what information is needed to create one.
Need inspiration for your business plan?
The Business Plan Shop has dozens of business plan templates that you can use to get a clear idea of what a complete business plan looks like.
What information is needed to create a business plan for a cosmetic brand?
Writing a cosmetic brand business plan requires research so that you can project sales, investments and cost accurately in your financial forecast.
In this section, we cover three key pieces of information you should gather before drafting your business plan!
Carrying out market research for a cosmetic brand
As you consider writing your business plan for a cosmetic brand, conducting market research becomes a vital step to ensure accurate and realistic financial projections.
Market research provides valuable insights into your target customer base, competitors, pricing strategies, and other key factors that can significantly impact the commercial success of your business.
Through this research, you may uncover trends that could influence your cosmetic brand.
Your market research could reveal that your cosmetic brand may be particularly appealing to younger consumers, given the vibrant colors and modern packaging. Additionally, your research may indicate that customers may prefer to purchase products from your brand in a set, rather than individually.
Such market trends play a significant role in forecasting revenue, as they offer valuable data about potential customers' spending habits and preferences.
By incorporating these findings into your financial projections, you can present investors with more accurate information, helping them make informed decisions about investing in your cosmetic brand.
Developing the sales and marketing plan for a cosmetic brand
Budgeting sales and marketing expenses is essential before creating a cosmetic brand business plan.
A comprehensive sales and marketing plan should provide an accurate projection of what actions need to be implemented to acquire and retain customers, how many people are needed to carry out these initiatives, and how much needs to be spent on promotions, advertising, and other aspects.
This helps ensure that the right amount of resources is allocated to these activities in order to hit the sales and growth objectives forecasted in your business plan.
The staffing and capital expenditure requirements of a cosmetic brand
Whether you are starting or expanding a cosmetic brand, it is important to have a clear plan for recruitment and capital expenditures (investment in equipment and real estate) in order to ensure the success of the business.
Both the recruitment and investment plans need to be coherent with the timing and level of growth planned in your forecast, and require appropriate funding.
A cosmetic brand might incur staffing costs such as salaries for employees, such as a marketing team, sales team, customer service team, and product development team, as well as associated costs such as benefits. The brand might also incur costs for equipment such as computers, printers, and other technology to support their operations. Additionally, the brand might incur costs for ingredients and materials for their products, as well as packaging and labeling costs.
In order to create a realistic financial forecast, you will also need to consider the other operating expenses associated with running the business on a day-to-day basis (insurance, bookkeeping, etc.).
Once you have all the necessary information to create a business plan for your cosmetic brand, it is time to start creating your financial forecast.
What goes into your cosmetic brand's financial forecast?
The financial forecast of your cosmetic brand's business plan will enable you to assess the growth, profitability, funding requirements, and cash generation potential of your business in the coming years.
The four key outputs of a financial forecast for a cosmetic brand are:
- The profit and loss (P&L) statement,
- The projected balance sheet,
- The cash flow forecast,
- And the sources and uses table.
Let's look at each of these in a bit more detail.
The projected P&L statement
The projected P&L statement for a cosmetic brand shows how much revenue and profit your business is expected to make in the future.
A healthy cosmetic brand's P&L statement should show:
- Sales growing at (minimum) or above (better) inflation
- Stable (minimum) or expanding (better) profit margins
- A healthy level of net profitability
This will of course depend on the stage of your business: numbers for a startup will look different than for an established cosmetic brand.
The forecasted balance sheet of your cosmetic brand
The projected balance sheet of your cosmetic brand will enable the reader of your business plan to assess the overall financial health of your business.
It shows three elements: assets, liabilities and equity:
- Assets: are productive resources owned by the business, such as equipment, cash, and accounts receivable (money owed by clients).
- Liabilities: are debts owed to creditors, lenders, and other entities, such as accounts payable (money owed to suppliers).
- Equity: includes the sums invested by the shareholders or business owners and the profits and losses accumulated by the business to date (which are called retained earnings). It is a proxy for the value of the owner's stake in the business.
Analysing your cosmetic brand projected balance sheet provides an understanding of your cosmetic brand's working capital structure, investment and financing policies.
In particular, the readers of your plan can compare the level of financial debt on the balance sheet to the equity value to measure the level of financial risk (equity doesn't need to be reimbursed, while financial debt must be repaid, making it riskier).
They can also use your balance sheet to assess your cosmetic brand's liquidity and solvency:
- A liquidity analysis: focuses on whether or not your business has sufficient cash and short-term assets to cover its liabilities due in the next 12 months.
- A solvency analysis: takes and longer view to assess whether or not your business has the capacity to repay its debts over the medium-term.
The projected cash flow statement
A cash flow forecast for a cosmetic brand shows how much cash the business is projected to generate or consume.
The cash flow statement is divided into 3 main areas:
- The operating cash flow shows how much cash is generated or consumed by the operations (running the business)
- The investing cash flow shows how much cash is being invested in capital expenditure (equipment, real estate, etc.)
- The financing cash flow shows how much cash is raised or distributed to investors and lenders
Looking at the cash flow forecast helps you to ensure that your business has enough cash to keep running, and can help you anticipate potential cash shortfalls.
It is also a best practice to include a monthly cash flow statement in the appendices of your cosmetic brand business plan so that the readers can view the impact of seasonality on your business cash position and generation.
The initial financing plan
The initial financing plan, also known as a sources and uses table, is a valuable resource to have in your business plan when starting your cosmetic brand as it reveals the origins of the money needed to establish the business (sources) and how it will be allocated (uses).
Having this table helps show what costs are involved in setting up your cosmetic brand, how risks are shared between founders, investors and lenders, and what the starting cash position will be. This cash position needs to be sufficient to sustain operations until the business reaches a break-even point.
Now that you have a clear understanding of what goes into the financial forecast of your cosmetic brand business plan, let's shift our focus to the written part of the plan.
The written part of a cosmetic brand business plan
The written part of the business plan is where you will explain what your business does and how it operates, what your target market is, whom you compete against, and what strategy you will put in place to seize the commercial opportunity you've identified.
Having this context is key for the reader to form a view on whether or not they believe that your plan is achievable and the numbers in your forecast realistic.
The written part of a cosmetic brand business plan is composed of 7 main sections:
- The executive summary
- The presentation of the company
- The products and services
- The market analysis
- The strategy
- The operations
- The financial plan
Let's go through the content of each section in more detail!
1. The executive summary
The executive summary, the first section of your cosmetic brand's business plan, serves as an inviting snapshot of your entire plan, leaving readers eager to know more about your business.
To compose an effective executive summary, start with a concise introduction of your business, covering its name, concept, location, history, and unique aspects. Share insights about the services or products you intend to offer and your target customer base.
Subsequently, provide an overview of your cosmetic brand's addressable market, highlighting current trends and potential growth opportunities.
Then, present a summary of critical financial figures, such as projected revenues, profits, and cash flows.
You should then include a summary of your key financial figures such as projected revenues, profits, and cash flows.
Lastly, address any funding needs in the "ask" section of your executive summary.
2. The presentation of the company
As you build your cosmetic brand business plan, the second section deserves attention as it delves into the structure and ownership, location, and management team of your company.
In the structure and ownership part, you'll provide valuable insights into the legal structure of the business, the identities of the owners, and their respective investments and ownership stakes. This level of transparency is vital, particularly if you're seeking financing, as it clarifies which legal entity will receive the funds and who holds the reins of the business.
Moving to the location part, you'll offer a comprehensive view of the company's premises and articulate why this specific location is strategic for the business, emphasizing factors like catchment area, accessibility, and nearby amenities.
When describing the location of your cosmetic brand, you may want to emphasize its potential for growth. You could discuss the availability of resources such as a talented workforce, an educated population, and a wide range of potential customers. You may also want to highlight its potential for innovation, its access to transportation and communication networks, its proximity to other markets, and its potential for economic development. Finally, you could emphasize the potential for collaboration with other brands and businesses in the area that could help to increase visibility and recognition for your brand.
Lastly, you should introduce your esteemed management team. Provide a thorough explanation of each member's role, background, and extensive experience.
It's equally important to highlight any past successes the management team has achieved and underscore the duration they've been working together. This information will instil trust in potential lenders or investors, showcasing the strength and expertise of your leadership team and their ability to deliver the business plan.
3. The products and services section
The products and services section of your cosmetic brand business plan should include a detailed description of what your company sells to its customers.
For example, your cosmetic brand could offer customers a wide selection of high-quality makeup products, such as foundations, mascaras, eyeshadows, and lipsticks. You could also provide beauty and skin care services such as facials, waxing, and eyebrow and lash tinting. Finally, you could offer makeup tutorials and classes to help customers learn more about makeup application techniques, color matching, and product selection. All of these offerings would aim to help customers look and feel their best, while providing them with the most up to date cosmetic trends and knowledge.
The reader will want to understand what makes your cosmetic brand unique from other businesses in this competitive market.
When drafting this section, you should be precise about the categories of products or services you sell, the clients you are targeting and the channels that you are targeting them through.
4. The market analysis
When outlining your market analysis in the cosmetic brand business plan, it's essential to include comprehensive details about customers' demographics and segmentation, target market, competition, barriers to entry, and relevant regulations.
The primary aim of this section is to give the reader an understanding of the market size and appeal while demonstrating your expertise in the industry.
To begin, delve into the demographics and segmentation subsection, providing an overview of the addressable market for your cosmetic brand, key marketplace trends, and introducing various customer segments and their preferences in terms of purchasing habits and budgets.
Next, shift your focus to the target market subsection, where you can zoom in on the specific customer segments your cosmetic brand targets. Explain how your products and services are tailored to meet the unique needs of these customers.
For example, your target market might include young professional females. They are likely to be educated, well-off, and busy with their careers, but still want to look their best. These women are willing to invest in products that help them look their best, and are likely to be interested in trends in fashion and makeup.
In the competition subsection, introduce your main competitors and explain what sets your cosmetic brand apart from them.
Finally, round off your market analysis by providing an overview of the main regulations that apply to your cosmetic brand.
Need inspiration for your business plan?
The Business Plan Shop has dozens of business plan templates that you can use to get a clear idea of what a complete business plan looks like.
5. The strategy section
When writing the strategy section of a business plan for your cosmetic brand, it is essential to include information about your competitive edge, pricing strategy, sales & marketing plan, milestones, and risks and mitigants.
The competitive edge subsection should explain what sets your company apart from its competitors. This part is especially key if you are writing the business plan of a startup, as you have to make a name for yourself in the marketplace against established players.
The pricing strategy subsection should demonstrate how you intend to remain profitable while still offering competitive prices to your customers.
The sales & marketing plan should outline how you intend to reach out and acquire new customers, as well as retain existing ones with loyalty programs or special offers.
The milestones subsection should outline what your company has achieved to date, and its main objectives for the years to come - along with dates so that everyone involved has clear expectations of when progress can be expected.
The risks and mitigants subsection should list the main risks that jeopardize the execution of your plan and explain what measures you have taken to minimize these. This is essential in order for investors or lenders to feel secure in investing in your venture.
Your cosmetic brand could face risks related to product safety and customer satisfaction. Product safety risks may arise if the ingredients in your products are not properly regulated. This could lead to customers experiencing adverse reactions after using your products, which could damage the reputation of your brand. Additionally, customer satisfaction risks may arise if your products do not perform as advertised. This could lead to customers being dissatisfied with their purchase, which could lead to a drop in sales and a negative customer experience.
6. The operations section
The operations of your cosmetic brand must be presented in detail in your business plan.
The first thing you should cover in this section is your staffing team, the main roles, and the overall recruitment plan to support the growth expected in your business plan. You should also outline the qualifications and experience necessary to fulfil each role, and how you intend to recruit (using job boards, referrals, or headhunters).
You should then state the operating hours of your cosmetic brand - so that the reader can check the adequacy of your staffing levels - and any plans for varying opening times during peak season. Additionally, the plan should include details on how you will handle customer queries outside of normal operating hours.
The next part of this section should focus on the key assets and IP required to operate your business. If you depend on any licenses or trademarks, physical structures (equipment or property) or lease agreements, these should all go in there.
A cosmetic brand could have a signature product line or unique collection of makeup as a key asset and intellectual property. These products may have a distinct look, feel, or scent that customers recognize and associate with the brand. Additionally, they might also have exclusive formulas or technologies that are unique to their own products. These formulas and technologies could be protected under intellectual property laws, giving the brand a competitive edge in the marketplace.
Finally, you should include a list of suppliers that you plan to work with and a breakdown of their services and main commercial terms (price, payment terms, contract duration, etc.). Investors are always keen to know if there is a particular reason why you have chosen to work with a specific supplier (higher-quality products or past relationships for example).
7. The presentation of the financial plan
The financial plan section is where we will include the financial forecast we discussed earlier in this guide.
Now that you have a clear idea of what goes into a cosmetic brand business plan, let's look at some of the tools you can use to create yours efficiently.
What tool should I use to write my cosmetic brand's business plan?
In this section, we will be reviewing the two main options for writing a cosmetic brand business plan efficiently:
- Using specialized software,
- Outsourcing the drafting to the business plan writer.
Using an online business plan software for your cosmetic brand's business plan
Using online business planning software is the most efficient and modern way to create a cosmetic brand business plan.
There are several advantages to using specialized software:
- You can easily create your financial forecast by letting the software take care of the financial calculations for you without errors
- You are guided through the writing process by detailed instructions and examples for each part of the plan
- You can access a library of dozens of complete business plan samples and templates for inspiration
- You get a professional business plan, formatted and ready to be sent to your bank or investors
- You can easily track your actual financial performance against your financial forecast
- You can create scenarios to stress test your forecast's main assumptions
- You can easily update your forecast as time goes by to maintain visibility on future cash flows
- You have a friendly support team on standby to assist you when you are stuck
If you're interested in using this type of solution, you can try The Business Plan Shop for free by signing up here.
Hiring a business plan writer to write your cosmetic brand's business plan
Outsourcing your cosmetic brand business plan to a business plan writer can also be a viable option.
Business plan writers are skilled in creating error-free business plans and accurate financial forecasts. Moreover, hiring a consultant can save you valuable time, allowing you to focus on day-to-day business operations.
However, it's essential to be aware that hiring business plan writers will be expensive, as you're not only paying for their time but also the software they use and their profit margin.
Based on experience, you should budget at least £1.5k ($2.0k) excluding tax for a comprehensive business plan, and more if you require changes after initial discussions with lenders or investors.
Also, exercise caution when seeking investment. Investors prefer their funds to be directed towards business growth rather than spent on consulting fees. Therefore, the amount you spend on business plan writing services and other consulting services should be insignificant compared to the amount raised.
Keep in mind that one drawback is that you usually don't own the business plan itself; you only receive the output, while the actual document is saved in the consultant's business planning software. This can make it challenging to update the document without retaining the consultant's services.
For these reasons, carefully consider outsourcing your cosmetic brand business plan to a business plan writer, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of seeking outside assistance.
Why not create your cosmetic brand's business plan using Word or Excel?
Using Microsoft Excel and Word (or their Google, Apple, or open-source equivalents) to write a cosmetic brand business plan is a terrible idea.
For starters, creating an accurate and error-free financial forecast on Excel (or any spreadsheet) is very technical and requires both a strong grasp of accounting principles and solid skills in financial modelling.
As a result, it is unlikely anyone will trust your numbers unless - like us at The Business Plan Shop - you hold a degree in finance and accounting and have significant financial modelling experience in your past.
The second reason is that it is inefficient. Building forecasts on spreadsheets was the only option in the 1990s and early 2000s, nowadays technology has advanced and software can do it much faster and much more accurately.
And with the rise of AI, software is also becoming smarter at helping us detect mistakes in our forecasts and helping us analyse the numbers to make better decisions.
Also, using software makes it easy to compare actuals vs. forecasts and maintain our forecasts up to date to maintain visibility on future cash flows - as we discussed earlier in this guide - whereas this is a pain to do with a spreadsheet.
That's for the forecast, but what about the written part of my cosmetic brand business plan?
This part is less error-prone, but here also software brings tremendous gains in productivity:
- Word processors don't include instructions and examples for each part of your business plan
- Word processors don't update your numbers automatically when they change in your forecast
- Word processors don't handle the formatting for you
Overall, while Word or Excel may be viable options for creating a cosmetic brand business plan for some entrepreneurs, it is by far not the best or most efficient solution.
- A business plan has 2 complementary parts: a financial forecast showcasing the expected growth, profits and cash flows of the business; and a written part which provides the context needed to judge if the forecast is realistic and relevant.
- Having an up-to-date business plan is the only way to keep visibility on your cosmetic brand's future cash flows.
- Using business plan software is the modern way of writing and maintaining business plans.
We hope that this practical guide gave you insights on how to write the business plan for your cosmetic brand. Do not hesitate to get in touch with our team if you still have questions.
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