Starting and growing a call center business can be an exciting and rewarding endeavor, but it requires careful planning and research and a well-written business plan.
This guide provides in-depth information on how to write a business plan for a call center, whether you’re just starting or looking to grow your existing enterprise.
We’ll cover why writing this type of plan is important, what information is needed, what tools are available to help you create one, and what the finished document should look like.
With this comprehensive guide, you’ll hopefully have all the knowledge necessary to craft a winning business plan for your call center!
Why write a business plan for a call center?
They are three key reasons why writing an effective business plan for your call center business is essential:
- To draw up a roadmap
- To track progress
- To raise funding
To draw up a roadmap
Writing a business plan for a call center is a crucial step in setting up and growing your business. It forces you to think through your objectives for the next 3 to 5 years and provides you with a roadmap for achieving those goals.
When you spend some time writing a business plan, you will be able to improve your grasp of the potential benefits and risks of starting or expanding your business and design plans that will assist you to ensure success.
To track progress
Having visibility on future cash flows is key in order to make investment decisions and anticipate your business’ funding requirements.
Writing a business plan, and creating a financial forecast allows you to get that initial visibility.
But things rarely go exactly as planned, comparing your current performance with what you planned in your forecast allows you to detect discrepancies and make adjustments to your forecast as needed in order to maintain that crucial visibility.
To secure financing
When seeking funding from investors or banks, it is critical to create a comprehensive business plan for your call center: as they will use the information provided in your plan to decide whether or not they should fund your venture.
Financiers will be looking closely at the growth prospects of your call center, as well as its expected profitability and cash generation capabilities.
A detailed and well-thought-out business plan can make all the difference in securing funding.
Now that we are clear on why we are writing the plan, let's look at the information you'll need to construct your call center’s business plan.
What information is needed to create a business plan for a call center?
Carrying out market research for a call center
Market research is an essential prerequisite to drafting a business plan for a call center.
Market research provides valuable insights into the current state of the call center industry, and potential customers and competitors on the local market.
This information is required to demonstrate, in your business plan, that there is a business opportunity to be seized by your call center in the market, and to assess potential revenues in the financial forecast.
Keep these questions in mind during your market research:
- What segment (customer support, telemarketing, etc.) of the market is the most attractive?
- Who is the competition in each segment? How to gain a competitive edge?
- What are the major current trends in the call center industry?
- What impacts have remote and hybrid work settings and the application of artificial intelligence to reroute calls had on the business model of call centers?
- What are revenues and profit margins like?
Developing the marketing plan for a call center
Armed with market research and your sales forecast, the next step before writing your business plan will be to draw a clear sales and marketing plan.
Your sales and marketing plan should account for the human resources and costs of all activities necessary to achieve the targeted sales levels.
This information, and derived budget will be required when creating your financial forecast in your call center’s business plan.
The staffing and equipment required for your call center
The last step before writing your call center business plan, is to think about the staff and the equipment needed for smooth operations.
These costs depend on whether you are considering a virtual call center (VCC) or a physical one.
Here are some of the initial costs you should expect when setting up (or expanding) a call center:
- Setting up a legal structure
- Call center software
- Computer system (physical center only)
- Furnishings (physical center only)
- Website setup
- Business licenses and permits
- Space rental
- Labor and operating costs
Knowing your cost structure and what investments are required will help you create a realistic financial projection and will ensure that your business plan has the best chance of getting the attention of financiers.
Once you have gathered the necessary information to create a business plan for a call center, the next step is to start developing the financial forecast.
What goes in the financial forecast of a call center?
The financial forecast for a call center business plan consists of the Profit & Loss (P&L) statement (income statement), balance sheet, cash flow statement, and sources and uses table.
Let’s have a look at each of these tables in a bit more detail.
The projected P&L statement
A projected P&L statement for a call center business plan shows how much revenues the call center is expected to make, how much it should grow, and how profitable it could be in the future.
The projected balance sheet of your call center
The balance sheet is a financial statement that provides a snapshot of the financial position of a call center at a specific point in time.
It contains details about the company's assets, liabilities, and net worth:
- Assets are what a business owns and uses to generate profits
- Liabilities are what the company owes (to suppliers, banks, etc.) and takes money out of the business.
Assets include cash, accounts receivables (an account that tracks customers’ credit purchases), equipment, buildings, and inventory.
Liabilities include accounts payable (an account that tracks credit purchases a business makes), taxes due, loans, and other debts.
What remains in the company after all liabilities have been subtracted from assets is the net worth (or equity value) for the business owners.
Looking at your call center's balance sheet provides lenders and investors with valuable information about your call center's financial structure, solvability (the ability of your business to pay its long-term debt) and liquidity (your business’s ability to pay its short-term debt).
The projected cash flow statement
A projected cash flow statement for a call center business plan is a financial statement that helps show the cash coming in and going out of the business.
Looking at your forecasted cash flow is key in order to ensure that the business is adequately funded, and when deciding to invest to expand operations.
The initial financing plan
When starting a call center, it is important to have an initial financing plan.
This plan is also called a sources and uses table, and shows where the capital to start the business will come from (sources) and what it will be used for (uses).
For example, you may use some of your own money, borrow from banks, or get grants from the government.
Now that you have a clear picture of what goes in the financial forecast of your call center’s business plan, it's time to turn our attention to the written part.
What goes in the written part of a call center business plan?
The written part of a business plan for your call center plan is composed of 7 main sections:
- The executive summary
- The presentation of the company
- The products and services section
- The market analysis
- The strategy section
- The operations section
- The financial plan
The executive summary
The executive summary of your call center business plan should summarize your plan and communicate your vision and goals in a succinct yet comprehensive manner in order to hook the reader.
The reader must gain an understanding of:
- what the business is,
- what services are being offered,
- who it is meant for and how the company adds value to the customer
- what financial performance is expected
- what is being asked of the reader
The presentation of the company
The aim of this section of your call center business plan is to give a general description of your business.
This section should include the following information:
- The legal and ownership structure of the business
- The location of the business
- The presentation of the management team
You should describe your business’s legal and ownership structure, including details such as the legal entity type (partnership, sole proprietorship, corporation, etc.) and any shareholders and their stake in the company.
In addition, you should include information about the location of your call center business. Consider factors such as convenience for customers and staff and availability of a skilled workforce nearby.
Lastly, the management team of a call center is critical to its success. You should include an overview of the team's skills and experience as well as their responsibilities within the organization.
The products and services section
When writing the products and services section of your call center's business plan, you should provide an overview of the types of service you offer (customer service, telemarketing, back office, etc.).
You should detail what type of customer inquiries you can handle and how many customers you can serve at a time.
You should also explain your call center setup, including any special equipment or software needed to provide adequate customer service.
You should also discuss the call-handling methods, such as scripting techniques agents use, response times for various types of questions, escalation procedures where appropriate, and other precautions taken to ensure quality service.
Finally, this section should include information about any additional services the call center provides (such as technical support or after-hours assistance).
The market analysis
This section of the business plan for a call center aims to convince financiers that:
- There is a market for your services and the market is large enough
- Your services march what your target customers need
- You are positioned well enough to effectively compete in your target market
In the market analysis section of your call center business plan, you should include an overview of demographics and market segmentation (company sizes, key industries, location, etc.) and explain which segments will be in your target market.
This should also be followed with an analysis of the competition, including any barriers to entry that may exist, and any relevant regulations that could impact the success of your venture.
The strategy section
When writing the strategy section of your call center's business plan, you should include key elements that will demonstrate to a bank or an investor that you have thought through your pricing strategy, sales and marketing strategy, and key milestones needed for success.
Your pricing strategy should be tailored specifically to the target market and should reflect the cost of setting up and running your call center.
In addition, your sales and marketing plan should present a clear way to reach and engage potential customers through various channels such as email, web advertising, and telemarketing.
Milestones should also be included in the plan that monitors progress toward meeting goals. As well as information on how you will manage risks to ensure profitability and operational efficiency.
For example, one of the fundamental risks in running a call center is high staff turnover. You should include information on how you plan to counter this through your recruitment and training plans.
When you present a strategy that is tailored to your target market, financiers will gain a better understanding of the potential and profitability of the call center.
The operations section
In the operations section of your business plan for a call center, you should cover:
- Staffing needs and roles of staff members
- Recruitment plan
- Operating hours
- Key assets that the business needs to operate
- Key suppliers
Information about the staffing team should include the roles of supervisors, agents, customer service representatives, technical support staff, and any other key personnel required to manage the call center.
It is also crucial to include a recruitment plan that outlines how you will identify, recruit and train suitable staff for each role.
Furthermore, your business plan should clearly outline your operating hours: it is essential to consider when your customers will most likely require assistance and ensure that you can serve them at these times.
Finally, list critical assets for your call center operations, such as leases, computer equipment, telephones, and headsets, as well as intellectual property such as software or proprietary systems required for operations.
The presentation of the financial plan
This is where you will present your financial forecast.
Now that we have discussed the content of a call center business plan, let's look at some tools which can help create one.
What tool should you use to write your call center's business plan?
In this section, we'll look at three approaches to developing a complete business plan for your call center: using Word and Excel, hiring a consultant, and using online business plan software.
Create your call center's business plan using Word or Excel
Creating a call center plan using Word or Excel is tedious and complicated.
First of all, unless you are an expert in accounting and financial modeling, it will be challenging to create an accurate financial forecast without making mistakes.
Even if you do manage to get the forecast right, investors may not trust your numbers.
Furthermore, creating a financial forecast in Excel takes a long time and is difficult to keep up to date.
Word suffers similar flaws: you start from a blank page and formatting can take hours.
While Word and Excel have the advantage of being cheap, when it comes to business planning it is usually better to consider an alternative.
Hire a consultant to write your call center's business plan
Hiring a chartered accountant or consultant to take care of the financial forecast of your all center's business plan is a good way to avoid errors.
However, the fees are generally quite expensive: budget a minimum of £1.5k ($2.0k) for a complete business plan, more if you need to make changes after the initial version (which happens frequently after the initial meetings with lenders and investors).
If you decide to hire a consultant or accountant, remember to check what's included in the service - are they developing a complete business plan or just doing the financial forecast? And are you willing to pay extra for them to make changes, if necessary?
Use an online business plan software for your call center's business plan
Another alternative is to use online business plan software. There are several advantages to using specialized software:
- You are guided through the writing process by detailed instructions and examples for each part of the plan
- You can be inspired by already written business plan templates
- You can easily make your financial forecast by letting the software take care of the financial calculations for you without errors
- You get a professional document, formatted and ready to be sent to your bank
- The software will enable you to easily track your actual financial performance against your forecast and update your forecast as time goes by
If you're interested in using this type of solution, you can try our software for free by signing up here.
We hope that this article has helped you to better understand how to write the business plan for a call center. If you still have questions, do not hesitate to contact us.
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