Alignment, Business Plan Writing, and Staying True to Our Concept

Vanilla can be so pure and simple on its’ own, but when paired with other flavors, its’ complexity and beauty shines.

August has been a great leap forward for Vanillamore. Starting a business from the ground up has required me to develop the ability to balance many projects at the same time. Over the last two years as the concept of Vanillamore evolved from a far off dream to a fully thought out concept, we have consistently made forward progress, albeit slowly at times for many different reasons (jobs, my marriage, other “life” things…).

This month has proven to be a critical month in which many aspects of the business plan has become aligned.

From the very beginning, we have been keeping a PowerPoint presentation with a clear outline of our brand which has evolved into a fully thought out business plan and pitch deck. Personally, I have used this document to help me keep each piece of the puzzle organized and clear. From creating our logo, to market positioning, to overall brand look and feel, to menu development, using this tool has kept everyone involved aligned on the big picture.

Some of the highlights of what we have been working on are:
  • Menu Development – determining the best product mix between sweet and savory, packaged retail items, and products for the pastry case, creating special event menus, designing educational event curriculums

  • Brand Development – finding the ideal intersection of flavor, art, technology, and education

  • Financial analysis – food costs, opening costs, operating costs, cash flow, and staffing

  • Location search – demographics, population, competition, visibility

  • Construction plan – initial architectural layout, efficient kitchen layout, and interior space design to determine minimum space required

  • Marketing, Social Media & PR Plans

  • NJ liquor law options

  • Collaborating with like-minded entrepreneurs

Being a small business owner and entrepreneur is something that is in my blood; figuring out how to balance each part of development is something that I thrive on.

An ever changing to do list that never quite gets smaller will be something I’ll have to tackle forever,

but seeing how much we’ve accomplished and how close we are to being able to fit everything into a physical space and get the doors open is an incredibly wonderful (and equally terrifying) feeling! Some of the most important guidance I’ve gotten from my father from the first conversation about Vanillamore was to always surround myself with the right people to help guide me through this process.

We will have to be flexible and adjust according to customer feedback and the natural flow that is created in our space, but we will have the ability to look back and stay true to our concept. Because we are building this concept from scratch, we feel that having each area of the business plan very well thought out will help us to achieve success.

I can’t wait to share even more updates with you in the next few weeks/months!

xo, Risa

“What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone. Know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.” – Dave Thomas, Founder, Wendy’s

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