The key to convincing investors, such as banks, to invest in your business, is to construct a business plan that demonstrates you have business acumen and that you know the industry. Constructing a solid business plan isn't difficult, but it does require deep expertise about the type of business or industry and knowledge of how businesses start, operate and grow. To launch a training center, create a business plan that proves you are qualified, experienced and have a passion for the training industry.
Creating a business plan for a training center requires that you have expertise or experience in operating one. Perhaps you have been the operations manager for a successful training center and you're ready to take the leap into starting your own center. Otherwise, you will need a team of colleagues whose collective experiences compel investors to want to share in your future success. According to Training Industry magazine, several critical steps to starting a training business include acquiring the credentials necessary to prove that your industry knowledge and credibility is sound. Training credentials can range from certifications or licenses in specific areas, such as IT security networks, to advanced degrees in adult education. If you don't personally have these credentials, you must have a team that does. That said, if you have training credentials, your business plan will carry more weight because you are spearheading an endeavor based on your industry-specific knowledge, which can be far more credible than simply hiring people with this expertise.
Food For Thought and Paper
Before you put pen to paper to create a business plan, your self-assessment will determine whether you actually are prepared to operate and own a training center. Questions such as, "If I cannot get investors' commitments, am I prepared to fund this endeavor from business loans or my personal savings?" and "What are the specific types of services that my training center will provide, and is there an opportunity for this training center in my area?" and "If the market is currently flooded with other training centers, what niche can I create, based on my own expertise and differentiation of services?"
Business Plan Components
Constructing a business plan isn't something you complete in an afternoon or even a day. Your research and analysis alone will take time to compile, and while you might be well-connected to the training community, if this is your first foray into the training industry or owning a business, you might need expert guidance in one or both areas. According to Forbes, basic components of a business plan include analyses of the future company, the industry and the competition. In addition, your business plan should include an analysis of your potential customers and the type of marketing your research shows will be most effective. Traditional business concepts, such as who is managing this effort, how you plan to operate the business and how you're going to fund it, are critical points to address in your business plan. When you complete the draft business plan for your training center, write an executive summary that answers this question: "Why do you believe your training center is different from all the others?"
Focus on the Specificity
You will find a plethora of business plan templates on the internet. Ensure that yours specifically says why your training center business concept will succeed when others have not, to maintain your investors' interest. For example, projections about your future training center should focus on what's presently available and accessible, therefore, your analysis should address physical space necessary. Is there even room in your geographic area to support another training center? Determine whether you are offering on-site training, remote training broadcast from one location or a hybrid model that combines classroom training and computer-based training, or CBT. That will determine the physical space you need to launch another training center in the area.
Describe your market, such as how many training centers are currently in existence, how many participants – according to job-specific areas – are in the market. For example, if your training center is dedicated to serving allied health care professionals such as nuclear-medicine technologists, dietitians or respiratory therapists, how many training centers are in the market? The rate at which they are producing graduates and if there are prospective students who do not have access to training is critical data that are particularly useful to your business plan. Your research could include the acceptance and graduation rates of existing training centers in the area versus the numbers of applicants or prospective students. Perhaps the demand is greater than what the existing training centers can accommodate. That is just the first part of the equation because the second and equally important factor is this: If the demand is great, do you have the ability to source and recruit qualified instructors to provide the training your center offers?
Let's Talk Money
A business plan is sorely lacking without a detailed analysis and discussion about funding. Entrepreneur Magazine says that a business plan should project costs for three-to-five years and include start-up costs, operating expenses and projections so that investors can see where their money will be spent, and what their return on investment will be. Your business plan should include projections in a balance-sheet-like format, which also demonstrates that you understand basic business concepts. If finance isn't in your wheelhouse, collaborate with an expert to present the financial picture for your training center.
The Proof Is in the Details
Like other business reports, your business plan should include an appendix. The appendix includes documents that support every section of your plan, and, if appropriate, include your market research data. For example, if you have identified key personnel for your training center such as a training director, an operations director or a financial management professional, include their resumes and credentials in your business plan. In addition, state whether your business requires petitioning for jurisdictional business-or-land-use permits.
The final step is your executive summary, which you should write only after you have completed the final business plan. Many investors will take the time to read just a one-to-two-page executive summary, so it must include enough information to compel them to read the entire business plan or to make a decision based on a well-thought-out and well-written business concept. Your executive summary should answer the question, "Why do you believe your training center is different from all the others?"
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In addition, she is a certified facilitator for the Center for Creative Leadership Benchmarks 360 Assessment Suite, and is a Logical Operations Modern Classroom Certified Trainer . Ruth resides in North Carolina and works from her office in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.