How to: Business Plans for Retreats
Providing an attractive, soothing setting for people to use without facing constant disruptions is just the start when it comes to building a retreat. Whether you plan to seek financing from a bank or use your own savings, you also need to develop a business plan. The plan helps you evaluate your idea for its profit potential as well as pinpoint potential clients willing to pay to use the facility.
Write an executive summary, a one- to three-page introduction that includes your retreat’s goals and mission. Your goals may be as varied as making a certain income or providing a peaceful retreat setting for a church group. This section should summarize the highlights of the rest of the business plan.
Describe the location for your retreat, including the size of the property and its proximity to population centers from which you plan to attract clients. Include details about the property’s natural features, lodging options, conference rooms and culinary facilities. Describe the dining setting and kitchen facilities to show how many guests the retreat can cater to in one sitting. Mention recreational amenities such as swimming pools, hot tubs, stables with horses for trail rides, and playing fields that might appeal to larger groups. If you plan to remodel an existing building to turn into your retreat, explain what the construction entails and the types of meeting rooms and lodging facilities the building will house once it’s finished.
List the services your retreat provides, such as meeting rooms, event coordination, activities and dining. Provide pricing and whether you base the prices on a group renting the facility overnight or for day meetings or individuals booking weekend retreats.
Provide demographics about the target market your retreat will appeal to, such as religious groups, individuals with a certain level of income who want a weekend vacation or business groups that need a place to meet for prolonged meetings.
Investigate competing retreat facilities in your region. List the event services they offer, their pricing and the target market they seek. Look for ways to stand out from these competitors, such as focusing on your retreat’s beautiful, serene setting or providing various sized meeting rooms to meet different business needs.
Explain how you plan to manage and operate your facility. Include background information for your facility manager to show how their experience will help the business run smoothly. Mention the qualifications you want when hiring an event coordinator, chef, kitchen manager, grounds personnel and staff who work with guests.
Outline the marketing, promotional and publicity efforts you plan to use to attract groups and individuals to your retreat. Include use of a website, social media and traditional advertising methods to inform your audience that your facility is open for business.
Create a financial picture for the next three years, including profits and expenses for running the facility. Use this information to identify the start-up capital you need to get the business running.
Mention any zoning, business and health permits you need to obtain to become operational.
Don’t write your executive summary until after you finish the rest of the business plan.