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TOPIC: Business Plan Do's and Don'ts

Business Plan Do's and Don'ts 06 May 2004 13:48 #8111

  • Dave31PA
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I have a question concerning business plan content. I am using Palo Alto BP 2004, which is by far the best I have seen, but with a few flaws. Most seriously is that some major parts are omitted because they contain proprietary information on the sample theater and their competition. It would have been better to simply blackout any proprietary information but leave the content behind so the user can at least benefit. That's really not enough for me to not recommend it. They profile the business plans of three theaters, but all are indoor and mine will be a drive-in. I know, get to the question, right?
I am wondering where to draw the line between good research and overkill. The drive-in business is ALWAYS reflected in the media as on the verge of extinction. Even the positive stories such as an expansion, or a new build, begin with a line like,"Despite drive-ins being on their deathbed, Joe Blo of Anytown USA has decided to open a new one." But the true story is that drive-ins today almost never go out of business due to lack of customers. They go because Wal-Mart will pay $3 million dollars for the lot. They go because the owners opened the theater in 1950 and they are now 85 years old and the next generation would rather cash out than work 7 nights a week in a kitchen.
Add that to the fact that it appears that last season could be the first GROWTH in 50 years. There were 401 drive-in at season 2003 start, and unless some that closed were missed, there were 403 at season 2003 end.
It is obvious that my business plan needs to show things like this to contradict the negativity. I have amassed a large quantity of information on all the closed drive-ins in my state of choice, such as when and why they closed. I have also been able to gather information on every opening and reopening since 1990,and what their success has been. How much of that do I put in? I don't want my business plan to go from looking like a magazine to looking like the telephone directory.
The theater plans on BP 2004 contain about 10 pages of information about principals, competition,and strategies before devoting the rest of the plan to financial projections, ending at around 20 pages including charts and graphs. What would you say is a must to include? What would just be a waste of paper? Where do I draw the line?
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