Maple Business Plan

Address the following:
• What are the important values that guide the business decisions?
• Explain your personal, economic, community and environmental values that guide the business. What is most important to the owners?
• What do you seek to accomplish through the business?
This section can include:
• Location
• Number of acres owned and/or rented, taps in production
• Ownership structure (ex. sole proprietor, LLC, etc.)
• When land was acquired
• Brief description of sap collection systems and status of equipment (tubing, tanks, buckets, pumps, releasers)
• Brief description of syrup processing (sugarhouse, RO, Evaporators, storage, filters, etc.)
• Brief description of syrup handling, packing and storage
• Brief description of owners, personnel, their qualifications, and maple responsibilities
• Brief description of production units (ex. 1,500 taps)
This section can include:
• Brief description of each product sold (package size, grades, prices)
• Brief description of each market products are sold to or through
• Brief description of current promotion efforts
Describe the business or manager’s major Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
• Strengths (S) and Weaknesses (W) are internal to the business. These are items that managers have direct control over or represent an internal feature of the business. This section may include the following: specific skills, quality of resources (buildings, equipment, forest quality), cash flow position, access to credit, or labor/staffing.
• Opportunities (O) and Threats (T) are external to the business. These are items that we do not have direct control over but they have an impact on the business. This may include issues like weather, market trends or changing regulations. The well managed business will recognize these external factors and develop internal mechanisms that capitalize on opportunities or manage the risk posed by the threats.
This section can include:
• Description of sugarbush: current taps, future tap count, hard-sugar maple compared to red maple
• Forest health: Tree age, past or planned thinning
• Condition of Roads, trails, stream crossings/culverts/bridges
• Pest-management considerations
This section can include:
• Description of key practices that are important to successful sap production
• Description of key practices that are important to high quality finished syrup
• Key Production Factors: Average Yield (see the Multi-Year Production Yield Module on this website), vacuum level
• Condition of current systems or planned improvements
This is a narrative description of who manages key components of the business. This section can include the strengths of particular people and it can also include plans for additional training that is needed. Management areas to address: bookkeeping/records, operations and maintenance, human resources/employee management, food safety, marketing.
Describe the market trends and the market plan for your business to reach its goals. You may include:
• Assessment of market demand
• Sales Plan: what are your sales targets and who are the buyers
• Pricing levels
• Analysis of Competition
• Distribution and Delivery
• Promotion and Communications Plan
Describe the risk factors that can have an impact on the business
• Risk factors can include: production risk (weather, climate, pests), human risk (labor, partnerships), market risk (price trends, consumer demand), financial risk and legal risk (food safety, regulations, contracts or legal agreements)
• Property Loss and Insurance (policies and protection for buildings, product inventory, equipment)
• Describe ways the business can manage the negative consequences resulting from the “threats” described in the SWOT Analysis section
List the following:
• Key short term (year 1-year 3) activities that enable the business to achieve its goals
• Mid-term activities (year 4 and later) that enable the business to achieve its goals
• Planned purchases, repairs or improvements and the estimated cost of each item. How will these items be paid for (from business revenue, loans, owner savings or other sources)?
• Who is responsible for each activity and the timeline for successful completion of the task
You may address the following:
• Have the owners and management developed a business succession plan?
• Is there an individual(s) identified to assume ownership or management of the business in the future?
• What elements of exit/retirement planning have been completed by the owners (estate planning, tax planning, family communications)?
You may address the following:
• What are the crucial issues facing the business that this plan will try to address?
• What specific management changes, capital improvements, or product/market developments will the plan describe in more detail?
• What are the major goals of the maple business for year 1-3?
You can complete the Pricing and Sales Forecast Module and the Annual Budget Module and attach them to your plan. Address the following:
• What is the sales target for year 1, year 2, year 3
• Explain any large investments or planned improvements
• Is the business currently paying down loans or will it be applying for new loans, credit or other forms of capital in the next three years?
• Are maple profits satisfactory to break-even, pay a part time income or a full time income to the owners?