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as to why their case in a given situation should succeed. Much like a legal brief is designed to provide an argument as to why the courts should grant the wishes of one party and not another, a business brief is a creative and strategic mode for winning customers and increasing revenue. Keep in mind that a business brief should be creative and unique to the business you are representing. You
need to motivate buyers and convert the skeptics to follow your lead. The people listening to or reading your brief should have a clear purpose of their role in your business. Below are suggestions for areas
that should be addressed somehow in a good quality business brief. Describe the task/purpose In your business brief you need to describe what it is you are trying to do. Are you looking for sponsors? Are you trying to sell something to the group that you are presenting too? You need to give your audience a clear purpose as to why they have taken time out of their busy schedules to listen to what you have to say. Give some background You need to establish a credible history in order to gain the trust, confidence and respect of your audience. You want to make sure to reflect that you effectively express the positive track record of the company and the product or service that you are representing. You need to be careful that you give enough information to ease concerns but not so much that it becomes dull and pointless. Explain what the target is Describe who it is that you are targeting as potential clients and how you intend to gain their interest. Allow those to who you are speaking, to be able to form a clear picture of the people in your target audience. The group you are proposing your business brief to should be able to visualize the target audience member using your product regularly enough to make it worth their while to get involved with the project. You need to explain how your business is going to flourish because you know where your potential profits are. Writing Creative Briefs A creative brief is like a road map. A great brief leads to imaginative and persuasive ads, Web sites or videos. And gets you there quickly. A bad creative brief starts you off in the wrong direction. So you have to stop, figure out where the heck you're going, and start again. Or worse, you follow that brief to Trash Town, a total waste of time.
- Great advertising and design creative briefs have insights and anecdotes - quotes from buyers, interesting stories about the company, key research findings. - The two most essential questions in a creative brief are, "Who are we talking to, and what do we want to say?" ProjectName: Example: “New campaign to test "CitiClick" for Citibank.” 1) Background / Overview: What's the big picture? What's going on in the market? Anything happening on the client side that the creative team should know about? Any opportunities or problems in the market? This is where you introduce the project to the creative team. For an overview, state, "Who is the ad talking to, and what is the one main thing we want to say?" Example: This is a test campaign to a selection of Citibank customers. We want them to try Citibank's new "CitiClick" - which is a widget that makes online purchases easier and more secure - and we've got a $1 pizza offer to get them started. 2) What is the objective, the purpose of the brief? A concise statement of the effect the ad should have on consumers. Typically expressed as an action. And focused on what the ad should make them think, feel, or do. Example: We want people to download the free application and use it within 10 days to buy the special offer, a $1 family size pizza from Papa John's. 3) Target audience: who are we talking to? The more precise and detailed the better. Go beyond age and sex to describe demographics and psychographics. Explain how the audience currently thinks, feels and behaves in relation to the product category, the client's brand, and the client's specific product or service. Example: This campaign will be aimed exclusively at existing Citibank customers in three test markets: Sacramento, CA, Houston, TX, and Washington DC. The primary target will be segments of our customer database: male and female, 20 to 35 YO, with at least one Citibank credit card. The target will be approximately 70% married, with combined HH incomes of $85k on average. This audience is comfortable with new technology, and quick to test new widgets that leverage their time. They like to be among the first to have the latest and greatest electronics. They make multiple online purchases monthly. 4) What's the single most important thing to say? What's the single most persuasive or most compelling statement we can make to achieve the objective? This should be a simple sentence. No more than a few sentences if absolutely necessary. Avoid generalities.
Business Brief in Brief Step 1 Organize your thoughts and make an outline of your brief before you start writing. Remember the purpose of the document is to succinctly persuade your readers to see things from your point of view. Thoroughly research the company and/or executive you plan to target with your brief. Keep the length to two pages, if possible. Be creative. Use relevant quotes and citations to sell your argument. Consider your selling points from an analytical and an emotional angle. Pepper your text with action verbs, calls to action. Step 2 Use a simple format. The date should go at the top. Put the target's name next, with his or her title on the following line (/). "To: Grant Farmer / CEO, Farmer Industries." Include the name of you and your company. For example, "From: John Simmons / Vice President, A and E Advertising." State the brief's topic, e.g. "Project: Sales campaign for Joe's Deli." Write a one-paragraph overview that describes the purpose of the business brief. For example, you may be trying to sell something, attract new partners, or raise funds for a new venture. Keep in mind your audience and mention them in your brief, clearly stating how helping you would benefit them. Step 3 Present your credentials and what experience you have that qualifies you to have credibility regarding the proposed purpose of the brief. Explain what it is about your company that makes it specifically ideal to manifest the endeavor put forward in the brief. What has your company done in the past that is relevant to what you are trying to accomplish? Step 4 Identify your target customer for the product, promotion or partnership, clearly outlining the demographics for your readers. You want them to envision the customer base and to fully understand the potential earnings to be gained. Step 5 Explain what you want from the reader---exactly what they would be expected to do to make your vision a reality. It should be written so that the readers of your business brief are excited to fulfill this role, and motivated to begin a lucrative relationship with you and/or your company. Step 6 Include a timeline that estimates how long it would take to put your business brief's plan into action. Be sure that you have done your homework regarding the business or individual you are soliciting, so that your time frame is realistic. Step 7 End on a positive note, emphasizing your strongest argument for your business brief's call to action.
Sample Business Briefs
Business Brief 1: Kid's Community College Executive Summary Kid's Community College® aims to prepare its students to excel as young leaders of tomorrow by combining an exclusive collegiate-based curriculum tailored specifically for children with enhanced, first class child care services. Unlike our competitors, we offer advanced technology programs, after-school tutoring, and activities such as arts and crafts, dance, theatre and gymnastics, all in one location. Kid's Community College is a privately held corporation run by its owner, Timothy Bernard Kilpatrick, Sr. Mr. Kilpatrick has 17 years of Executive Management (VP) and Budgeting experience, and extensive experience with budgeting methodologies and strategic planning, including the Balanced Scorecard approach. His advanced degree (and interest) in computer science is the driving force behind our technology component. He will be supported in daily operations by an industry consultant, a campus director, and a VP of educational operations, all with extensive experience in child care fields. With inflation continuing to rise each year, the typical American family now requires dual or supplemental incomes. This trend has created a need for quality child care services. The population growth rate in the Riverview area of Hillsborough County is now over 14.6%, leading us to anticipate expanding market potential for this industry in our local area. Price, service, certification and reputation are critical success factors in the child care services industry. Kid's Community College® will compete well in our market by offering competitive prices, highquality child care services, and leading-edge educational programs with certified, collegeeducated instructors, and by maintaining an excellent reputation with parents and the community we serve. This is a daycare business plan for Kid's Community College®, which will focus on two subdivisions: 'Lake St. Charles' and 'The Villages of Lake St. Charles,' which are new upscale community developments within a 2 square mile radius, boasting over 900 new homes. Our target customers are dual-income, middle-class families who value the quality of education and child care we provide for their children, ages 4 months to 12 years. We will open for business starting with an initial enrollment of 13 students. We project healthy revenues by the end of the first year, and expect to nearly triple that by the end of Year 3. Our biggest operating expenses will be compensation at industry standard rates for our highlyqualified personnel, and rent on our facilities, improved for our purposes during the start-up period. We would like to grow into four campuses, eventually, but growth is planned conservatively, to be financed from existing cash flow as we go. We anticipate a net profit beginning in our second year. To these ends, we are putting significant investment in the business, and are seeking a matching amount in the form of an SBA loan. Mission
"Some of the best years in life are the time spent as a child and later our collegiate years..." As working adults in a fast paced society, we sometimes forget just how precious and fleeting those years are. With that in mind, imagine an alternative to traditional infant, day and after school care that not only met your child care needs, but also provided an activity based learning environment that mirrors those used at colleges, universities and vocational centers around the nation. A college community of professional care givers with the credentials to not only enhance your child's early social and motor skills, but to also teach them advanced studies in the arts and sciences found at institutions of higher learning. A collegiate-based curriculum tailored specifically for children, taught in a fun, nurturing care giving environment. Now imagine this at a cost less than that of the combination of conventional day care and specific interest based children programs. Kid's Community College® is a start-up comprehensive community college exclusively for kids ages 4 months to 5 years and 1st through 5th grades. The College dedicates its efforts and resources toward ensuring top-rated care giving services coupled with a high-quality activity based learning environment tailored for children in these age groups. The College will respond to the needs of its parents and students with excellent care-giving and instruction, an advanced curriculum, flexible programs, local community involvement and business partnerships. The College has a strong commitment to accessibility and diversity. Its open door policy embraces all who desire to provide a better quality of care, preparedness and education for their children. The College works to provide affordable, first-class care giving and education by providing a broad range of integrated programs and services and innovative learning approaches. The College is committed to taking a leadership role in child care services, higher learning, community services and promoting cultural diversity. Kid's Community College® directs its activities towards student success. Objectives 1. 2. 3. 4. Sales increasing to almost double first year sales by the end of Year 2. Maintain a high raw gross margin by the end of Year 1. Open second campus by the end of Year 1. Begin franchise effort by end of Year 3.
Keys to Success The keys to success for KCC are: Marketing: differentiating KCC's care giving and educational services from traditional daycare offerings and interest activity programs.
Service quality: care giving and educational programs provided by degreed and certified educators, child care workers, tutors and subject matter industry professionals in a technologically advanced first-class collegiate environment. • Reputation: maintaining a highly regarded reputation for excellence in care giving, education and community involvement and being the employer of choice in our market for child care and educational talent. • Profitability: controlling costs and managing budgets in accordance with company goals, adhering to strategic business plans for growth and expansion and reinvesting in the business and its employees.
Executive Sample Summary 2: Studio 67 Restaurant This restaurant business plan is for Studio67, a new medium-sized restaurant located in a trendy neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. Studio67's emphasis will be on organic and creative ethnic food. An emphasis on organic ingredients is based on Studio67's dedication to sustainable development. Additionally, the restaurant procures local foods when possible, reducing their dependence on fossil fuels used for transportation. Services Studio67 offers Portlanders a trendy, fun place to have great food in a social environment. Chef Mario Langostino has a large repertoire of ethnic ingredients and recipes. Studio67 forecasts that the majority of purchases will be from the chef's recommendations. Ethnic recipes will be used to provide the customers with a diverse, unusual menu. Chef Mario will also be emphasizing healthy dishes, recognizing the trend within the restaurant industry for the demand for healthy cuisine. Customers Studio67 believes that the market can be segmented into four distinct groups that it aims to target. The first group is the lonely rich which number 400,000 people. The second group that will be targeted is young happy customers which are growing at an annual rate of 8% with 150,000 potential customers. The third group is rich hippies who naturally desire organic foods as well as ethnic cuisine. The last group which is particularly interested in the menu's healthy offerings is dieting women which number 350,000 in the Portland area. Management Studio67 has assembled a strong management team. Andrew Flounderson will be the general manager. Andrew has extensive management experience of organizations ranging from six to 45 people. Jane Flap will be responsible for all of the finance and accounting functions. Jane has seven years experience as an Arthur Andersen CPA. Jane's financial control skills will be invaluable in keeping Studio67 on track and profitable. Lastly, Studio67 has chef Marion Langostino who will be responsible for the back-end production of the venture. Chef Mario has over 12 years of experience and is a published, visible fixture in the Portland community. Most important to Studio67 is the financial success which will be achieved through strict financial controls. Additionally, success will be ensured by offering a high-quality service and extremely clean, non-greasy food with interesting twists. Studio67 does plan to raise menu rates as the restaurant gets more and more crowded, and to make sure that they are charging a premium for the feeling of being in the "in crowd."
The market and financial analyses indicate that with a start-up expenditure of $141,000, Studio67 can generate over $365,000 in sales by year one, $565,000 in sales by the end of year two and produce net profits of over 7.5% on sales by the end of year three. Profitability will be reached by year two. Objectives 1. Sales of $350K the first year, more than half a million the second. 2. Personnel costs less than $300K the first year, less than $400K the second year. 3. Profitable in year two, better than 7.5% profits on sales by year three. Mission Studio67 is a great place to eat, combining an intriguing atmosphere with excellent, interesting food that is also very good for the people who eat there. We want fair profit for the owners, and a rewarding place to work for the employees. Executive Summary 3: AMT By focusing on its strengths, its key customers, and the underlying values they need, American Management Technology will increase sales to more than $9 million in three years, while improving the gross margin on sales and cash management and working capital. This business plan leads the way. It renews our vision and strategic focus: adding value to our target market segments, the small business and high-end home office users, in our local market. It also provides the step-by-step plan for improving our sales, gross margin, and profitability. In order to implement these changes and improve profitability, we plan to borrow another $100,000 long-term this year. The amount seems in-line with the balance sheet capabilities. AMT is built on the assumption that the management of information technology for business is like legal advice, accounting, graphic arts, and other bodies of knowledge, in that it is not inherently a do-it-yourself prospect. Smart business people who aren't computer hobbyists need to find quality vendors of reliable hardware, software, service, and support. They need to use these quality vendors as they use their other professional service suppliers, as trusted allies. AMT seeks to fulfill these needs and become the leader in business information technology for its region. AMT provides both computer products and services to make them useful to small businesses. We are especially focused on providing network systems and services to small and medium business. The systems include both PC-based LAN systems and minicomputer server-based systems. Our services include design and installation of network systems, training, and support. In order to accomplish our objectives, our keys to success over the next three years are:
Differentiate from box-pushing, price-oriented businesses by offering and delivering service and support--and charging for it. • Increase gross margin to more than 30%. • Increase our non-hardware sales to 20% of the total sales by the third year.
AMT was founded as a consulting-oriented value added reseller (VAR), became a reseller to fill the market need for personal computers, and is emphasizing service and support to differentiate itself from price-oriented competitors. We have one location--a 7,000 square foot store in a suburban shopping center located conveniently close to the downtown area. It includes a training area, service department, offices, and showroom area. AMT is a privately-held C corporation owned in majority by its founder and president, Ralph Jones. There are six part owners, including four investors and two past employees. The firm includes 21 employees, under the president and four managers. Our main management divisions are sales, marketing, service, and administration. The service department handles service requests, support, training, and development. At present, we are weakest in the area of technical capabilities to manage the database marketing programs and upgraded service and support, particularly with cross-platform networks. We also need to find a training manager. Recent changes in the computer reseller market have adversely affected AMT. These include margin squeezes, longer collection periods, and lower inventory turnovers. All of these concerns are part of the general trend affecting computer resellers. The margin squeeze is happening throughout the computer industry worldwide. The only way we can hope to differentiate well is to define the vision of the company to be an information technology ally to our clients. We will not be able to compete in any effective way with the chains using boxes or products as appliances. We need to offer a real alliance that includes such intangibles as confidence, reliability, and knowing that somebody will be there to answer questions and help at the important times. Our support services, with which we hope to capture market share will include such services as; training, upgrade offers, installation services, network configuration services, etc. The company will seek to aggressively pursue new opportunities. AMT focuses on local markets, small business and home office, with special focus on the highend home office and the 5-20 unit small business office. The last study we saw published has retail sales growing at 5% per year, while Web sales and direct sales are growing at 25% or 30%. There are several different kinds of computer retailers within the industry including: 1. Computer dealers: often focused on a few main brands of hardware, usually offering only a minimum of software, and variable amounts of service and support. Their service and support is not usually very good and their prices are usually higher than the larger stores. 2. Chain stores and computer superstores: usually offer decent walk-in service, with very aggressive pricing, and little support.
3. Mail order: offer aggressive pricing of boxed product. For the purely price-driven buyer, who buys boxes and expects no service, these are very good options. None of these direct competitors provides the customization and service that small businesses such as our clients truly need. Small business buyers are accustomed to buying from vendors who visit their offices. They expect the copy machine vendors, office products vendors, and office furniture vendors, as well as the local graphic artists, freelance writers, or whomever, to visit their office to make their sales. Many small companies turn immediately to the superstores (office equipment, office supplies, and electronics) and mail order to look for the best price, without realizing that there is a better option for them at only a little bit more. We need to effectively compete against the idea that businesses should buy computers as plug-in appliances that don't need ongoing service, support, and training. Our focus group sessions indicated that our target home office markets think about price but would buy based on quality service if the offering were properly presented. They think about price because that's all they ever see. We have very good indications that many would rather pay 10-20% more for a relationship with a long-term vendor providing back-up and quality service and support; they end up in the box-pusher channels because they aren't aware of the alternatives. We currently depend on newspaper advertising as our main way to reach new buyers. As we change strategies, however, we need to change the way we promote ourselves. We will be refocusing on our core message of service through radio, cable TV, sales brochures, direct mailers and newspapers. We need to sell the company, not the product. We sell AMT, not Apple, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, or Compaq, or any of our software brand names. The Yearly Total Sales chart summarizes our ambitious sales forecast. We expect sales to increase from $5.3 million last year to more than $6 million next year and to more than $9 million in the last year of this plan. 1.1 Objectives 1. Sales increasing to more than $9 million by the third year. 2. Bring gross margin back up to above 30%, and maintain that level. 3. Sell $1.5 million of service, support, and training by 1998. 4. Improve inventory turnover to 6 turns by 1998. 1.2 Keys to Success 1. Differentiate from box-pushing, price-oriented businesses by offering and delivering service and support -- and charging for it. 2. Increase gross margin to more than 30%.
3. 1.3 Mission
Increase our non-hardware sales to 20% of the total sales by the third year.
AMT is built on the assumption that the management of information technology for business is like legal advice, accounting, graphic arts, and other bodies of knowledge, in that it is not inherently a do-it-yourself prospect. Smart business people who aren't computer hobbyists need to find quality vendors of reliable hardware, software, service, and support. They need to use these quality vendors as they use their other professional service suppliers, as trusted allies. AMT is such a vendor. It serves its clients as a trusted ally, providing them with the loyalty of a business partner and the economics of an outside vendor. We make sure that our clients have what they need to run their businesses as well as possible, with maximum efficiency and reliability. Many of our information applications are mission critical, so we give our clients the assurance that we will be there when they need us.
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