Business plan

can someone tell me what the business plan has to include.

What is the business plan for? Can’t help you if we don’t know what you need the information for.

If it’s for an award for FIRST, check the 2006 manual for a rough idea. However, things change, so ask right after kickoff, when we have the 2007 manual (better yet, ask the manual:rolleyes:).

Here are some suggestions from a workshop I did last year. You can also search these forums for more ideas.
Be sure to look at the resources page on

Maryland/DC FIRST Enrichment Sessions-Nov. 19, 2005

Suggestions for Best Practices for a Business Plan:
(Thanks to those who contributed to

• Executive summary- Overview of the whole business plan. One-page. This should be the first thing that the potential sponsor should see, and the first thing that they should read! Think of it as a resume for support. You want the sponsor to read it, and want more information (which should be provided in the remainder of the packet). If you don’t sell the sponsor in one-page, they won’t want to spend their time reading the remaining information.

• Table of contents

• Mission Statement. What your team is about. A paragraph

• FIRST description- summary

• Team description- includes pictures if you can. What makes your team special?

• History- what has your team won, gained, lost, everything important!!

• Goals- The goals set for your team, go into depth about the important ones. Why did your team set this goal? What are you looking to accomplish?

Long-term growth- If you are a veteran team, how has your team grown and progressed?

• Management and Organization- How your team is run (coaches, mentors, etc.) and subgroups.

Budget- What exactly your team has spent, fundraised, sponsors, donations, etc.

Community Involvement- How your team interacts with the community (demonstrations etc)

Marketing your Team:

  1. Make Your Team Known -Send out newsletters within the community, create a website, and/or host a fundraising event(s).

  2. Become Involved -Engage in community service efforts. Show the community that you care and that you are willing to give back.

  3. Market Your Team

For Corporate: Create a Professional Packet highlighting who your team is, what FIRST is, goals for the future, past achievements (including community efforts), and where you are traveling to this season. Personalize these documents with the name of the corporation included. Place these documents in a folder and mail it to the intended corporation. After a few days make a follow-up call to make sure the documents were received and ask if they have any questions.

  1. Any leave-behind info needs to have some sort of “call-to-action” and “dated material” else it will get put on the bottom of the pile for the potential sponsor.
  2. Don’t expect them to call you. Announce a planned follow-up date and time and then do it (follow-up as planned)

For Businesses: Create a basic, yet attractive flyer with a picture of your team and small text areas that include who you are and why you are in need of funding. Also include your goals for the future and how with their donation you will be able to have a successful season. After creating this flyer, print or copy enough to disburse among team members. Require each member to obtain at least 2 local businesses to sponsor your team (even in the most rural locations this is possible). Also make sure to Poll Members to see if they know anyone (corporate, business, or otherwise) who could contribute to the team.

  1. Host Fundraisers

  2. Involve Parents

Senior Mentor note: It is very difficult to explain FIRST in simple terms to someone who is not familiar with the program. But once they experience FIRST, it is an entirely different story. A goal should be to get them to attend a regional event. Once they do come and experience the excitement, emotion and energy at the competition, they want more - they want to be involved… They start to get it!

So what do you need to do to make it easier to get people to WANT to attend an event, or WANT to get involved?

You have to sell your passion for FIRST to someone who doesn’t have any idea about FIRST. But be careful not to “oversell.” Too much passion may actually turn a potential supporter or sponsor off.

Going on that, try this thread for examples!

We…need a business plan?

There’s no requirement for a business plan. Teams generally create business plans if they’re looking to win the Entrepreneurship Award.

True, it’s not a requirement in FIRST.
But very helpful if:
-seeking corporate sponsorship.
-seeking foundation sponsorship.
-And this is usually the information asked in a NASA grant.

FIRST does not tell you how to set up or run your team. But many teams run like little companies. Every team is supposed to fill out the “yearbook page” (which is very helpful to the judges). Take this information, expand a bit, and there is the start of your business plan. :slight_smile:

I like to look at it as tying all the loose ends together.
Different aspects of the team doing different aspects of the competitions/off seasons yet the business plan pulls it all together -
long term/short goals

these are just some aspects.
The better the team develops and understands the business aspects and employs them, the smoother the team operates. It is also something that is on-going, open to improvement and innovative ideas/suggestions, and can be a really fun part of the team.