BUSINESS PLAN SEVEN ELMS RESORT
65000 Windy Lane Dr.
Traverse City, Michigan 49865
The Seven Elms Resort outlines how it will provide quality hospitality services, cost-effectively, in a popular northern U.S. lake resort environment. This plan successfully raised capital for property acquisition, renovation, and company start-up related costs.
We seek funds for the acquisition and renovation of Seven Elms Resort, an adult-marketed, 17-room "boutique style" hotel specializing in a couples' "getaway" to provide relaxation and recreation in Benzie County, a popular tourism spot located next to the state of Michigan's Lake Michigan. Moderately priced between the high-line hotel properties and the older motel strips, Seven Elms Resort shall fill an affordability niche not presently available in Benzie County.
Combined with an on-site lounge, grill, poolside beverage service, and morning continental breakfast bar, we are seeking investment funds to renovate the hotel building, build-out a piano bar/lounge area with dance floor, and construct an outdoor pool adjacent to the indoor pool. With this refurbishment and other new amenities, Seven Elms Resort will form the basis of a highly profitable hotel venture. We are seeking funds to develop and expand the business in a phased approach, as highlighted within this document.
Seven Elms Resort's owner, Steve M. Blackburn, has an extensive business background, including over 14 years of experience developing a variety of businesses. Mr. Blackburn received his B.A. in Business Economics, and currently is an M.B.A. candidate at the University of Michigan. Desiring to return to his own business, he wishes to establish Seven Elms Resort, Inc. in 1999.
The foundation for the plan is a combination of primary and secondary research, upon which the marketing strategies are built. Discussions and interviews were held with a variety of individuals involved with other similar businesses to develop the proforma data, review the market potential, and competitive situation.
Renovation in the Prairie Style period, our hotel's design elements and furniture will reflect this "organic" approach and provide an overall comfortable experience. Seven Elms Resort shall specialize in meeting an individual or couple's needs. As growth warrants, the 10-acre site would allow for future expansion of the lodging portion of the resort (Phase II).
In today's highly competitive environment, formal business planning is an essential element in achieving business success. A well-written business plan is primarily a communication tool used to obtain financing. In certain instances, particularly with our early stage company, this business plan also serves as a strategic plan.
Considering that lenders are inundated by numerous investment opportunities from which they choose only a few, this business plan describes our story and how we intend to grow. Seven Elms Resort, Inc. management team has made an in-depth analysis of its opportunities and weaknesses and it has concluded that the company has an excellent chance to succeed.
Sophisticated business planning helps management answer questions, such as: What will be our record of achievement? How have we fared compared to our competitors? Are we setting realistic and attainable goals and objectives?
Constructive and useful business planning requires a broad-based understanding of changes taking place in the marketplace in which the company competes, or plans to compete, and the ever-changing financial markets. In-depth technical skills in a variety of disciplines such as financial analysis, sales and marketing, latest technology, and managing growth are critical components in assessing a company's opportunities and risks.
The management of Seven Elms Resort, Inc. has developed this disciplined planning methodology to help the company anticipate its start-up costs and other critical information to arrive at this realistic plan.
Mr. Blackburn has sought legal assistance and advisors to develop the Seven Elms Resort concept. Steve will maintain an active management involvement in every aspect of daily resort operations. This plan reflects his vision.
The business of Seven Elms Resort, Inc. is the creation of and funding of an adult couples' 17-room hotel, specializing in a "getaway" atmosphere to provide relaxation and recreation in the Greater Benzie County/Lake Michigan area. Management is soliciting commercial finance partners who share its vision and desire to participate in this exciting business opportunity in the resort community of Benzie County, Michigan. The integration of these disciplines results in extensive and innovative services, set in a unique Prairie Style surrounding for our prospective guests.
The preferred location is a 10-acre parcel with 8 acres of woods. Of the 18 rooms, 3 are executive suites, with Jacuzzi tubs, and one of them will be converted to an onsite manager's apartment. Each room has individual climate control, direct-dial phones, and televisions. The facility has a large main lobby area, indoor pool/Jacuzzi/sauna, lighted tennis court, 2-car garage, storage shed, ample parking, and all equipment necessary for operation of the motel. The separate onsite manager residence and meeting room complex will serve as a future lounge/grill space. The grounds are beautifully landscaped.
The motel is located in the motel district of Benzie County and is situated on 9.43 beautifully landscaped, wooded acres. Approximately 7 of the 9.43 acres are wooded and undeveloped, which creates an opportunity for significant expansion or potential for an entirely new enterprise.
This facility consists of one building, built in two phases: a 22- and 15-year-old two- and one- story wood frame 18-unit motel and manager's/owner's apartment, which when combined, total approximately 14,787 square feet of living area. The 18-unit motel includes a lobby with a fireplace, reception area, storage area, laundry room, bathroom, meeting rooms, a balcony, 18 room units, a men's and women's bathroom, kitchen, a whirlpool/sauna room, an indoor swimming pool, and mechanical room. The motel has a partial basement and includes a laundry room with two washers and two dryers.
The manager's apartment (future piano bar and basement bar/meeting room area) offers a living room, kitchen, dining area, family room, half bath, and gift shop on the first floor with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths on the second floor. The home has a concrete block basement that is partially finished with a recreation room and a 3/4 bathroom.
The exterior is cedar and the roof is pitch and pebble. The building is seated on a poured concrete and a concrete block foundation. Interior walls are concrete block and drywall. The flooring is carpet and ceramic tile. There are casement windows and wood storms and screens. There is a basement area under the living quarters and a portion of the motel.
Other improvements include a 2-car garage with 2 electric door openers. A detached storage shed is located to the rear of the manager's apartment. Land improvements include a blacktop driveway and parking lot with 23 parking spaces, concrete sidewalks, a lighted tennis court, street signage, and beautiful landscaping with a mature variety of trees and shrubs.
Mechanical systems include five gas hydropic, two gas forced air furnaces, electric baseboard heat, individual heat, and central air for each unit; 120-gallon hot water heater, 600-amp electrical service, intercom system, two central vacs, water softener, sump pump, 4-camera security system, cable television, smoke alarms, and telephone system.
Seven Elms Resort, Inc.'s mission is to provide quality hospitality services to our guests in a comprehensive and cost competitive manner, providing the finest accommodations in Benzie County, Michigan.
This business plan serves to detail the direction, vision, and planning to achieve our goal for providing superior and comprehensive hotel and lounge services. Our plan objectives are:
Seven Elms Resort shall fill a niche not presently available, namely a moderately priced (under $130 per night, summer rate) resort. Combined with an on-site lounge, a grilled food service, an indoor and outdoor pool bar, and a morning continental breakfast offering, we shall differentiate ourselves by becoming a "boutique style" resort versus simply another motel. With the construction of an outdoor pool adjacent to the present indoor pool/whirlpool/sauna complex and our other refurbishment and new amenities, Seven Elms Resort will form the basis of a highly profitable venture set in a Prairie Style environment.
Mr. Steve Blackburn founded Seven Elms Resort, Inc. hotel and lounge in 1998 as a Michigan Subchapter "S" Corporation. Since 1985, Steve has had extensive experience in creating and managing organizations for environmental and economic development-oriented companies involved in nationwide projects.
Steve consults with area businesses in development-related issues, including finance, and is a United States SBA counselor at the Small Business Development Center at the University of Michigan. Past SBA clients include service and manufacturing organizations. He is a certified SBA Fast Track program instructor, a Michigan licensed loan solicitor, with a specialty in commercial finance, and a guest lecturer at U-M for Business Plan Writing Workshops. He has started previous business and corporate subsidiaries and looks forward to managing Seven Elms Resort on a daily basis.
Currently, Steve is an M.B.A. candidate at U-M and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Economics with a minor in chemistry from Notre Dame University.
Seven Elms Resort, Inc. has additional key staff members and advisors to assist during the development, planning, and initial planning phases. They include an architect trained at the University of Notre Dame, CPAs, and former managers of bar and Bed and Breakfast style properties.
Mr. Steve Blackburn will manage all aspects of the business and service development to ensure effective customer responsiveness. Qualified resort associate professionals will provide additional support services. Support staff will be added as guest and/or patron load factors mandate. Blackburn has joined the American Hotel and Motel Association.
For purposes of this Business Plan document, Seven Elms Resort, Inc.—Phase I and Phase II for developmental growth are defined below:
This phase involves preparation and development of Seven Elms Resort. Until the ideal property is acquired, Seven Elms Resort, Inc. offices will be housed at the home of Mr. Steve Blackburn, its founder. The property will establish its own Prairie Style identity, management directives, and capital. Incorporating a total quality management approach and a guest appreciation program, Seven Elms Resort will develop key repeat guests and lounge patrons. Through word of mouth and advertising, our reputation as an affordable "boutique style" resort shall grow.
Property renovation will include the makeover of 18 to 17 rooms (with 3 suites) and the conversion of the present onsite property manager's house to lounge gathering space. New construction includes a bar room addition, extra parking lot build-out, and an outdoor pool. [Phase I capital (start-up) funds are documented later on in this business plan.] It is anticipated that the funding and transfer of this property will happen in spring 1999. Operation "as is" of the facility would continue through the summer and fall. The hotel will close for the winter months for its build-out and renovation.
Continue implementation of sales, advertising, and marketing strategies developed in Phase I. Identify and pursue additional guest markets, i.e. Internet room guarantee services. Seven Elms Resort shall evaluate its room occupancy position to determine if a facility expansion is warranted. Seven Elms Resort anticipates additional support staff would be needed at the proper time (Phase II). This Plan does not contain funding needs for this Phase.
Establishing a hotel and lounge business clientele will take some time, as the research revealed word-of-mouth /recommendations /referrals and value as the primary way in which hotel and lounge services are selected by new guests. People who are completely new to the area, or who have few established connections, may look to the Yellow Pages or other advertising to establish available services, then call for information or pricing.
A good portion of the past guests to the property will no longer return, as the present ownership has operated the property as a Christian retreat-style motel.
Strengths of Seven Elms Resort, Inc. include Steve Blackburn's broad base of experience in managing different types of companies. He has extensive development experience and a track record of hiring the right people and training them. Blackburn understands the service sector business, has traveled extensively frequenting numerous lodging establishments, and has gained invaluable experience in organizational management.
Currently, a mid-size "boutique" resort niche is vacant in the Lake Michigan market, with present lodging on the high end, averaging $225 per night (and up) down to older motel properties of $79 per night. Several B&B establishments may fall into the middle, however, Seven Elms, as a resort-style property, will serve its niche by itself.
Seven Elms Resort, Inc. like all businesses, is affected by forces and trends in the market environment. These include economic, geographical, competitive, legal/political, and technical.
Positive forces include the generally prosperous economy that is currently in place, full employment, rising wages, and low inflation, leading more people to be able and willing to spend money and to get away for some time. The close locality of Lake Michigan offers an affordable alternative to a flyaway destination.
Located just two blocks from Lake Michigan and downtown Lakegrove, the area has several golf courses, two ski hills, water recreation activities, numerous dining establishments, various retail and specialty shops, art galleries, theatre entertainment venues, and the beauty and serenity of Lake Michigan, which has made this county a famous Midwest tourist destination. Traverse City began to prosper in the 1870s, becoming a desirable resort area. Many homes and estates date back to this era and several enormous "summer cottages" were built on the lakeshore and are still in evidence today.
Seven Elms Resort shall fill a niche not presently available, namely a moderately priced (under $130 per night), resort-type establishment. Combined with an on-site lounge, a grilled food service, an indoor and outdoor pool bar, and a morning continental breakfast offering, we shall differentiate ourselves by becoming a "boutique style" resort versus simply another motel.
Our Prairie Style surroundings will attract and retain guests who appreciate such refined environments.
Seven Elms Resort management will not move the project forward until it has obtained an option to acquire one of the 19 Benzie County, Michigan, liquor licenses. As faced by all businesses, the proper insurance needs shall be met and all operations and policy manuals shall be reviewed by appropriate legal experts. The facility will obtain all the necessary building permits prior to construction. Present facility zoning allows for this proposed use, including a bar, cabaret, grill, and dance floor space.
Computer programs greatly simplify the financial recordkeeping for today's businesses. As a small business, Seven Elms Resort will need to watch its expenses closely. By utilizing the existing software packages available in the hotel industry, including: room and facility management database, controlled bar and inventory measuring systems, and room key cards that allow patrons to charge directly to their room account, this technology shall assist management in controlling costs, reducing cash management, and maximizing revenue. Seven Elms Resort shall attract the resources necessary to train and operate the system in order to generate the reports and manage the inventory.
A listing of the hotel and motel properties in Benzie County, Michigan (sourced through Midwest and the Ameritech Directories) is as follows. (Note: Other properties on Lake Michigan, but outside the city limits, are not included):
High Line ($139-$750 per night, depending upon season)
The Cove of Lake Michigan ($145-$225)
Grand Michigan Resort and Spa ($139-$750)
The Harbor's Edge ($139-$199)
The Michigan Inn ($215-$350)
The Strike Hotel ($200)
Motel ($59-$119 per night, depending upon season)
Breezy Chateau Inn
Budget Time Motel
Lake Michigan Motel
Pine Tar Motel
Shady Drive Motel
The Stirrup Motel
Bed & Breakfast (B&B)
The Mixer House
Precious Times Inn
Hotel and motel properties in adjacent communities are not listed, however, they do advertise in the Yellow Pages.
Seven Elms Resort hotel and lounge is attempting to carve out a fourth segment in the lodging market; that of a "boutique" style, high-line property at mid-line pricing geared towards adult couples and not marketed to families.
A review of competitors' marketing strategies reveals no one targeting this market segment. Hotel and lounge is a referral-driven business—new business can be obtained by encouraging and rewarding present guests to refer future guests. Networking within business and civic groups is important; even if the business results are not immediately felt, it is an excellent public relations opportunity. Live piano, or jazz style trio, on the weekends will add excitement to the resort and draw community residents and guests from other properties.
A hypothetical behavior sequence model for a new customer (future guest) contemplating using a hotel and lounge service for the first time might look something like the following (based on discussions and interviews with potential guests):
Individual or couple decided to getaway for a few days. This may happen as a result of a need for a change of pace, vacation, or a celebration purpose. The need can arise anytime year round. Even in the late fall and winter months people are thinking "getaway" to break the weather doldrums.
Individual or couple investigates hotel services. In most cases, this means the they will consider first any recommendations that they are knowledgeable of through prior association (relative, friend, or social group). If the individual or couple is new to the area or otherwise has not made any close connections with people, he/she would look in the Yellow Pages for a listing, or perhaps look in a newspaper for advertising.
Acting on the advice of friends (or own knowledge), the individual or couple will call the recommended property to obtain information that will help him/her decide if this place is the best for them. Criteria for selection include: (1) amenities (pool, on-site food service, nonsmoking rooms, bar lounge area, etc.); (2) reputation (what kind of persons usually stay here?);(3) physical plant (how recent the renovation, upkeep, etc?); (4) courtesy (professional and attentive staff?); and (5) pricing (is the place affordable?).
Based on the information received, the individual or couple makes a decision and either schedules an appointment to view the property or makes a reservation.
The individual's satisfaction with his/her decision and with the service itself is largely a function of their interaction with the staff during their stay. Everyone associated with Seven Elms Resort will do everything possible to ensure a satisfactory experience for the guest, so that future business (and a future referral) is not at risk.
Marketing strategies will build on this model, taking advantage of precipitating events, fostering word-of-mouth recommendations, and creating satisfaction through interacting with the future or present guests.
Overall, the environment appears very positive for Seven Elms Resort, Inc. The forces driving market demand, mainly economic and geographical, are strong, with more people staying closer to home for shorter getaway trips and their comfort level of visiting Lake Michigan, one of the Midwest's premiere travel destinations. On the negative side, there is competition, and it will take a while for Seven Elms Resort to get "established" in its market niche.
The business is driven by referrals and repeat business, so for the first few years Seven Elms Resort will need to be aggressive in attracting new guests. The marketing strategy is subject to change upon guest feedback and surveys.
Target Markets—Geographical: The major cities within a three-hour drive of the property.
For its guests, Seven Elms Resort will be positioned as a new, beautifully landscaped, nature-filled, unique atmosphere hotel with a bar lounge service that fits an adult "getaway" market niche. A full range of referral services (i.e. restaurant recommendations, shopping, taxis, area attractions) will be made available and tailored to the needs of the particular guest.
Business services range from room phones that are Internet jack ready and telephone answering message service for each room to on-site fax services and meeting room space (lounge sitting area and cabaret room). Seven Elms Resort will aim to attract business guests and their partners needing to hold planning or strategy sessions away from the office in a new and comfortable surrounding, in order to even out revenues throughout the week.
Unlike products that are produced, then distributed, and sold, hotel and lounge services are produced and consumed simultaneously in a real-time environment. Thus, distribution issues center on making the services available in a convenient manner to the greatest number of potential guests. Seven Elms Resort will maintain a front office staff member throughout the night so guests are able to get answers to any question or service when they need it. This flexibility is especially attractive to the business traveler. Clients will be able to contact Seven Elms Resort by telephone, fax, and e-mail.
Rooms per night fees have been developed. The fee schedule takes into account seasonal rates that are common in the area. For businesses and other large group functions, pricing can be discounted depending upon the number of rooms reserved.
Example lounge pricing and grill food offerings are also noted.
|Winter Rates (November through April):|
|Summer Rates (May through October):|
|(Includes Continental Breakfast, use of indoor and outdoor pools, and exercise equipment room.)|
|Fax Service (per page, outgoing)||$0.75|
|Telephone Rates (set at going company rate)|
|Hotel Safe Storage Fee (per day)||$2.50|
|Liquor and Drink Fees|
|(Sandwiches include fries, onion rings or chips.)|
|"Top Shelf" Brands||$4.75 - $7.50|
|Specialty Drinks||$4.50 - $5.75|
|Import Beers & Wine||$3.75|
|Juices, Bottled Water, and Soft Drinks||$2.50|
|Rib-Eye Steak Sandwich||$7.99|
|Chicken Breast Sandwich||$5.99|
|Hamburger (1/4 pound)||$5.99|
|Fried Cod Fish Sandwich||$5.99|
|Salads||$4.99 - $8.99|
|Chicken Tenders||$4.99 - $6.99|
|Cheese Sticks (with sauce)||$4.99|
|Frozen Pizza||$6.99 - $8.99|
By giving careful consideration to customer responsiveness, Seven Elms Resort's goal will be to meet and exceed every service expectation of its hotel and lounge services. Our guests can expect quality service and a total quality management (TQM) philosophy throughout all levels of the staff.
Promotion strategies will vary depending on the target market segments. Given the importance of word-of-mouth referrals among all market segments when choosing a "getaway" hotel or small business meeting location, our efforts are designed to create awareness and build referrals. A cost-effective campaign—focused on direct marketing, publicity, our frequent guest reward program, and advertising—is being proposed.
A direct marketing (direct mail) package consisting of a tri-fold brochure, letter of introduction, and reply card will be sent to a list of potential guests. This list can be obtained from International Business Lists, Inc. (Chicago, IL) and is compiled from tax records (by upper-income geographical areas, Secretary of State incorporation registrations, business license applications, and announcements from newspaper clippings).
The brochure and letter introduces Seven Elms Resort, stresses the importance of having a good time in comfortable surroundings, provides information on our resort services, and describes what sets us apart from other area hotel and lounge properties. The initial mailing may contain a promotional offer: the opportunity to receive a 10% discount on the first night's room rate.
Approximately two months after the mailing, an additional letter shall be sent. The potential guest would be asked to address any questions and the follow-up would remind them to drop in for a property tour on their next trip to Lake Michigan. Additionally, new businesses will be targeted and sent information.
The cycle would repeat itself with new target communities and select businesses and would continue through the first year. After that, additional mailings would be conducted, as needed, based upon occupancy goals.
Seven Elms Resort, Inc. will also consider developing a one-page newsletter to be mailed quarterly to past guests and prospects in the database. The newsletter can be used to update clients on hotel and lounge and area-related developments, but also serves as a reminder of what sets Seven Elms Resort apart. The newsletter can be produced in-house and for the cost of paper and a stamp creates a lot of goodwill among guests and business prospects.
A news release will be sent to area newspapers and magazines announcing the launch of Seven Elms Resort, Inc. and lounge. Area talent searches will be conducted to secure weekend cabaret room entertainment.
Steve Blackburn will join the Benzie County Chamber of Commerce as a means of networking in the community. He also may make himself available for speaking engagements at other community or civic organizations as a low-cost way of increasing awareness and building goodwill in the community.
For present guests: "Stay 6 nights and get the seventh night for free" promotion and as a means of building business by word-of-mouth, present customers should be encouraged and rewarded for referring future guests. This can be accomplished by offering a small "rebate" (5% or 10% rebate on first night stay) to current customers who successfully refer a new guest.
Advertising is utilized primarily to attract new guests and serves to build awareness and name recognition of the resort in general, which is important for word-of-mouth referrals ("Oh yes, I've seen that resort's ads before.")
|Resort brochure (2-color, 1,000 quantity, high quality paper)||$750|
|Reply card (2-color, 500 quantity, card stock)||$250|
|Lists (new businesses, home-based businesses)||$750|
|Postage (mailing 450 pieces)||$500|
|Restaurant placemats (5 restaurants/10 events)||$500|
|Advertising specialties (give-away)||$250|
|Total for 1999||$10,000|
Objectives have been established for Seven Elms Resort so that actual performance can be measured. Thus, at the end of its first year, Seven Elms Resort should have:
Each subsequent year new objectives will be set for these benchmarks and actual performance will be measured against them. If actual performance falls short of objectives, investigation will be made into the cause, and plans will be adjusted accordingly.
In addition, it is recommended that Seven Elms Resort keep track of the source of all new guests ("Where did you hear of us?") in order to measure the effectiveness of each type of promotion. Each subsequent year's budget should adjust spending toward the types of promotion that reach the most new clients.
Customer satisfaction is most directly reflected in the year-to-year customer retention percentage. All lost customers should be investigated to find out why they left. A customer satisfaction survey may be considered after three to four years in the business.
Here is the Project Funding Summary for Seven Elms Resort:
|Project Funding Summary|
|Building and Improvements Cost||$881,000|
|Fixtures, Build-Out and Furniture||$353,739|
|Developmental Start-Up Expense||$116,000|
|Five Months Working Capital||$49,261|
Developmental costs for the start-up of this new hotel and lounge services company are listed above. These schedules also listed in the Ten Year Proforma.
The following schedule highlights the anticipated developmental costs:
|Marketing, PR & Advertising||$10,000|
|Engineering & Permitting||$5,000|
|Founders Draw (Gen. Contractor)||$16,000|
The development of Seven Elms Resort, Inc. will require the full-time talents of Steve Blackburn. Phase II growth amounts will be developed and sought at a later date, based upon needs to be determined at that time.
The following assumptions will be incorporated into Seven Elms Resort, Inc. proforma statements.
This is the resume of Steve Blackburn, the future owner of Seven Elms Resort Steve Blackburn has demonstrated experience in business and sales organization development. Developed and secured funding for own organization, author of several successful RFPs, business and market development plans. Has expertise in customer retention programs, sales training seminars, project planning, benchmark analysis, and forecasting and budgeting. Designed and implemented computer applications including: customer database service frequency schedules, truck routing, customer retention surveys, accounting and commission salary programs.
University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Small Business Development Center
As a United States SBA counselor I assist clients in sales and business development and other related matters including: Sales, Marketing, Manufacturing and Productivity Analysis, Regulations Compliance, and Regulatory Program Development.
MRT Environmental, Inc.,
Co-founder, Business Development, Marketing, and Sales. A consulting and facilities development organization for environmental services clients in the health care industry. My responsibilities included: development of project opportunities and clients, sales personnel and training, advertising and promotion, and financial record keeping.
Pride & Barrow Industries, Inc.,
Vice President - Sales and Development. $80 million subsidiary of a $3 billion public company. Created the new medical services division; integrated third year revenues exceeded $4.5 million and employed over 25 employees. Market development and direct sales management for all regional special services subsidiaries. Developed region's first comprehensive medical waste service organization by identifying and marketing to the healthcare industry an emerging service bundle of packaging, transportation, in-service training, and treatment of medical wastes. Serviced all sectors of the healthcare industry from physician offices through major medical centers.
Market Development Representative and Environmental Specialist. Analyzed new business development opportunities in all service areas. Municipal waste contracts, waste company acquisitions, landfill development, and expansions and ancillary specialty services. Responsible for training, sales functions, regulatory data submittal, and special waste stream permitting. Created computer applications and processing systems to maximize efficiency and minimize errors.
University of Michigan, 1998, M.B.A. candidate.
Notre Dame University - Graduated 1985. B.A. in Business Accounting and Economics. Completed a course of study for a B.S. in Chemistry.