Brian Hill reports:
"A business plan should be created before making the decision to open a driving range. The proposal can be used to generate interest from prospective investors or lenders. It also serves as a feasibility study that helps you gauge the likelihood your business will succeed...First, describe the layout of your driving range and the number of practice bays and any additional facilities...Include a drawing of the facility with precise dimensions. A key decision to make early on is whether the practice bays will have artificial turf or grass, which is more expensive to maintain. Still, golfers tend to prefer grass as a practice surface as it more closely resembles on-course conditions...Data about overall growth in golf participation and changes in demographics can help you make the case that your business will succeed. The National Golf Foundation collects information about the current performance of the golf industry. Some of the reports are free. The [U.S.] Census Bureau website has information sources for you to use in estimating your potential market, including data compiled by state, county and city. Additional sources are just an Internet search away...The components of a business model include the revenue streams your driving range is expected to generate. Think of the business as an amusement park for golfers. The major revenue stream comes from selling buckets of practice balls. Offering food and beverages can generate additional income. Consider providing lessons through a revenue-sharing arrangement with a professional instructor. Offering a selection of golf equipment...can also contribute to your bottom line. For each revenue stream, list what you will charge your customers and why you chose that price point...Talk about the competitors in your area -- perhaps within 15 miles -- and their strengths and weaknesses. Include nearby public golf courses in your competitive analysis because many have practice facilities. Describe what you will do differently and the advantages you can exploit to make your driving range successful. Perhaps the location you have chosen has great visibility from a major highway. Maybe you have prior experience operating a profitable recreation or retail facility. You may have the advantage of limited competition in the area...Describe your target customer groups, those golfers who will be your major customers, and the marketing methods you will use to attract them. Facility signage is an important tool to get attention, so finding a good sign shop is vital. Plan a catered grand opening event with promotions like free sodas and hamburgers. Word-of-mouth promotion is a very cost-effective marketing technique. Hand out discount coupons and offer frequent visitors a free bucket of balls for every 10 they buy...Build a monthly revenue model. For each revenue stream, forecast the number of golfers expected to make a purchase and multiply that by the price you intend to charge. Build an expenses model with all the categories of operational expenses you will incur, including salaries, maintenance and utilities. Don't forget categories such as insurance and office supplies. Combine the revenue and expense model to arrive at a month-by-month profit estimate. Facilities in more temperate climates usually have shorter operating seasons unless they offer heated tees, so take the local weather into account as well."
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