How to Write a Business Plan with Mikaila Ulmer

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How to Write a Business Plan

A business plan helps you be more strategic with your own resources, and you will need one if you are seeking funding for your business. Entrepreneur Mikaila Ulmer will guide you through completing the key components.

Why Write a Business Plan?

The dream that I had as a four year old of changing the world with a lemonade stand is what drove the growth of the company. But what actually provided the backbone in the foundation for that dream was the fact that we had a business plan for each stage of our company's growth. And that's one of the many reasons you want to make a business plan. A clear business plan informs other parties, whether that's your internal team, your friends and family, potential investors, or strategic partners, about your company. It also sets clear goals for the future and allows you to dream like a kid, just as I did as a four year old in Austin. A study reports that you're 42% more likely to accomplish the goals that you write down.*

A business plan is essentially a way of listing your goals and backing it up with data and research. You also include your current team key factors about your business, and the industry as a whole. It establishes a roadmap for your business.

Key Reasons to Write a Business Plan

  • Helps you understand key factors of business and industry
  • Establishes roadmap for business
  • Provides information for other parties such as potential investors, internal teams, friends & family
  • Sets clear goals for the future and allows you to dream like a kid
  • Make you 42% more likely to accomplish the goals you write down*


Key Aspects of a Business Plan

  • Industry overview - a general market analysis
  • Company and business overview - introduces your business
  • Business strategy - clarifies what your strategy is for conducting business
  • Mission and vision - how your business is going to impact others in the world
  • Management and key personnel
  • Capitalization structure - how you fund and raise capital
  • Growth and goals?
  • What's next for your brand
  • Risks and mitigation - potential elements that could negatively impact your business and how you will mitigate those


Aspects of a Business Plan with Mikaila Ulmer

Company & Business

This section provides an overview and introduction to your business as a whole. Here's where you want to tell your founder's story, what's unique about your company, and what big problem your company solves. You want to list what your company structure is - are you an LLC or are you incorporated? Where are your principal offices located?
Is it virtual or in person? And who are the management personnel? But not too much into the matter of personnel because there's another section for that. In this section, you want to include your business strategy, opportunities, and the target market.

  • The story behind founding your company
  • What's unique about your company
  • The big problem your company solves.
  • Company structure i.e. are you an LLC or are you incorporated?
  • Location of principal offices - is a virtual is it in person?
  • Management personnel - who are they? - but not too much into the matter of personnel because there's another section for that.
  • Business strategy - what is the opportunity and the target market?


Mission & Vision

I came across my vision and mission statement actually as an accident. I was four and a half years old. I got stung by two bees in one week. It was extremely painful and I was terrified of them. My parents said, ‘okay, how about you do some research?’

I learned that without the bees, our food supply would collapse. And I also learned that one out of every three bites of the food we eat comes from bee-pollinated plants. This definitely sparked an interest and I wanted to help protect them based on learning that the populations were dying at an alarming rate.

So I decided, “Hey, I just got a cookbook from my great granny Helen (she wrote her favorite recipe for a flaxseed lemonade.) What if I took this recipe and add my own twist? What if I added mint? What if I sweetened it with honey, which I had just learned that bees made? And what if I donated a portion to organizations that would seem to bees?” That’s how my mission orginated.

I wanted to create lemonade that tastes good and does good. I wanted to make a measurable impact on saving bee populations. While that's what it started as, it has since grown into something more. Yes, it saved bees, but it's also teaching and encouraging social entrepreneurship.

Mission and vision may sound the same, but they're pretty different and they're both equally as important. Your vision statement is your reason for being. It's who you are at your core. It can be inspirational and emotional. The goal is getting others to see your vision and believe in it, to garner hearts, attention and interest. Your vision statement should attract and engage passionate individuals both within and outside of your organization.

Business Plan Mission and Vision

Vision Statement

A vision statement is your reason for being - who you are at your core.

  • Can be Inspirational - getting others to see your vision and BEE-lieve in it
  • Can be emotional - to get hearts, attention and interest
  • Should be a short statement


Mission Statement

The mission statement is where you want to clarify what the scope of your work is. What you do, how do you do it, and for whom. This is where you help people understand how you achieve the vision that you already mentioned.

Industry Overview

In the Industry Overview section, you want to list what differentiates you from your competition. State your business's economic sector on a local, regional and national level. You want to list who the current leaders and trendsetters are in your industry; you could do this through a side by side competitor analysis. You want to forecast where your industry is headed to in the future.

Industry Overview Highlights

  • What differentiates you from the competition?
  • State business’ economic sector
    • Local level
    • Regional level
    • National level
  • Current leaders and/or trendsetters
    • Side-by-side competitor analysis
  • Forecast for your industry
    • Describe sectors growth
    • Market cap
    • Opportunities for your business to expand
  • Overall goal is to determine your target market
    and what separates you
Business Plan Competitor Section

Management and Key Personnel “Your Hive”

The next section is the “Your Hive” section or Management and Key Personnel. Here's where you want to outline your business's management structure and their qualifications. This could be owners, key personnel board, etc. You don't need to have a large team. You just want to emphasize what proficiencies, personalities and skill sets your team has. So whether you're a solopreneur or you're listing people who you go to for help that as my hive. In general, you want to emphasize the capacity of your team through a variety of skill sets and identify key functions that are required to help achieve the vision for your business.

One challenge that we had as a small business was that it was hard to bring on full time employees. I was the founder and CEO of Queen Bee. I brought on my parents as Chief Operating Bee and Chief Marketing Bee, but we still needed help. And so we realized that by listing what skills our current team had in our management and personnel section, we were able to understand the skills that we need to outsource.

We eventually went to outsourcing specific team members such as brokers, accountants, manufacturers and just finding people who can wear multiple hats to help us run the day-to-day. The great thing about your hive is that it's not just people who work for your company. As I grew my business, there were so many people who wanted to be part of my hive.


Management and Personnel Highlights

  • Outline the business's management structure and their qualifications
    • Owners
    • Key personnel
    • Board
  • Identify key functions required to help achieve vision for business (and timing)
  • Emphasize the capacity of your team through a variety of skillsets
  • Proficiency & Personality



The next section of your business plan is Capitalization. How are you going to fund this idea, this company, and where will that money go in the future? This is where you want to list what your initial funding will be, whether it's friends and family, angel investors, venture capitalist or your local bank. You also want to set forth the capitalization of the company on a pro forma basis. So how much capital is needed to pursue the next steps of your business strategy and what form of capital is that going to be in?

Are you going to have equity based investments, loans, line of credits, etc.? One of the challenges that we had as a small business was that there were opportunities to scale, but we were unable to take advantage of them. When we looked at our capitalization structure, we realized in order to launch into these retailers or in order to go into these states, we needed freight, we needed higher manufacturing abilities, and we didn't have those items at the item.

We realized we needed capitalization. We established exactly what sources we were going to get that capital from. Then, we were able to create a convincing pitch and slide deck to attract potential investors. And so that's what led us to going on That led us to Shark Tank in 2016 and landing a deal with Mr. Daymond John. Also in 2018, we got investments from around ten NFL players. Even today, where we are looking to grow the company and get more rounds of funding.


Capitalization Highlights

  • Sourcing initial funding
    • Friends and family
    • Angel Investors
    • Venture Capitalists
    • Local bank
  • Set forth capitalization of the company on a pro forma basis


Business Strategy

In the business strategy section., you want to list how your business will earn a profit through creating a value for your customers. What are your value propositions? Is it newness? Is it brand, status. reduced cost, convenience, or customization? What needs of your customers? Is your business going to satisfy you?


List your channels. How are you going to reach your customers? Which channels work best and which channels are most affordable? This is very important.


Revenue Streams
List your revenue streams. There are multiple types from subscription based to renting or leasing, licensing, advertising, etc. Once you establish those revenue streams, how are you going to price your product or your service? Is it list price, negotiation based, customer dependent, value dependent, etc.?


Business Model
What's your business model? How are you planning on making a profit and whom you are trying to sell to: be the be B2B business, B2C business, etc.

A great example of how a business strategy was helpful to Me & the Bees was when we were shifting from just being a lemonade stand to actually being a bottled product. A local pizza shop said, “Hey, if you can find a way to bottle your product, we'll carry it.” Now that we had that opportunity, we had to figure out how our business strategy would change. It changed a lot. Instead of trying to target individual customers, we now had to shift our target to retailers in restaurants and cafes to sell the product. And then we also realized that this meant a different pricing model and different channels that we were trying to reach.

Thankfully, we had a very clear business strategy section that helped us throughout that transition.

Business Strategy Highlights

  • How will your business earn a profit through creating value for its customers and employees?
    • Value propositions (ex: newness, brand/status, reduced cost, convenience/usability, customization)
    • What customer needs are you satisfying? 



  • How will we reach our customers?
    • Which channels work best?
    • Which are most affordable?


Revenue Streams

  • Types: subscription, renting/leasing, licensing, advertising
  • Pricing: list price, customer dependent, negotiation, volume dependent


Business model (how do you plan on making a profit?)

  • B2B
  • B2C

A tool you can use:

Business Plan Business Strategy Section

Growth & Goals

The growth and goals section is where you can dream like a kid and can be fearless in the possibilities of where your business can go in the future. How are you going to expand your position? This could be increasing velocity at current locations or selling new products or new variations of your current products. Another example - what promotions, marketing or social media campaigns are you going to do?

When I started Me & the Bees, all we offered was one flavor. As we grew, based on the growth and goal section, I decided I wanted different flavors. So we have ginger, prickly pear, and black cherry now. I also established that I wanted different products, such as lip balm, skin care, snacks, etc.

After growing the company and after getting that lemonade to a nationally distributed point, I decided I want to start a nonprofit so that I can save the bees through research, education and protection. I wanted to publish a book so that I can help inspire the next generation of changemakers. I also wanted to connect with current changemakers around the world, whether it's in Singapore or Cape Town, and figure out how we can make a difference when it comes to saving pollinators, when it comes to increasing the amount of social businesses in the world, and helping inspire others.


Growth & Goals Section Highlights

  • What’s the future of your business?
    • Expand where you are – increase velocity at current locations
    • Future Promos, marketing, social media
    • Sell current products at new locations
    • Offer new variations of current product
Business Plan Growth Section

A Word of Encouragement for Small Business Owners

Dreaming like a kid is where a lot of the passion and excitement for growing my brand originated from. And that passion made it so much easier to overcome many of the challenges that every small business faces. For example, managing and navigating the COVID 19 pandemic, balancing being a student and being an entrepreneur at the same time, and so much more.

And so in general, it was the dream of, “Hey, this is where I want my business to go in the future.” And yes, it was the backbone and foundation of that dream through business plan, but it was also the resiliency and the grit that all entrepreneurs have. And so this quote is one that I came up with during one of those times of challenges.

And I think that this is applicable to being a small business owner, so entrepreneur, but also so many other parts of life in general. There's going to be things, there's going to be challenges. But I think the most powerful point is when you actually get back up, when you're able to face those challenges and overcome them and then tell stories about it, inspire others in the future.



“Don't be discouraged by life's little stings, get back up and spread your wings.“

— Mikaila Ulmer, Founder & CEO, Me & the Bees

And I think that this is applicable to being a small business owner, so entrepreneur, but also so many other parts of life in general. There's going to be things, there's going to be challenges. But I think the most powerful point is when you actually get back up, when you're able to face those challenges and overcome them and then tell stories about it, inspire others in the future.

About Mikaila Ulmer

Mikaila Ulmer is founder and CEO of Me & the Bees Lemonade. Using her Great Granny Helen’s flaxseed honey lemonade recipe, Mikaila launched her business in 2009, at a youth entrepreneurial event and then sold her lemonade at a stand in front of her home in Austin, Texas. Today, the award-winning lemonade is buzzing off the shelves at retailers in all 50 states. In 2018, Mikaila launched the Healthy Hive Foundation non-profit where a percentage of net profits from the sale of her lemonade goes to saving the bees. Mikaila’s first book, Bee Fearless: Dream Like a Kid, was released by Penguin Random House in 2020.

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