Over the course of our last few meetings with Mark we have learned a lot and personally I think it has been very eye-opening. For me, this internship started with the expectation of taking out the coffee truck and seeing what it would be like to be a barista. But it’s so much more than that. We’re learning what it takes to operate a business.
Through the use of a proforma, we calculated expenses, operating fees, potential revenue streams, pricing, and how to stay out of the red. We did this for the multiple locations that we were considering to take the truck. (Those of which included, the Koger Center, the Florida Department of Revenue, and the Tallahassee Half Marathon. The Downtown Getdown was also suggested later on and we deemed this the best location.) A proforma is a very useful tool when it comes to comparing different markets, as the demographic differs for each, and a location with lots of foot traffic is key. A separate proforma was also made for having a sponsorship, in such case a local business in Tallahassee would give us a sum of money where we would then hand out free coffee, compliments of the said establishment. This is the idea we ultimately went with; we would be a sponsored vendor at the Downtown Getdown on November 13th.
Mark helping us with our different proformas.
The next step on our agenda was to create a general business plan for the coffee truck. We had to write an executive summary, define our target market, explain how the sponsor was our customer, explain our marketing strategy, and create a pricing structure for the sponsorship. This was definitely easier said than done and although our business plan did not have to be extremely detailed, it was still difficult.
Upon meeting with Mark again we learned how to reach potential sponsors, what it would take to catch their attention, and how to ultimately seal the deal. He explicitly stated that we were offering them an opportunity and not asking for help. In situations like these, it makes all the difference if you allow them a few days to decide if it is something that they’d like to be a part of. Again he repeated, “don’t ask for the sale”. Presentation and correct language would be key here. Mark also suggested that we create a one sheet. This is something that provides an image of the establishment (in our case the truck) and has a breakdown of what we offer. One sheets are a good way of giving the sponsor a visual representation of what they are investing in.
The one sheet for RedEye Coffee
It’s crazy to think that we are already halfway through this internship! I’m excited and hopeful that everything will go according to plan and that our night at the Downtown Getdown will be successful.