• Writing a Business Plan for Your PADI Dive Center or Resort

    A good business plan helps you set attainable goals, manage resources, handle unforeseen problems and make solid decisions because it provides specific and organized information.

    You can start with a start-up plan, which consists of a snapshot of your intended business venture. This is a good way to see how all the pieces would fit together and analyze how ready you are to start a PADI Dive Center or Resort. Plus, it works as an outline for the more complete business plan you’ll need to create to launch and grow your business. A start-up plan generally includes a summary, mission statement, keys to success, market analysis and break-even analysis.

    There are many resources available to help you create your business plan, including computer software, online templates, books with step-by-step guidelines or you could even hire a business consultant to assist you. It’s important to choose a business plan template that you’re comfortable with.

    A business plan should be easy to read, follow and understand. It doesn’t have to be long or overly complicated.

    It does need to:

    • Define your business.
    • Describe your customers.
    • Note your resources.
    • Look at your competition.
    • List your short-term and long-term goals.
    • State your financial projections.
    • Explain your marketing strategies.

    The most important part of the plan is the planning – the time you spend honestly thinking about and analyzing your new business. It’s not about writing.

    Make sure your goals are attainable and that you believe you can attain them. Know your boundaries and stick with them in your plan. Make sure you’ve covered all aspects of your new dive shop. A business plan makes it possible to have all your goals, plans, strategies and tactics in one place.

    When you’re planning a new business you need to consider who your primary target audience will be and who your customer may be in the future. A well-constructed customer profile helps a business organize and implement marketing efforts in a more efficient manner. Ask these questions and many more:

    • Where will your dive center or resort be located?
    • What are the demographics in your area? Are you near a university, health club, military base, professional park or in a resort area? This will influence the audience your business will attract.
    • What type of dive services are in demand in the area? Which ones are already available?
    • Are you offering recreational, professional or technical scuba diving courses?
    • Will you be offering dive trips or local charters?
    • Will you have a pool onsite, work with a local pool or use another confined water site for scuba training?
    • Where will you find qualified staff and how will your business develop employees?
    • How will you communicate with your customer base? What is their preferred method of communication?
    • How will you compete in the ecommerce and social media world?
    • Who are your competitors and what will make you unique?
    • What is the local business climate and are there changes coming that could threaten the growth of your business?

    The success of your PADI Dive Center or Resort doesn’t depend on whether you have a business plan – there are many factors that affect business growth and stability. However, completing a solid business plan increases your chances of success because it makes you evaluate the idea of opening a dive shop and better guides your decisions.