Who is the principal visa applicant?
This is the main or primary applicant. We do not include the spouse, children, or other family in the business plan.
What is a d/b/a name?
D/b/a stands for ‘doing business as’. This is an assumed, trade, or fictitious name that allows you to do business under a different name than how your business is legally registered. In most states and locales, this name must be officially registered.
Example: Let’s say you choose to establish a company that provides cooking classes. The officially registered name of the business is John Doe’s Cooking Institute. You decide you also want to offer catering but want a name that better represents these services. You may choose to register a d/b/a name of John Doe’s Catering.
Why do you need to know, ‘Is the company operating’?
This helps us be clear in the business plan to present your business accurately. It determines whether we use future or present tense.
How do I know if my business is considered operational?
Typically, your business is operating if you have registered the company and are making sales.
Which business type am I?
In many cases, a business will participate in multiple activities. For example, an online business selling a physical product will also be wholesale or retail. Please make sure to read through each description and choose all that apply in the questionnaire.
Retail – the sale of goods to the end user, typically in small quantities, for use or consumption rather than for resale.
Wholesale – the selling of goods in large quantities, typically to businesses, to be sold to consumers (retailed) by others. A wholesaler typically only participates in filling orders.
Online – Making your goods or services available for purchase via the internet.
Distribution – the action or process of supplying goods, typically a variety of goods created by others, to stores and other businesses that sell to consumers. In addition to fulfilling orders, they also typically act as a sales representative for the producer of the products they distribute.
Manufacturing – the creation or production of goods in the U.S. with the help of equipment, labor, machines, tools, etc.
Service – Delivering work, aiding in tasks, or providing expertise to benefit clients that does not involve the sale of a tangible good.
Importing – Bringing goods into the country from other countries.
Exporting – Moving goods out of the country.
What do you really need to know about my business?
We need to know how the business will be managed, how your products/services will be created or produced, and other processes that are essential to running your business and serving your clients, and of course how you will sell your product and services to clients. Review these samples for a better understanding:
Food Wholesale > View Example
Cosmetics Retail > View Example
Restaurant > View Example
Bar & Restaurant > View Example
Hedge Fund > View Example
Trucking > View Example
Who are my suppliers?
Suppliers are those who will provide you with the essential products and services you will need to produce your product(s) or service(s) on an ongoing basis. Here are a couple examples of some of the types of suppliers that are likely to be identified for various business types:
Restaurant – Sysco (food), Sam’s Club (food and supplies), Restaurant Depot (equipment)
Real Estate – Home Depot (building supplies), Property Management Inc. (property management services)
Consulting – Apple (computers), HubSpot (CRM/marketing software service provider), Switchfast (IT service provider)
Shoe Wholesaler – Prada, Nike, Reebok
Here are few real examples:
Vehicle Care Services > View Example
Furniture Wholesaler > View Example
Tobacco Retailer > View Example
How should I fill out the table?
Products/Services – What are you selling? How do you make money? In many cases this is straightforward but for some businesses it may not be. This should be a list of the most prominent/common products/services you will offer.
Unit of Measurement – Imagine you’re generating an invoice for a client. Will you charge per hour, per project, per item, per pound? That should be your unit of measure to use here. This may be different for the different product(s)/service(s) you provide.
Raw Materials Cost OR Purchase Price – For each product/service you list, tell us how much you spend specifically to buy or produce one unit (excluding the personnel costs).
Sales Price – How much will you charge your clients for one unit of your products/services?
Here are examples of how you should – and should not – fill out this section.
Don’t Do This
I have a lot of products, do you want all of them?
No. In the case of many products, we recommend you group products into categories and use the average cost and average selling price of the products in that category. See example below:
Don’t Do This
What if my business is project based?
This is a very common question. If you provide services on a per project basis and the project fee will vary, use an average price and cost of a singular project. If you have a lot of different types of projects, include the ones that are most popular and will make up the majority of your sales. Make sure to think about the future as well and include projects you plan to offer in future years.
It may also be advantageous – at least for the purpose of the business plan – to create packages to represent different likely combinations of your products/services. Please also inform us of how many projects you expect to have in one year or per month. Here are some examples:
What if I don’t know my target area yet?
While you may not know your future target areas, start by telling us where you will first offer your products/services? Are you a retail business that will only have one store in a specific city in Year 1? Do you plan to open additional stores in other cities in Year 2 and beyond? If you’re a service provider, you may want to focus on offering your services only to clients in the U.S. to start with plans to expand into other countries in future years.
What if I don't have target clients identified yet?
That’s okay that you don’t have your detailed strategy worked out yet, but who do you think are most likely to buy your products/services generally? This should be a description of whoever you instinctively believe will be most likely to buy your products. Is it people in a certain age range, gender, or with specific interests or hobbies? Are you selling to businesses? Will you sell to a specific company or certain types of companies? Anything you can tell us about your most likely customers, whether they are consumers or businesses will be very helpful.
Don’t you (Joorney) research competitors?
Although we will research and identify likely competitors as part of our market analysis, it is very helpful for us to know if you have specific competitors you have identified and want to be compared to. Providing at least one helps us better understand how you envision your business.
How do I identify my competitive advantage if I’m unsure?
You should approach this question by asking yourself what is going to make you better at running your business than other people? Besides price, why are people more likely to purchase from you? How do you intend to stand out from your competitors? Explain how you are different or unique while ideally staying away from price.
What should I include in ‘Total Capital’?
This is a vital part of the business plan and must match other documentation that will be submitted in your application. This should include all funds that have already been spent and will be spent on the business by the time you submit your application.
Do not include in this section any costs that will not be paid prior to your application. We will cover the ongoing and future expenses of the business in a later section.
Here are some examples from various industries:
Trucking > View Example
Retail > View Example
Restaurant > View Example
Restaurant (Purchased the Business) > View Example
IT Consulting > View Example
Why do you need to know ‘Source of Capital’?
Not only do we need to know how much you will spend on/invest in the business prior to your application we need to also mention where these investment funds are coming from. Please choose all that apply and list the amounts separately in the lines below this question in the questionnaire. Each type is further defined here:
Personal funds – Your personal funds or funds from individual investors
Corporate funds – Funds from a related company you already own and/or operate or funds invested by other companies (hedge funds, etc.)
Bank loan – Funds from a loan granted by a bank or similar financial institution that must be paid back in the future with interest
Do I need to put a salary as the applicant?
In most (not all) of our business plans we include a salary for the applicant because we need to show you meet the requirement that you will have the funds to support yourself and family in the US as a direct result of what you earn from the business. Apart from a fixed salary, we can also show that you will be able to support yourself based on the expected dividends you will receive from the net profit the company generates. However, these dividends must equal or exceed an average salary.
We will check – or ask you to check – with your immigration attorney to ensure we are consistent with their strategy.
What do you need here?
Please include full name, position title, description of the employee’s duties, current salary, and the way your employees are paid ensuring the information matches exactly what appears in the employment documents.
What if I don’t know my future hiring plans yet?
Imagine how you picture the growth of your company for the next 5 years and be realistic and sensible. It’s important to show at least some growth and that is difficult if you plan to do everything alone. Consider what roles or functions you would need to hand off to someone else to be able to grow, or simply which tasks you prefer the least.
What if I don't know the salary I'm going to pay my future employees?
Salaries are very important as they must be sensible for the U.S. market. If you are unsure, you can search occupations and find average US salaries here
If you have an estimate in mind or know what you’d like to pay them, include that. If it is too low, we will ask you if we can increase to the lower end of the average salary for similar positions in the same industry.
If you want us to advise on salary, please make that note in the questionnaire, do not leave the section blank
What is the difference between an employee and a contractor?
Employees are part-time or full-time workers, likely to be long-term, that are on your payroll and for which you pay payroll taxes. A contractor is an individual or company that is outside of your organization that is usually paid for a specific task or function.
What is the difference between this section and the Investment section?
In this section you should identify the costs and expenses that will be regularly incurred for you to continue to run your business after your visa is approved. This allows us to complete the financial projections and demonstrates that you have carefully thought through what it will take (financially) to run your business into the future.