Business Planning Overview
The successful entrepreneur is generally more inclined, once a business idea is selected, to sharpen the concept by a detailed planning process. The result of this step is a comprehensive business plan, with its major components being the marketing "mix," the strategic plan, operational and logistical structures, and the financial proposal. The purpose of the business plan is to recognize and define a business opportunity, describe how that opportunity will be seized by the management team, and to demonstrate that the business is feasible and worth the effort.
The business plan is the "blueprint" for the implementation process. It focuses on the four major sub-plans: marketing; strategy; operational/logistic; and financial. While the business plan often goes through some revision, it generally represents a rather advanced stage in the planning process. The primary product or service to be offered, based on the results of the market research, should be determined. Whether the business will be a start-up, purchase of an existing business or a franchise should certainly be firm at this point. Often, a specific business location is indicated, or at least a rather specific area.
Time estimates in a business plan should allow for meeting all the necessary regulatory requirements and acquisition of permits to get to a "customer-ready" condition. The amount of funding required and a general approach to raising these funds should be determined. Marketing mix issues focus on how the product or service is differentiated from the competition.
A business can differentiate itself on any of what are often referred to as the "four P's" of marketing: product characteristics, price structure, place or method of distribution, and/or promotional strategy.
Strategic issues relate broadly to the company's mission and goals. Every venture must continually assess its strengths and weaknesses, the opportunities to be seized, and any threats to the success and plans of the business. Operational issues relate to company structure, and the scope of the business. The operational plan addresses tangible items such as location, equipment, and methods of distribution. Decisions on these issues largely determine startup costs.
The financial proposal includes an estimate of the amount of money needed to start the venture, to absorb losses during the start-up period, and to provide sufficient working capital to avoid cash shortages. It projects sales and profitability over some period into the future, generally 3 to 5 years. Where outside funding is sought, it also describes distribution of ownership of the venture and methods of debt repayment and/or buyback of partial ownership.
Where implementation of the plan requires participation of lenders and/or investors, the plan must clearly and convincingly communicate the financial proposal to the prospective stakeholders: how much you need from them, what kind of return they can expect, and how they can be paid back.
Many entrepreneurs insist that their business concept is so clear in their heads that the written plan can be produced after start-up; this attitude "short-circuits" one of the major benefits of producing the plan. The discipline of writing a plan forces us to think through the steps we must take to get the business started, and, to "flesh out ideas, to look for weak spots and vulnerabilities," according to business consultant Eric Siegel.
A well-conceived business plan can serve as a management tool to settle major policy issues, identify "keys to success," establish goals and check-points, and consider long-term prospects. The plan must realistically assess the skills required for success of the venture, initially and over the long run, and match the skills and interests of the team to these requirements. Test the plan, and an accompanying oral presentation, on friends whose business judgment you value. Let them assume the role of a prospective investor or lender.
John B. Vinturella, Ph.D. has almost 40 years experience as a management and strategic consultant, entrepreneur, author, and college professor. For 20 of those years, Dr. Vinturella was owner/president of a distribution company that he founded. He is a principal in business opportunity sites jbv.com and muddledconcept.com, and maintains business and political blogs.
Entrepreneurial Traits that Drive Sales
Frequently overlooked and hidden deep within our marketing tool box is the ultimate marketing vehicle for your business ? you! Many small business owners are so busy figuring out how to increase sales and revenue they forget to grow themselves as business owners. If you aren't evolving yourself, aren't you being counterproductive to your business development? Marketing our businesses isn't just about what ads to buy or what networking event to go to next; it's about us as people, as entrepreneurs. The following marketing traits are often overlooked by entrepreneurs but are pivotal to your long-term success. What's more, they cost very little yet earn a savvy entrepreneur a lot. Show Your Personality -- Customers want to know who you are. That's great that you offer the fastest tax services in town, or your gift baskets can be custom-made and delivered anywhere in 24 hours. But who are you? Your customers and prospects want to know. Especially if you're facilitating business on the Internet, building trust is key to making a prospect feel comfortable buying from you. One of the most effective ways to build trust is to express your personality.
Prescription for the Future and Technological Revolutions
The world sure has changed in the last two-decades hasn't it? When I started out in business, there were no cell phones, fax machines, computers, etc. And I am not that old, having just retired at age 40. Indeed, in the better part of two-decades everything changed. And it is still changing and moving along. What will the next two-decades bring? You can probably figure it out with a little thought and watching the trends, new discoveries and think of what kinds of things the military, health care, entertainment and government industries will want. I recommend this book which foretold much of what we see now about a decade before we had it:
The Reluctant Entrepreneur
It seems odd to think of a person opening a shop, knowing that they're not at all interested in selling or in face-to-face interaction with customers. But that's exactly what many Internet business owners have done. And they've done it well.
Compensating for Your Entrepreneurial Style-or Lack of Style
I recently took an entrepreneurial quiz which evaluated my answers and informed me I would do best as a hired hand! So why am I a successful home business owner? Because I've learned to fill the holes in my entrepreneurial style, and compensate for my deficiencies.
Entrepreneurial Emotions or It Seemed Like a Great Idea at the Time
It's your first business or the next Great Idea in your ongoing business, online or offline, it doesn't matter. The roller coaster ride is a theme and variations on the same experiences. First the exhilaration -- THIS idea, or THIS business is THE one. It'll put you on the map with lots of money in your bank account. It can't fail. It's just too good. Have you said this? More than once? I have, and several times during my life, with numerous businesses and varying levels of success.
How Much Risk is Necessary to Grow Your Business?
A business owner is thoroughly responsible for their own financial survival and possibly the financial survival of their employees. Business owners, for the most part, seem to be "risk takers", who really don't easily "go with the flow". They are inventive and somewhat confident, as just having their own business does mandate that they possess these qualities.
Entrepreneurs Ask: As a Novice Entrepreneur, How Can I Feel Less Overwhelmed?
Great question! Overwhelm is very common even among the most veteran entrepreneurs, so take solace in the fact that you are not alone. With the ever-increasing numbers of new entrepreneurial endeavors, and therefore new entrepreneurs, there are many who are experiencing the very same feelings as you.
Great Tips Of Choosing An Office
You have decided to strike it out on your own and set up a business consultancy. Chances are you want to look at getting your own office premises. Besides ensuring that your rental payment does not create serious cash-flow problems in the medium term, you have to look out for these other factors:
Chairman Greenspan and the FED, learn more you will be glad you did
So many people work their whole life to make money, but they know so little about out monetary system. They know so little about the Federal Reserve Bank and so very little about the brilliant minds, which make it all work. To get a better insight to the behind the scenes strategic planning and the intense thought which goes into making it all work I recommend you read a few books on the subject. Let's start on an easy one for your on-going education as an Entrepreneur; I recommend you first read:
From Bank Clerk to Entreprenuer
What seems like a century ago, I left school and joined a well-known High Street Bank. In those days working as a bank clerk was a well-established route for many school leavers and perceived to be a proper job with prospects. It wasn't long before I became disillusioned with the world of banking and sought a change of job. In complete contrast to my previous job, I became a clerk in the local hospital dealing with the injured and infirm, but it was a role that I found strangely interesting and rewarding. In today's parlance, it is known as job satisfaction.
Franchisor Sample Grand Opening Launch for New Franchised Outlets
It is paramount that all franchising companies work hard in the critical launching of all franchises in their new territories. In this present period most franchisees come into the franchise systems with much personal debt and barely squeak by on their initial capital needed. One major error or mistake and the franchisee will fail due to under capitalization. Below it a sample outline and message to new franchisees; I recommend that you take a look at this and develop a policy and plan to help your new franchisees in the beginning gain ground on their new markets. You should copy this article and make notes on it and then take the outline below modify it to fit your business model and write several paragraphs for each number and lettered item to cement your new franchised outlet marketing plan. While reading this policy and outline below realize that it was written for a mobile car wash business and your plan will be significantly different but this will help you in making a first class strategy to win market share for your newest team members.
Oil Change Guys History; Part III
Studying the history of franchise companies is interesting is watching all the ways they grew and all the partnerships, vendors and mergers along the way. It is a myriad of deals and team building, which makes it all possible. Continuing Part III of the saga:
Message to Prospective Franchisees for Franchisors
Many franchise companies fail to send the proper message to their prospective franchisees. This is partly due to the over regulation and intensity of litigation in the industry. Smaller franchisors are generally hurt the most from these factors and consumer or buyers of their American Dream seem to feel slighted at a the impersonal approach. Many franchise company's sales departments walk a fine line between disclosure laws and the information they are allowed to depart to the prospect franchisees. This immediately causes friction. To alleviate this problem smaller franchisees need to send a more personal message in the name of their founder to re-assure prospects that they care. Below is a sample letter our company, The Car Wash Guys, www.carwashguys.com , has used to allow our prospects to see thru the legal quagmire created by the regulatory bureaucracy and the franchise lawyers in their haste to sue franchisors. I recommend you copy this article read the letter a few times and put it into your own words so that you convey how you truly feel, make it sincere and understand that your prospect needs to know they are more than just a number.
Profile of Women Leaders
Leadership is based on two words, "pressure and support"and that the leadership is the power to influence people to move in a direction that you believe in your heart is a good direction for most people" (Fennell, 1999, p. 267). Adams and Yoder noted that "evidence from contemporary studies on sex-roles and leadership indicates that men and women, with similar education, career aspirations and training, have basically identical scores on measures of psychological masculinity and femininity." In other words, the traits we assume are important in good leadership can be found among people of both genders.
What Makes a Person an Entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship is generally characterized by some type of innovation, a significant investment, and a strategy that values expansion. The entrepreneur is often quite different in mindset from a manager, who is generally charged with using existing resources to make an existing business run well. The roles of entrepreneur and manager are not necessarily incompatible, but entrepreneurs are seldom patient enough to be good managers.
Empathy - Not Business Plans - Key to Your Home Based Business Success - Do You Have Empathy?
EMPATHY is a Natural Talent, you were born with it and you will never loose it. It can be a blessing or a curse in a home based business. If you develop it, it can make you a Millionaire. Mary Kay, of Mary Kay cosmetics, did just that. If you have it, it is your most important key to a successful home based business. Business plans, cash flow projections, marketing analysis, etc. are skills that are needed in a home based business, but they can be learned from a workshops, courses or books. Your Natural Talent is what gives you the competitive edge.
Developing A Contract
As a service provider, the most important type of "boundary" you can set as a business owner involves those policies and procedures that govern how you interact with your clients. The more precise you can be about the services you provide, your fee structure, and what you expect from your clients, the smoother your work relationships will be. And the most effective way to make sure that each party involved understands these policies -- and that there is no confusion -- is to have each client read and sign a written contract.
Six Steps to Guarantee Your Business Success
Many of us slave away for years for one uninspiring company after another and dream of the day when we can sack the boss and go it alone.
Oil Change Guys History; Part I
How do franchise companies come to be? How do they start. What type of a person or entrepreneur becomes a franchisor? Below is the story of how one small company became a franchisor in the mobile oil change business. The story is written from our point of view and opinion. We claim freedom of speech, of the press in its entirety since a good part of it is opinion based.
Entrepreneurship Story; Over Regulation in Franchising Part I
Jim and Sally run a successful auto business, which they have built up over two decades and have expanded to three stores and many of their friends keep saying, "You should Franchise." They think about this for about five years read a few books, like "Franchising for Dummies," The "E-Myth", "The Franchising Bible" and many others on the shelves of the new big book store in town with the coffee shop inside. They finally decide that it makes sense especially as they have friends and loyal employees who wish to be associated with them and even own the first franchises. So they set out to franchise. They visit an attorney since that says in all the books to do. Most books about franchising are, at least in part if not whole, written by S2D2s (lawyers: S2P2s; Self-Serving Parasites of Planet) anyway, so they take that advice and visit an attorney. The S2D2 explains the MUD and helps by charging them a good chunk of change; $35,000 to prepare a boilerplate document which is so complicated they could not do it on their own without years of study. They give the S2D2 (scoundrel) the money and they look at the document and start asking questions. They do not ask him about the price gouging laws that their state has after all the flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ivan, although they feel severally violated in the outrageous costs to prepare the documents. After all there is some new shop equipment they need to test cars to stay in compliance with the latest smog certificates and they are not cheap either. So they ask some typical questions instead of why they had to pay so much.
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