More than Words – Creating a Useful Business Plan

You’ve heard it a million times: you must have a business plan to succeed. It’s a no-brainer in the world of small business. A business plan precisely defines your business, identifies your goals, and serves as your company’s resume.

But more than that, your business plan should have a way for you to track progress and to identify tactical steps to that your plan is more than just words on paper, it is actually a document that is a part of your living, breathing business.

Sure, it might seem like a boring exercise to define the business you are in. But actually, many owners have gone broke because they never answered that question. Or, they never quite knew why they should or how to develop a business plan.

Let’s start with the basics. A business plan is a tool with three basic purposes: communication, management, and planning. As a communication tool, it is used to attract investment capital, secure loans, convince workers to join and assist in attracting strategic business partners. A complete business plan shows whether or not a business has the potential to make a profit. It requires an honest look at almost every phase of business and allows you to show that you have worked out all the problems and decided on potential alternatives before actually launching your business.

As a management tool, the business plan helps you track, monitor, and evaluate your progress. The business plan is a living document that you will modify as you gain knowledge and experience. By using your business plan to establish timelines and milestones, you can track your progress and compare your projections to actual achievements.

As a planning tool, the business plan guides you through the various phases of your business. A thoughtful plan will help identify obstacles so that you can avoid them and establish alternatives. Many business owners share their business plans with their employees to cultivate a broader understanding of where the business is going.

All three of those purposes are important, but be sure to particularly remember the management and planning aspect. That ensures that you are actively involved with executing your business plan and tracking the goals you’ve set out to achieve.

In Focus: The Useful Business Plan
In order to be a truly usable tool, a business plan should be a work-in-progress. Even successful, growing businesses should maintain a current business plan. It doesn’t need to be fancy, complicated or difficult, it just needs to be clear and manageable.

Remember, your goals are to show your expertise in your business, to “sell” your business to prospective customers (such as investors and employees), and to design a management tool that works for you.

Every successful business plan should include something about each of the following areas:

1. Executive Summary

2. Market Analysis

3. Company Description

4. Organization and Management

5. Marketing and Sales Management

6. Products and Services

7. Financials

8. Appendix

A solid business plan is more than just a few paragraphs on what you want your business to be, it is a step by step plan for how to get there. Start by brainstorming and recording everything you know for each of these areas of your business. Then, identify where you need more information in order to complete the sections.

Finally, include a checklist or table at the end of each section that highlights the main components of the section and allows you to track how you’re performing in each area. Commit to reviewing the plan monthly – either on your own or with other management employees – to track your progress.

For more information on developing your business plan, visit: http://www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/plan/writeabusinessplan/index.html

Are You Using This Great Way To Get Your Business Noticed Online?

It has been said that the pen is mightier then the sword. If that is the case then why are you not using what could be the most powerful item to get noticed online?

When we started our website, we were not much different than anyone else out there. Our website went live and we worked to get all of our customers. One way we did this was work with other web sites that were similar in nature to ours and agreed to write articles for them.

These articles we wrote helped us build our customer base online and gave us the ability to get our expertise out there in written word on the world wide web.

Are you an expert in something? What does your company specialize in? Answer those two questions and start writing about them. To get noticed online give people what they want to read, information, and web site partners what they crave, content.

You should write about one article per week. If you have the time to write more that`s great, but once a week will do. Create partnerships with other websites that could use your content. For example, my friend runs a rental property repair business. He writes about an article a week on how to handle the small repairs, and other things of that nature. His content can be found on real estate investors, investment clubs, and landlord web sites and so on.

You get the point. After he writes his articles he then emails them to his contact and they do the rest. They post it on their website; even email it to their members in their newsletters.

Your article should be 500 to 100 words in length. Any shorter and it won`t be taken serious, any longer and no one will read it because it will be too long and take up too much space on your partner`s web site.

Your article should be informational. In other words it shouldn’t be 500 words on why they should use your service or buy your product, but 500 words on what you are an expert at with some statistics if possible.

Finally, after the article is complete add an “About the Author” section where you tell people who you are and how they can get in touch with you. You can see an example of this in our own article here.

Articles published on the correct web sites will greatly improve your popularity online for your business and web site. The best part it only costs you some time.

By: Bruce A. Tucker

Making Decisions for a Home Based Business

There is something special that takes place when someone makes a decision to do something in developing a home based business. I’m talking about the kind when we say to ourselves “I will until, whatever it takes” in building a home based business. There seems to be a huge difference between 99% and 100%. I’m not exactly sure why, nor if the road to an absolute decision means we stay at that 99% level for a while because that does seem to happen. Either way there is something incredible that happens at 100% to your freedom income.
We all know the story of the General who, after landing all of his soldiers on shore, burned the boats so there was no way to retreat. He told the soldiers “Win or die”. They won. That was an absolute decision. Same thing when you decide to build your home based business and have success no matter what it takes.

I have seen the difference that 1% makes in this industry many, many times. That 1% seems to be the difference between success and mediocrity quite often. It’s that 1% that fools the maker but not the universe. Sometimes we hold a little back, just in case.

Why do we do that? It’s that mindspeak that we use on ourselves that seems more comfortable. You know what I mean, the back-up plan for failure in case we can’t seem to make that monthly residual income high enough. We can fool ourselves but not the law of the universe. Fear and doubt attracts negatives. Perhaps the worst part of this is that most of the time there is no real reason for being fearful or doubtful. Our perceptions of the negatives that could happen are usually very distorted and blown out of proportion. This just seems to be part of human nature as it relates to building a home based business.

100% decisions attract the right things. For example, my friend Cameron approximately 2 years ago, near the end of July, his buddy Rick made a 100% decision; he was going to find a serious builder and go to work with that person. My friend called him the week after. There are no mistakes, things don’t just happen. Then he made an absolute decision. There is no back-up plan, I WILL until. I absolutely believe that is what you need to have to build a long term sustainable residual income in a home based business. Many people have paid their dues along the journey and continue to pay their dues. That little 1% makes all the difference in developing a residual income or what I like to call a Freedom Income. It stops us from looking back and hesitating in doubt. That 1% makes us say “Next” quite easily when someone turns us down. That 1% releases the tension and stress from negative results because they are only temporary in terms of building a home based business. There is a calmness that comes through a resolute decision because it makes the person absolutely focused and confident. Entrepreneurs make absolute decisions all the time about their home based business. Yesterday we watched a program about two people that have mortgaged their homes and invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in a business venture catering gourmet food to train commuters in Boston. That was an absolute decision. It’s also a leadership decision. Absolute, no holds barred, decisions create that peaceful residual kind in a home based business. When someone makes that kind of decision it is easy to see. They do the things that others won’t do because they have decided to win the game and achieve their goals in creating a sustainable residual income for their home based business.

I ask all of you to examine your decisions and see if you are at 99% or 100%. Don’t let that 4 letter word called “fear” hold you back from having a great life. Talk to somebody about it and be certain that there isn’t something missing from your resoluteness and purpose. That 1% makes all the difference, it attracts the right things. It creates the “Right Stuff” in the maker.

Have a great week everyone

Submitted by

Darrell Lischka