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           Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about Creating Yourself                         - George Bernard Shaw

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The Business Plan for Small Business

The Business Plan for Small Business

The Enlightened Business Plan

It doesn’t matter whether you are starting a brand-new business or have been in business for 20 years you still need a solid “Business Plan”. Come to think of it, chances are that if you have been in business for 20 years you probably need to revise your business plan and make it so that the business works for you rather than you working for it.

When people hear the word business plan they automatically think YUCK. Business plans are only for the bank so that they can get money or that it is a make work exercise in Business 101. Wrong! A good business plan is your road map to success. It is the course you set so that you and your company are on the same page and going in the same direction.

They do not have to be long, boring, books droning on. The Business Plan for Small Business today is short, sweet, concise, and motivating! It will facilitate your success and provide you with a reason for being and your true north.

Photo by Aman Upadhyay

Have you got one?

If not, why not?

Some guidelines to creating a successful Business Plan:

  • Devote quality time to create it. This is something you should schedule and not be interrupted.
  • If you have staff, have your key employees and/or partner(s) with you when you are developing your business plan.
  • Give a detailed description of the business and its goals.
  • Discuss the ownership of the business and the legal structure. For those of you that have been in business for some time, this may mean changing the structure to a more advantageous one. Just because you have done something that way for a long time does not mean that you must continue doing it that way forever.
  • List the skills and experience you and everyone who works with you, bring to the business. Sometimes you will be surprised at the under-utilized potential that you have there.
  • List the skills and knowledge that you need to learn/hire/sub-contract that will make your operation run smoother, more efficiently, and more profitably.

Photo by Emily Morter

Here are some key questions to answer.

  1. What service and/or products does your business provide? If you have been in business for a while this will give you a chance to review what you do and look at the profitability of each product or section. The old 80/20 rule comes into play. Why spend time on activities that aren’t as profitable as others. Focus on your strengths.
  2. What needs do you fill? We all have heard that the quickest way to success is to find a need and fill it, are you doing that. Or, are you just doing things that you “think” people want or need. Find out for sure. Ask you clients or prospective clients.
  3. Who are your potential customers? Where do they come from? Where do they hang out? What is the best way to reach them?
  4. Why will they buy from you? What is the benefit to them to be your client? Do you offer more, better ,lower price, easier access, or unparalleled service?
  5. How will you reach your potential clients? What do they read, listen to, play, eat, and recreate?
  6. Where will you get the financial resources to start your business? Family, friends, angels, banks, or investors?
  7. If you are already in business, how much more capital will you need to expand your business?

What are the parts of the plan?

  1. Description of the business. Who are you serving and what you are providing?

 

  1. Marketing. How will you reach your clients – what type of advertising?

 

  1. Finances. Create a balance sheet and an income statement. Or look at the one you have and see where you can improve.

 

  1. Figure out your monthly break-even plan. List all your costs, fixed and variable, add what you want to earn, and from there you will know what you need to make to “break even”.

 

  1. Set goals for the different aspects of your business.

 

  1. Management. Who is doing what? If you are a one-person show, can you do all that jobs that are necessary? A better question would be to ask, what jobs should you hire out?

 

  1. Competition. See who your competition is (even if you don’t think they, they are still making money)? What do they do that is the same as you and what do they do that is different from you? What do they charge? How do they advertise? Is it effective?

Why is the plan important?

  1. It is your roadmap to success. When things go crazy and you don’t know what to do next, you can always go back to the plan.
  2. You can take this to the bank to solicit financing – it shows that you have done your homework.
  3. You can bring it to an investor for the same reason as above.
  4. It acts as a great communication tool; it will clarify the plan to yourself and your employees.
  5. The mere act of setting goals and objectives helps you in planning, achieving and succeeding.

Now that you know what is involved at making a business plan, let’s look at how to get this done. Creating a business plan does not have to be a big job, break it down into tiny little steps and tackle one step at a time. Break your planning time up for example, step five might take an hour, how can you schedule this? Making a decision about when to schedule the time to do each step. This is huge step forward in making a decision that you don’t want to make.

If you need help with this please contact me.  Most people do best when they have a person that they are accountable too, like a coach. With a coach you get much more than what you find in the books and c.d.’s, you get supportive, honest structure, combined with practical experience.

Photo by Clark Tibbs

 

Chuck Groot’s CPA, MPA, MBA credentials as a speaker, author, teacher, business coach and entrepreneur are noteworthy. His clients credit their success to his uncanny ability to get right to the root of any challenge that they put in front of him.  He credits his success to his clients and their willingness to being open to new ideas and desire in pursuit of excellence. 

As an entrepreneur, his enthusiasm and innovative approach have garnered him both professional success and the recognition of his peers. But his greatest delight is being able to share these skills with others and enabling them to be successful on their own.

 

chuckggroot@gmail.com

 

http://www.chuckgroot.com

 

I would really like to hear what you think about this article. Drop me a line and let me know how you feel about it?

 

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