2 Simple Steps Before Starting Your Business

There is so much small business information available today that it’s easy to be bogged down by the sheer volume of it all. Where does one start? Well, it’s safe to say not all the information you’ll receive will be of equal value. So it’s important to be discerning when you’re thinking about applying any suggestions to your new business. In many cases, you’ll find some suggestions don’t match your business type, management style, budget, or industry. This could lead to wasted dollars spent and time lost. So learning how to research and compile information will be key in developing a plan that is tailored to fit your business needs.

What I suggest is a methodical and basic approach to starting your business. No matter what the industry, in most cases, these two initial steps will always be the same.

  1. Take a crash course in small business. There is no better place to start then http://sba.gov. Not only will you find dozens of free tutorials on business planning and managing but you will also find important information regarding legalizing your business in respect to your location and your industry. In addition, you will find links to other leading small business sites and resources. Visit the site and remember to bookmark this page. Try to develop a schedule and visit the site on a regular basis to familiarize yourself with small business ownership and all its related issues, regulations, requirements, and rewards.
  2. Network with other small business owners. Join community websites specifically geared towards small business owners so you can find solutions to common problems such as time management and financing. It’s also the best way to build a support system while you are planning to launch your business. Some entrepreneurs give up because they feel they are going at it alone! But there are so many other people out there going through the same challenges and are more than happy to assist you.

Don’t let your confusion or the amount of information available overwhelm you into paralysis. Once you’ve gained knowledge on how to become a successful entrepreneur don’t stop there. Each day try to work more and more towards formalizing your plans. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember, you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you but these first two steps will ensure you don’t head into entrepreneurship ill-prepared.

How Entrepreneurship Training Programs Help You Excel in Your Business

Have you shunned the 9 to 5 job and ventured into a business to become your own boss? This will probably be one of the most tumultuous times you’ve ever had. There are myriads of aspects that need to keep track of, such as how to raise funding, creating the right team and ensuring your paper work is in order. Even a small slip up could result in disaster.

Why Entrepreneurship Training

Entrepreneurship comes with more baggage than you would expect. From developing a logo to selecting a financial planner, a lot requires to be grasped and executed simultaneously to succeed in commercial endeavors. The order and pattern of things could be specifically tough to comprehend if you are a novice entrepreneur. Here comes entrepreneurship training that can enable you handle the business of doing business in a better way. If you already own a business, then also entrepreneurship training can enable you get more efficient, by bridging any gaps there might be in the way you run your show.

How to Find One

Most training program packages offer many modules spanning from personal finance to business strategy.

Entrepreneurship courses and trainings are generally offered at vocational schools, business schools, and often online schools. Training can include a broad array of classes to aid the dreams of initiating and running a successful new enterprise.

What Entrepreneurship Training Program Offers

If you are planning on venturing into a new business, or are contemplating the purchase of an existing business, vocational schools could be a prudent option to gain entrepreneurship education. Studies will encompass training in business management. Students will learn the nitty-gritty of cost, benefit and competitive assessment; investment returns; legal aspects; e-commerce; marketing and sales; supply and demand; and prevalent tax laws.

To the aspiring entrepreneur, a college degree alone cannot ensure success on the world’s business stage; but right education in entrepreneurship can enable you to better comprehend the business aspects of smoothly operating a new venture, and how to capitalize on intrinsic talents and learned skills.

Who Should Opt for Entrepreneurship Training Programs

Additionally, entrepreneurship training is of essence to those who will ultimately be hiring and developing a winning team of performers. After completion of course of study, you will not only be able to effectively ascertain which candidate will be most productive for you and your business, but you will also be able to realize how to efficiently manage, finance, and launch your small business; identify new and potential business enterprises; and design strategic business plans.

Entrepreneurial Thinking – Connect With Your Higher Business Potential

When you think of a successful entrepreneur your immediately think of personality traits or values that define who they are. Richard Branson is associated with fun. Anita Roddick was an environmentalist. Steve Jobs lived by simplicity. Each one of these evokes an emotional connection with what they were good at (Richard still is).

So what is an entrepreneur? What is entrepreneurship? There are many definitions, but the one that rings true to me is that of Peter Drucker

“This defines entrepreneur and entrepreneurship – the entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”

Does this ring true with you? Do you aspire to think like an entrepreneur?

Here are five features of entrepreneurial thinking based on my work with clients who I mentor to shift their own internal barriers to move on to create incredible change. If you are a business owner and are stuck in a rut, use these strategies to break through the chains that are holding you back:

1. Have a goal and a plan – and work on it

Make sure that your goal is as specific as you can get it. If your goal is to increase your income, be specific about how much. Decide your time frame – when you want your goal to be achieved by. Create your plan to achieve your goal and get started. Don’t procrastinate. If your plan isn’t going the way you want it, don’t give up. The secret is to have a plan. The content of the plan may change, you will make corrections as you go along, but as long as you persist on a regular basis, you will reach your goal. It may be uncomfortable at first. You may feel that you’re not making progress, but after a time things will start happening very quickly to help you reach your goal. Persistence works.

2. Get over your limiting beliefs

It’s very likely that the one thing that is stopping you from achieving what you want to do is YOU. Your attitudes and behaviours are influenced by your self-belief. Stop and listen to the voice in your head. Is it negative, telling you you’re not good enough, or that you can’t afford xyz? Where is that coming from? When you face a problem, sit down and try to write down as many reasons as you can think of (and some) on one half of a sheet of paper why you can’t. Then on the other half, write down the exact opposite. Focus on why you can. It is a really good exercise for working out what in your past or childhood influenced your mind to believe the way it does. When you’ve finished – FLIP THE SWITCH. Use positive wording. When you wake up in the morning, make your first thoughts positive ones as they will influence your mood for the rest of the day.

3. Your five best friends

Jim Rohn, a well-known entrepreneur and motivational speaker said “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. Look around, who are you spending your time with? Are these people able to motivate you to achieve your goals? Can they help you on your journey? If you friends are living a mundane existence, chances are it is comfortable for you to do the same. Snap out of it. Seek out new alliances to help you get to where you want to be. Start with your goal and identify what skills and supports you’ll need. Identify five people and connect with them. One may be your mentor. One may be someone with characteristics you wish to emulate. One may be someone with the contacts and networks you need. Examine your networks. Are there new networks you can join that can open doors for you.

4. Get a mentor

As Richard Branson said, when you think about the missing link between a promising businessperson and successful one, mentoring comes to mind. On a lonely journey to discovery and success, a mentor provides a trusted arm and beacon along the way. You don’t have to be a business owner to have a mentor. You just need to have a goal and a strong desire to get there. A good mentor will guide you along the way.

5. The power of the master mind

Napoleon Hill in “Think and Grow Rich” told of the power of the master mind. Bring two or more minds together and you create “a third invisible intangible likened to a third mind (the master mind). Bring two or more people together to work on their own businesses in a mutual, trusting, tough love environment, coupled with voluntary accountability, will over time, strengthen each business. A master mind group that works well will achieve results through learning, sharing new ideas and stimulating new ideas and business models.

Put these strategies into place and watch as the world moves to make way for you and your goals.

Your Own Business – Risks Vs Rewards


Your own business – an expensive German car or even a red Italian one, holidays in the Swiss Alps, your own condo on a remote island – all potential benefits of having your own business. On the other hand you have the prophets of doom that highlights the long hours, difficult employees, economic recessions, stress and high rates of bankruptcies in business. What is the reality?

In actual fact most new entrepreneurial ventures fail within the first few years. Only a small percentage really makes good money. There are various risks in starting your own business that cannot be ignored. These risks can, however, be drastically reduced with detailed market research, proper business planning and effective management. The potential rewards, for the successful entrepreneur, make the effort more than worthwhile.

Some of the more important risks are:

Financial Risk

The personal financial investment of having your own business is generally quite high. Business failure can mean a substantial financial loss for the entrepreneur (and for other stakeholders) and it can even cause bankruptcy.

Social Risk

A business requires much input from the entrepreneur. This implies less time for family life, friendship, sport, entertainment and holidays. The potential of losing a friend and even a marriage partner is very real.

Career Risk

When an entrepreneur starts his or her own business they normally resign from their present job. If things go wrong it can be difficult or even impossible to resume a career.

Psychological Risk

People handle stress different. Good stress, called eustress, gives a person enough adrenaline to handle difficult situations in a positive way. Distress, on the other hand, can be destructive to the entrepreneur and the business. It can leads to serious burnout and depression. Distress can be caused by working too hard over extended times, too much worries about the various aspects of the business (especially if everything is not going to plan), no proper support system (e.g. from a spouse) and even the feeling that the business was a mistake and that the entrepreneur is climbing the wrong ladder.

Fortunately substantial rewards await the successful entrepreneur, including some of the following:

Financial Rewards

A successful business has the potential to make good profits and provide substantial wealth for the entrepreneur. If this wealth is handled with care it can make a big difference in the financial well-being of an entrepreneur (and his or her spouse and descendants).

Social Rewards

There is seldom a higher reward than making a positive difference to another person’s life. Entrepreneurship is already creating most of the new jobs and wealth in the world. The successful business provides jobs, pride and financial security for its employees. Personal wealth can also be used to make a difference to a family member, a friend, the community or any worthwhile cause.

Independence Rewards

Your own business provides you with the privilege to work for yourself, at your own pace, without a boss and having a sense of freedom. Financial success increases the independence potential.Growth Rewards

The whole entrepreneurial process is a personal growth process and an entrepreneur learns about failure and success, difficult people and situations and especially about themselves. Knowledge about various disciplines will also be enhanced. Successful entrepreneurs generally experience a sense of self-actualisation.


Having your own business definitely carry substantial risks. If you, however, have the right personality profile, the necessary expertise, and the will to prepare diligently and work hard the chances of entrepreneurial success improve drastically. The potential rewards then outweigh the risks by far.

Copyright© 2008 – Wim Venter

Business Is So Much Fun

There are two things to aim at in life; first, to achieve what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second. – Logan Pearsall Smith.

How can one ensure that entrepreneurship is fun and not a stressful activity? Follow Mr Richard Branson of Virgin or Vijay Mallya of Kingfisher to learn the joys of risk and enterprise.

Business can be fun, if you enjoy what you do, but easier said than done. If you can, take one of your hobbies and make it the way you make a living. Passionately loving what you do is such a joy. Working with others who share your passion for similar reasons is also vital. But beware, making your hobby into a career can be stressful at times because one tends to loose the balance when one is passionate.

Starting a new business is like giving birth to a baby. One must work hard in the initial years of business, go through the labor pains (pangs of birth or teething troubles), nurture it with sacrifice like a baby and then we can reap the rewards once the business has bloomed into a success. Until then, entrepreneurship remains a rocking stress boat. But if the focus is on learning something new every day and the passion is the driving force, one is bound to overcome the teething troubles successfully.

Nigel Clayton, Entrepreneurship Coach believes in turning entrepreneurs into Ultrapreneurs. He says, “There are many things you can do to make it fun and not a stressful activity. One thing you can do is divide the tasks you do into three categories, those you are bad at, good at, and love to do. If you don’t know the difference, become aware of how your energy is when you are doing each task.”

We need to differentiate between things we are good at and things we love to do. Things we are good at still drain us whereas things that we love to do reenergize us. When you are only doing the tasks you love to do, each day will have an element of fun and other tasks can be delegated, wherever possible. As a budding entrepreneur one is always cutting cots and one may be forced to do tasks which one does not love to do, but as we cross the break even point and have extra resources at our disposal, we can always look for people to whom we can delegate avoidable work.

Initially what one starts as a hobby, grows into a full-fledged business requiring more managerial tasks and consequently less time is left for the hobby. Often entrepreneurs complain, “I like what I do, but it has been a long time since I actually did that task on a day to day level. Now I spend my time taking care of the business and people instead of doing the original task that caused me to start the business.”

Theoretically it is good to have fun and remain stress free, but practically hard to do. When cash flow and staff’s next month salary is at stake, it’s not fun. When 10% of workforce is about to be fired, then it’s not fun. Entrepreneurship cannot be 24 x7 fun of course. One therefore needs to be mentally prepared for the good, bad and the ugly at times.Entrepreneurship can be stressful when you have survival issues, high overheads, no innovations or ideas to offer to your customers or business partners. Entrepreneurship is fun when you make money, you connect with your customers, keep developing great products/ services, empower all people around you to think and work like one towards your goals.

To conclude, if one has the right attitude and some back up to fall upon during the bad times, business can be an enjoyable process. It is also good to have a few NGO clients, if possible. Though profits may be low, but NGO clients tend to be less competitive and more positive and enjoy watching others succeed immensely.

All said and done, business can be so much fun.

Planning Your Small Business Success Journey – Six Steps to a Dynamite Action Plan

You are considering starting a small business. Most startups fail. So why should yours be any different. Any strategist will tell you that there are many factors that contribute to the success or failure of any endeavor, but the one factor that will guarantee failure is lack of a realistic detailed action plan.

Step 1: Set Realistic and Specific Goals

The key to knowing what goals are realistic and specific is experience. In an established business, past history provides the clue. In a franchise, the franchisor can help you set realistic and specific goals based upon years of experience in the industry. For an independent startup, much research is needed. Talk to other businesses in the area you are considering opening your business. Talk to other business owners in your industry. You will want to ask about customer traffic, revenues, and costs. Then set your goals in each specific area.

Step 2: Identify Activities, Resources, and Responsibilities

I know it worked for Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, but in the real world, if you build it, no one comes. You have to inform your customers about what you do and why they should patronize you. In many startups you have to lure your first customers in using couponing and special events. Identify the specific marketing and sales activities that will bring your customers in. Have a detailed list of all resources available in your area such as signage, media, and public relations. Outsource what you can. Hire when necessary. Do it yourself if you must. Have a detailed list of responsibilities for each activity and hold your contractors, your staff, and yourself accountable.

Step 3: Define Your Timetable

Your timetable is often closely related to capitalization. Industries have time-tested standards for profitability. A house painter may be profitable in 6 months, but a restaurant takes 3 years to be profitable. If you are considering investing your life savings and need to be profitable in the first month to make your mortgage, find a less expensive business to open. Chart your course carefully.

Step 4: Create Contingency Plans for Other Possible Outcomes

General George Patton once said, “Every plan is perfect until the first shot is fired.” What is your contingency if you get a different result than the one you planned for? If you run a special expecting 20 sales of a particular item, what is your plan if you sell 10? What if 30 people want the special? Always have a plan to liquidate excess with minimal or no loss, or to get more product quickly if needed. If you have done your marketing correctly, people will show up wanting to do business with you. Don’t disappoint them. If there is a piece of equipment that is critical to your business such as a brewer in a coffee shop, know where you backup is. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have another in the cabinet, but have a relationship with your repair service so you can rent one within the hour.

Step 5: Merge your Plan of Action with your Timetable

Every plan must be linked to a realistic and specific timetable. In step 4, you set a timetable to reach the overall objective you identified in step 1. Now, set specific milestones linked to the activities you identified in step 2. These can be graphed with project management software, or a simple outline will do. Just make sure you have identified which tasks need to be identified first before others can be started. Think these through carefully. Building from the bottom up makes sense, but don’t lay your carpet before your roof is finished.

Step 6: Delegate, Supervise, and Evaluate

Launching a startup is a daunting task. Often first time entrepreneurs take on too much themselves and burn out. Then they look for someone they can turn the reigns over to while they focus on what they enjoy most. This is called management by abdication and usually ends in disaster. To implement the plan, the entrepreneur needs to focus on delegation, supervision, and evaluation. This gets the job done faster without burning out the owner.

Entrepreneurship is hard work and high risk. So why do so many try it? Because there is nothing quite as rewarding as building a business that can run without you and provide you with financial security for a lifetime. It may seem the odds are stacked against the first time entrepreneur, but a good detailed action plan goes a long way to level the playing field.

How to Write a Small Business Plan

The first thing to do when starting a small business is to write a plan for your business, it is very essential and useful if you really want to focus yourself and get a whole picture of what you have to do in order to build your enterprise. A business plan is the road map for the success of your business

What do you have to offer?

What are your products or what are your intended products? What are your products or services? What kind of income will these activities be generating or what is the expected range of income once the products are launched? Give answers to these questions giving a complete picture of the principal activity that you are engaged in or will be engaged in during the timeline of your business plan.

Where are you located?

Do you work from home or do you have a business premises? If you have a business location such as a store or factory, then explain about the size and capacity of this establishment. What is the business climate like in your area? Are there significant competitors and what are your prospects or advantages of competing in this market? Find answers to all these questions as best you can and give yourself and would-be investors a clear picture of where your business is situated geographically and with relation to your overall market.

How to make it happen?

Your sales and marketing research or plan should be outlined in this section. Explain how you intend to establish your product or service and what steps you will take to create or expand your customer base. How will you fund the start-up cost and the expansion of your business? Explain the source of your funds whether you have existing loans, your savings, borrowing from friends or liabilities. How much money do you need to raise in order to get realize your entire plan for the launching or expansion of your business? Explain how you are going to put your business idea into practice.

Having a good business plan is your key to success. A well-thought-out business plan forces you to think about the future and the challenges you will be facing. As long as your forecasts are realistic and you have done plenty of market research you will definitely come out with a good result. Go ahead with your plan and stick to it.

To your success!

3 Indispensable Things to Know When Starting a Business

I’ve been speaking to people, and I don’t know if it’s because we’re in the first quarter of a new year or if there’s more confidence in the economy, but I’ve realized that many more people are looking to start their own businesses. As a business owner and social entrepreneur, I think that’s a great thing.

I’m often asked about my thoughts about starting a new venture, and candidly, I love the adrenaline rush, vision driving and strategy development of a new business opportunity. If you’ve been thinking about beginning a new company, there’s no time like the present to start to get yourself into the entrepreneurial mindset to consider if it makes sense for you.

If I were speaking to someone right now starting off as a new business owner for the first time, there are three essential things I would suggest they keep in mind:

  • Do You Really Want to Be an Entrepreneur?

The first question is the toughest, but you’ve got to sit with it for a while. I’ve spoken to many people along the way who have started a business, and then have fallen flat on their face and returned to the safe embrace of a 9 to 5 job. Being a business owner is not as “glamorous” as it may appear.

Sure, you’ll have a flexible schedule (on occasion) and are the final decision maker on large and small decisions, but being an entrepreneur is not for everyone. The truth is you will never work as hard as you do than when you’re a business owner, particularly in the early years. Twelve hour plus days, including weekends, is not uncommon.

Being a business owner means it’s all on you. You may have other people working with you. You may be one of those leaders who allows his team of professionals to be the professionals they are, but as an entrepreneur, your responsibility is to understand every area of your business: sales, marketing, legal, finance and accounting, administrative, marketing, research and development, product development, etc. It takes a great deal of time to know all areas of your business and make sure they are working correctly. It’s an endless process.

  • Do You Really Want to go into Business with Your Friends and Family?

Many times, particularly with small businesses, you’ll have friends or family members decide to go into business together. It makes sense to want to go into business with people you know and trust, but do you want to do that? If there is anything that comes up your relationships can be affected.

A great scenario is this one: you’re working 12 hour days and doing great in your areas of responsibility. Your business partner, and good buddy, perhaps is not as hard working and as disciplined as you are and so resentment begins to build. That’s a recipe for conflict and the likelihood that your business will survive with internal friction exponentially decreases with the increase in tension.

Another possibility is that you don’t go into business with any friend or family as your partner, but perhaps you decide to hire that same good buddy to be one of your first employees because you trust him. Again, what happens if he’s not putting in the hours or work that you think is essential for business success? There have been countless examples of business owners who partnered or hired friends or family only to be in a situation where the business has suffered (as well as the relationship) because of anything from work styles to fraud. It’s very tough to separate your business from your relationships without potentially ruining them.

  • Decide if You’re the Cupcake Baker or the Business Owner

Many people have a passion for something in their lives, and that’s great. Perhaps they love making cupcakes, or they love music and want to sell instruments. Whatever is your passion or interest, if you have one, you will not be only doing that work. As the business owner, the most crucial part of your business is a vision, sales, etc. and the path the company as laid out in your business plan.

If you love painting and you decide to open up a paint shop, you will not be spending your day painting. You will spend your day selling paint, dealing with customers and managing the books. Same goes for cupcakes or even widgets. The business owner that wants to grow his or her company is not going to be baking cupcakes exclusively but also running the business.

If you’re looking to grow, you’ve got to focus on the total “business.” As a business owner, the cupcake making, painting, music or widget making will be only one element, but it’s certainly not the “business.” The business is the promotion of your product, the price point, finances, customers, cash register, accounts receivables and payables, and payroll, etc.

In conclusion, don’t get me wrong. For me, I wouldn’t change anything in the world for my life as an entrepreneur. I love being a business owner and digging into all elements of my companies and brands. It’s invigorating, exciting and no day is the same. Any business owner will tell you, however, that the points mentioned earlier are essential for seeing if the entrepreneurial path is genuinely what you want.

Business Plans – Your Roadway To Success

Experts say that a strong business plan is one sure step in the direction of success. So, what is a business plan in the first place? It is defined as a document that outlines the functional and financial objectives of a business. It also contains details of the budget involved and the goals to be achieved.

Everything on earth is tending to become compact. Gone are those days when a sea beach was described in a thousand words. Today, a similar description is possible with a powerful visual and a string of strong adjectives in only a few words. A mobile phone today is slightly bigger than your thumb. Similarly, a business plan is no longer a document of a hundred pages. Nobody wants to know your business. They want to know your views, your goals, your objectives and your plan of action.

How Well Can A Business Plan Be Implemented?

o Simplicity of a business plan – is it understood by one and all? Are its views and objectives clear?

o Specificity of a business plan – are the contents measurable? Are all the activities dated (initiation to completion)? Are all the actions distributed among personnel clearly?

o Real nature of a business plan – are the objectives and targets real? Are the goals set within a specified time achievable?

o Totality of a business plan – is the plan complete? Does it have all the necessary elements to outline your business goals?

A business plan has multiple uses. It can be used to start a new business enterprise, take a loan or to find good investors. There are many other reasons for which you need a business plan. You should first find out why you need a business plan.

Why Do You Need A Business Plan?

o Outline objectives and set goals to achieve them

o Prepare regular business review outlines

o Start a new business enterprise

o Decide on a value on a business for sale and legal issues

o Outline agreements between business partners

If business plans are conceived for different purposes, there must be different business plans for different kinds of ventures. Business plans are also known as growth plans, internal plans, investment plans and so on and so forth.

If your business plan is for internal study and revision, there is no need of background details of your organization because you are already aware of them. You need to add that only if your business plans are meant for banks and other institutions.

What Are The Different Types Of Business Plans?

– The most basic of business plans are the start-up plans that clearly outline the steps for a new business venture. They include details of service provided or product offered, market value of the same, implementation strategies, market and financial analysis. The basic structure consists of a summary of the company, ending with details of financial transactions and expectations for the first year.

– An operational business plan contains details of dates, deadlines and milestones. It is often referred to as an internal business plan.

– A strategic business plan aims at higher levels of target and does not deal much with dates and deadlines. This business plan is more of future and growth oriented and focuses less on facts of the company.

– A growth or expansion business plan focuses more on one or more subset of the business. There are variations of this kind of business plan. If it is meant for a new investment, it will obviously include the background of the company.

– A feasibility business plan is your entire business in bulleted form. It includes the summary, the mission and the vision of the company, the USP of the business enterprise, expected financial outcomes etc. The main purpose of this business plan is to test whether this business is worth a venture at all.

The Seven Points Of Business Plans

Business plans usually cover the following 7 points. Of course, they will vary in detail, depending on the purpose of the business plan.

– Mission Statement – your business plan must explain clearly why you want to start a particular kind of business in the first place. It doesn’t have to be long, but it needs to convey the message clearly.

– Business Description – this is the place where you talk about your business. What is it that you are trying to sell or provide? What is the USP of your business?

– Goals in view – here, you describe both your short term and long term goals. Short term goals may include your plan to acquire office space, provide a proper business name, apply for a business license etc. Long term goals include answers to where you see your business ten years down the line, opening new stores etc.

– Prospective Customers – who is your target audience? Why will they need your service or product? How well do you understand their needs?

– Competition Analysis – this helps you rank your business venture in the market. Who are your competitors? If their focus area is too competitive, try for a niche market that is comparatively less competitive.

– Financial Considerations – be realistic and optimistic about your finances. Make sure to spend only that much with which you are sure to receive returns. Or else, go in for a small business loan till your business can take care of its own expenses.

– Marketing – sell your ideas before you sell your products. Advertise your products everywhere you can think of. Don’t miss out on both offline and online publicity. If you get a chance, exhibit your product or service at local communities and organizations.

Do’s And Don’ts Of Business Plans

Your business plan should:

a) Set concrete goals and deadlines

b) Distribute work among people and departments and set deadlines to achieve the goals

c) Maintain a steady ratio of implementation to strategy to 10:1

d) Provide a platform for regular review and discussion

Your business plan should not:

a) Display your knowledge about your field of expertise

b) Be too lengthy – people lose interest easily

Not all businessmen and women are good planners. It has often been seen that a business fails because of the lack of a good business plan. That is one of the cardinal mistakes for an entrepreneur.

Business Plan Mistakes

Experts have identified some common mistakes regarding business plans. They are:

– No business plan – many business ventures begin without any plan. Plans are written out in a rush only if the clients or banks or investors ask for the same. It is often seen as unnecessary because the business is more important. Imagine the condition of a house without a plan. You will get lost midway in heaps of concrete and steel. Similarly, you will get lost in ideas and desire to implement them.

– Cash is more important than profits – business is not the same as profits. Cash is the main player. Only if you have cash to spend in the beginning, will you get profits at the end of the day.

– Ideas don’t sell – your business sells because of hard work, perseverance, cash and a lot of common sense. Your idea does not have to brand new. Old wine is better than new ones. Why? People trust age and experience.

– Fear factor – a business plan is as necessary and as routine as making a travel plan. You don’t need to be Einstein to chalk out a business plan. You just need to think straight and pen your thoughts.

– Specificity wins – focus on tangible results, instead of trying to be the best. Results matter and they tell you everything.

– Fit all business plans – your business plan should work for bankers and investors as well as internal review and corrections. Don’t make individual business plans for individual purposes. Rather, concentrate on your business.

– Everything cannot be important – you can have only a few priorities. 20 priorities are vague and they clearly show lack of strategy and of goals.

A business plan is the first step of starting a business. It is neither easy nor difficult. What is a business plan about? How do you implement a business plan? What do you include in a business plan? What are the ‘must have’s’ and ‘have not’s’ of business plans?

Whether it is travel, study, cooking or any other activity involving a process, planning is usually the first step. The same holds true for business. Business plans are probably more important than the business itself. For example, the plan for a house is more important than the house itself, though it is the house that people remember and not the plan. But the house wouldn’t stand without the plan, would it?

Business Process Improvement – The Implementation Plan

After you change a business process, how do you introduce it to your organization? Who needs to know about the change? What do they need to know? How do you communicate the change to the appropriate parties and train the affected employees?

Before you begin your BPI work, you should develop a project plan that includes an implementation phase. This section of the project plan focuses on the changes that have to occur in order for the new process to work; the testing required to make sure it works; the communication strategy that outlines who needs to know what, when; and the training plan that identifies how to train affected employees.

The implementation phase of the project plan can include sub-phases called “tracks.” For example, the implementation phase can have these four tracks:

  1. Change management track: This track includes creating an impact analysis to ensure that you include the right colleagues in making the appropriate changes to the business process. As you work to improve a process, you identify changes that must occur in the organization to obtain the degree of improvement you expect. The impact analysis is a tool used to capture the changes that have to occur to ensure success.
  2. Testing track: The steps in this track confirm that the process and tools work as expected.
  3. Communication track: This track identifies the audience you have to notify of the change (the who), and the following information for each defined audience: what they need to know, when they need to know it, how you will communicate (the audience’s preferred communication vehicle), and when they need to know about the change.
  4. Training track: This track is similar to the communication track but focuses on the training requirements: who needs training, what they require training on, where you will conduct the training, when you will conduct the training, and what method you will use to deliver the training.

Implementing the business process is the ninth step to improving the effectiveness, efficiency, and adaptability of your business.

Copyright 2010 Susan Page

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