Business Plan Development Services Guarantee Success

For small business owners experiencing the obstacles encountered by newly developed and struggling small businesses, it is important to recognize the advantageous nature of business plan development. For a business to be successful and profitable, the owners and the managing directors must have a clear understanding of the firm’s customers, strengths and competition. They must also have the foresight to plan for future expansion.

Whether yours is a new business or an existing business in the process of expanding, money is often an issue. Taking time to create an extensive business plan provides you with insight into your business This document can serve as a powerful financing proposal.Developing a well thought business plan is an essential management tool. It identifies potential challenges and provides success strategies. It is critical for planning or operating a for-profit or nonprofit business as well as seeking investors, loans, real estate, or partnerships. Business plans can fulfill a variety of roles:

– The process of putting a business plan together forces the person preparing the plan to look at the business in an objective and critical manner.

– It helps the entrepreneur with starting a business to consider all options.

– It helps to focus ideas and serves as a feasibility study of the business’s chances for success and growth.

– It may show the business is not viable and help realize the idea is flawed.

– It is a strategic planning tool that can be shared with the investors, bankers or other funders, partners, and business development professionals.

– It is a strong communication tool for your business It defines your purpose, your competition, your management and personnel. The process of constructing a business plan can be a strong reality check.

However, the process of writing a business plan can sometimes be a painstaking experience. A business plan is very specific to each particular business However, while each business needs a unique plan, the basic elements are the same in all business plans. To complete an effective business plan you must dedicate time to complete the plan. Essential components include:- Executive Summary

– Company Summary

– Products or Services

– Market Analysis

– Strategy and Implementation Summary

– Management Summary

– Financial Plan including Pro Forma Profit and Loss, Cash Flow, and Balance SheetsRealizing that many small business owners are frustrated and overwhelmed by the process, business consultants have created business plan services that are aimed at making the creation of business plans as simple and effortless as possible.

Business development experts consult with entrepreneurs throughout the planning process, offering a variety of tools and resources to ensure the plan will be successful in achieving its goal.A quality finished product incorporates all necessary elements, including financial forecasts, marketing strategies, color charts and graphs, and is created in the Small Business Administration’s preferred format. Whether you’re seeking a business plan to attract investors, get a loan, or simply determine whether your idea is viable, an adequate planning process will focus your thinking and provide an objective and critical view of your business Realizing the vital role small businesses play in our nation’s economy, business consultants offering small business planning and development services are bridging the gap between a person’s dream of being a business owner, and the reality of opening their doors.

The Road to Success in Home Business: Passion, Commitment, Self-Discipline, and a Good Plan

Starting a home business is an adventure, full of exciting twists and turns – and challenging detours, too. It can take you to places you never dreamed. It can make your dreams come true. Running your own home business can teach you things about yourself you may never learn while working for others – how creative and resourceful you are, how much you would like to make a difference in the world. If you do the research and take time to learn the essentials, a home business can enrich your life in many wonderful and sometimes surprising ways. All it takes is a marketable product or service, boundless enthusiasm, enduring commitment, and a good solid plan of action. It also helps to have a big vision for your small home-based business. And let’s not forget self-discipline – one of the most common reasons a home business fails is a lack of self-discipline. It’s not easy operating a demanding business steps away from the hub of family activity and countless distractions.

Home Business Ideas: Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Preeminent business philosopher, Peter F. Drucker wrote, “Entrepreneurs innovate. Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. It is the act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth. Innovation, indeed, creates a resource. There is no such thing as a “resource” until man finds a use for something in nature and thus endows it with economic value.” At another point in the narrative about innovation Mr. Drucker states that “There is no greater resource in an economy than purchasing power. But purchasing power is the creation of the innovating entrepreneur.” Focus your vision on opportunity. Check out the demographics and come up with something new – social or technical – or re-invent something old. It’s all about innovation, a new take on a traditional service, a brand new product that makes life easier, a specialty service that appeals to a small but growing niche market.

The number of home-based businesses is growing by leaps and bounds every year. The entrepreneurial spirit runs deep, just look to the phenomenal success of eBay. Many people derive great personal satisfaction from working at home. After all home is our sanctuary, we feel safe in our homes and free to be ourselves. We are more creative when we are comfortable. The Internet and computers have made it possible for us to build wealth sitting at home in our pajamas or dressed to the nines, it’s our choice when we work from home. Whether we work from a fancy fully equipped home office or a cubbyhole in the kitchen pantry, a home business can be anything we want it to be. And like traditional business, there is no magic ‘get rich quick’ scheme. There is only dedication. Perseverance and persistence are key requirements on the road to success. The winning results are always worth the extra effort you put into your home business.

There are hundreds of great ideas for home businesses. Brainstorm your idea with friends and associates, people whose advice you respect. Utilize your existing talents and skills and acquire the education you need to be expert. If you love cooking take gourmet cooking courses -perhaps there’s a market for home delivery of gourmet food in your area. Learn about your competition, can you compete with them on the same level, or carve out your own specialized niche in the catering business. Love animals and have a country property with acreage? Dog parks and doggy camps, dog and cat daycare, and overnight pet boarding is a booming business. Are you fit and like working out? If you have the space and either already have or can invest in some exercise equipment, open an exclusive home gym. Become a Personal Trainer. Bookkeeping, Freelance Writer, Seamstress, Internet Marketer, the list of home business ideas is almost endless. A home business should ideally be built around a product or service you know well. You will be successful if you expect success, and know your product or service inside out. Believe there is a need for your product or service, and believe in yourself.

Marketing: How to Win Customers and Keep Them Coming Back

Dr. Michael LeBoeuf, author of numerous books, including ‘How to Win Customers and Keep Them for Life’ and ‘Working Smart’ wrote, “There is absolutely no substitute for an honest, unshakeable, enthusiastic belief that the products and services you offer are the best available anywhere. Couple that with a sincere passion for helping people and you have an unbeatable combination for creating and keeping customers. People are persuaded more by attitude than logic for two basic reasons that you should always keep in mind as you deal with customers or with people in general, people are ruled by their emotions and emotions are contagious. In the final analysis, persuasion (winning customers) isn’t converting people to your way of thinking. It’s converting people to your way of feeling and believing.”

It’s not enough to be excited about your business. Knowing how to generate enthusiasm in others for your product or service is the key component to being successful in any business. You have to find a market. That means developing an effective marketing strategy. There is a wealth of free information readily available on the Internet and in the library. Marketing geniuses like Brian Tracy, Jay Abraham, Dan Kennedy, and other popular ‘gurus’ have websites rich with wisdom and inspiration. Seek out books, magazines, and attend seminars about marketing. It’s amazing how many sources of expert guidance you will find – all brimful of how-to information from people who have traveled the same road and established successful home-based businesses. Talk to business people in your community – whether they are home-based, a retail store, real estate professional, or other small business, their feedback will be invaluable to you. Effective marketing is prerequisite to selling everything, including your credibility. Making the commitment to educate yourself is essential to your long-term success. Learning from the experts gives you a good head start, and helps you avoid some of the inevitable potholes you’ll encounter along the way.

Recommended Reading

For timeless business advice these step-by-step how-to guides, time management, and motivational tools, are excellent resources. Here’s to your success!

  • The Perfect Business by Dr. Michael LeBoeuf
  • The Millionaire in You by Dr. Michael LeBoeuf
  • How to Win Customers and Keep Them for Life by Dr. Michael LeBoeuf
  • Working Smart by Dr. Michael LeBoeuf
  • Making Time Work for You by Harold L. Taylor
  • Homemade Business “A Woman’s Step-By-Step Guide to Earning Money at Home” by Donna Partow
  • The Ultimate No B.S., No Holds Arred, Kick Butt, Take No Prisoners, and Make Tons of Money Business Success Book by Dan Kennedy
  • Six Thinking Hats by Edward De Bono
  • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  • Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude by Napoleon Hill with W. Clement Stone
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship by Peter F. Drucker
  • The Psychology of Winning by Denis Waitley
  • How to Prepare a Financial Plan for a Hotel

    Isn’t your childhood dream to own a high-rise building with an elegant interior and one of the city’s best hotels? What would be the next step if you suddenly decided to open a hotel? The next step is to make a financial plan. It’s like a blueprint for the hotel’s day-to-day operations and activities. Entrepreneurs are submerged in troubled waters at this point.

    Many entrepreneurs face a dilemma in the planning stage of their businesses, whether they are new to the industry or have been in it for a long time. One of the most common problems they experience is with their finances. When you don’t know how to plan for business finances, who wouldn’t get grumpy?

    Your hotel budget should be as clear as a crystal to you. It will assist you in developing a feasible plan or strategy for allocating budget to key areas that can generate profit.

    Here are some tips on how you can prepare a Financial Plan for a hotel:

    1. Determine the type of hotel you want to open.

    This is critical because it will serve as a guide and a starting point for understanding your target market. It’s important to remember that different types of hotels require different budgets.

    2. Make a list of all the factors that could affect a hotel’s profit generation and all the accommodation units, services, and amenities that you have.

    All the factors that may affect the hotel’s finances must be considered, and all the hotel’s offerings and services must be acknowledged. You will have a better idea of what you can offer your customers this way.

    3. Make a budget for the hotel’s expenses.

    Even if you are still in the planning and development stages, you must anticipate or estimate how you will allocate the budget for all the services, accommodations, and amenities you will provide. This will assist you in gaining insight and determining whether it is necessary for the long run to generate profit despite its costs.

    This will also serve as a guide for keeping your company running smoothly. Forecasting startup costs will help you decide how to adjust and allocate your finances to finally open your hotel. 4. Use a plan to project or predict assumptions.

    4. Use a plan to project or predict assumptions.

    If you’re starting from scratch, creating a plan that projects your forecast of the overall performance of the hotel will help you determine the probable profit, cash flow, and risks. These forecasts or assumptions will assist you in predicting the hotel’s demand and future performance.

    Forecasting or generating forecasts is an important component of managing finances or creating a financial plan since it will better prepare you to deal with future uncertainties. You must be ahead of the game in order to make modifications to maximize revenue, resources, and prevent any dangers, as they say, “If you plan to fail, you plan to fail.”

    If you’re having trouble organizing your business’s finances and don’t have a basic understanding of how to plan and anticipate cash flows, as well as prepare reports and analyses, we offer a simple and painless solution for you. You can check out our best-tailored fit financial model for your business at

    Have a great time, hustlin’!

    Write a Great Business Plan Now

    You need to write a great business plan because a mediocre one just will not do. Not any more. Not in this turbulent financial time.

    Banks are stingy. Venture capitalists are stingier. And angel investors are probably the stingiest of all. Approaching any one of these entities without having a great business plan in hand is absurd. It just won’t fly.

    So what makes a business plan great?

    Well, starting at the beginning, the basics need to be covered. These are the items you will find outlined on every business plan site in existence. These items include:

    • Biographical information
    • Financial information
    • History of the company
    • Identifying your market
    • Credit reports

    But if your business plan included all of these things, it still has less than a 10% chance of being funded.

    What are you missing? Pizazz.

    Pizazz means more than filling out an outline and handing it in. Pizazz means presenting yourself and your company as the absolutely best choices on the market. It means you have the ability to navigate through tough times. It means you have marketing skills beyond the ordinary. It means you can use the tools of the web world to capture more business than other businesses in your field.

    More than anything else, you need the ability to take the tools that are available and make them your own, much like a great actor makes a role his own. Everybody sees the same words, but some people have the ability to see beyond the words.

    And it means that you can present all of this with style and grace.

    Well, we never said that writing a great business plan would be easy. It is not.

    But all the work is definitely worth it. A strong business plan opens doors than would otherwise remain slammed shut. Even if a particular bank or venture capitalist or angel investor is unable to fund your project, with a strong business plan in hand you are far more likely to get the referrals that you need to succeed.

    Going through the process is half the battle. Researching, writing, re-writing, honing your message… all of these are essential to really examining yourself as an entrepreneur, and your vision for your company. A “vision statement” just doesn’t cut it. Your vision will be presented throughout your whole business plan. The style, the outlook, the growth pattern, the people involved all contribute to defining your vision.

    And once you have gone through the process, having the skill to put it all into a concise, persuasive sales tool called a business plan is the other half of the process. And, yes, it is a sales tool, not a declaratory statement.

    The payoff? You can stand proud when you stand in front of your banker or your angel investor, knowing that you have indeed done your homework. And you are the best.

    Business Planning – Fail to Plan – Plan to Fail

    All businesses start with brilliant ideas. Most of these brilliant ideas sound great, too, and you may be excited to take the plunge into entrepreneurship.

    Hold on- you need a business plan.

    “Another report? More paperwork?” Yes, indeed, and the need for a business plan is well worth the time and effort it takes to write up.

    But a business plan isn’t just another report. A business plan is your ideas, vision and goals on paper. It’s where you want to be and how you are going to get there. A business plan shows who your competition is, what obstacles you might face, and how you plan to overcome them.

    A business plan shows that you’re serious about your ideas and have a clear path from A to Z. It shows that your ideas are viable ones for a business that earns money. It also helps you determine whether it’s worth putting energy into your ideas or making investments in your visions.

    Sometimes, people have great ideas but when they start to write them down, they see that the long-term predictions aren’t that attractive. They may uncover points they never considered or reveal a major stumbling block that will take thought and careful planning to overcome. They may discover new opportunities or a simpler way of earning money.

    There are other reasons for writing a business plan, too. Banks and investors want to know what your business is all about before they will offer loans, grants or funding. You may need to take a loan to buy equipment for your business startup, but if a bank can’t see that you have the potential to pay back the money, chances are they won’t lend it to you in the first place. A good business plan shows a bank that their risk involved in lending you money is very low.

    You can use your business plan to, as a way to concentrate on what you need to do to reach your goals. It’s very easy to forget important steps when you’re new in business or stray from the path of your main objectives. Another good idea is to remove the financial information from a business plan to leave a guide for employees that helps them to know what your business is all about and to maintain focus as they work.

    A business plan is generally about ten pages long. These ten pages cover topics such as:

    Your business description

    The operations of your business

    The marketplace and competition

    Sales, marketing and promotion

    Financial information

    The first half of your business plan is all about your business in the physical aspect. What does your business do? What is its past, its present and its future? Who are the major competitors? Where do you predict your business to be in five years? How will you get there?

    Sales and marketing is an important part of your business plan. What is the price of your product or service? What is the cost of goods sold? How will you promote your business and increase your client base? How will you make sure that customers buy from you and don’t go shopping from the competition?

    This is important. It isn’t good enough in business to know where you are now and how you’ll make money now. You have to be a little bit of a visionary and try to see down the road. With a clear plan of where you’d like your business to be and what you need to do to reach that point, you have a better chance of success – and attracting investors!

    The second half of your business plan is all about the number crunching. This is where you’ll need to put in facts and figures, where you’ll need to lay out your financial information, your current situation and the health of your business, as well as your predictions for its future health.

    It’s very important that your numbers show solid backup to all the information you’ve provided in the first half of your business plan. Do the numbers reflect the business you’ve described?

    There are plenty of free online tools to help you build a solid, well-constructed business plan. It’s vital that you take the time to write up your business plan, too- don’t wait. You never know when you may need to produce this written document, and if you don’t have it handy, you may end up missing out on opportunities.

    Credit Repair Business Plan

    Here’s the executive summary of a Credit Repair Business Plan:

    • a description of your company, including your products and/or services
    • your mission statement
    • your business’s management
    • the market and your customer
    • marketing and sales
    • your competition
    • your business’s operations
    • financial projections and plans

    For someone looking for a credit repair business plan, a simple description might be “Ace Credit restoration provides credit restoration services to help consumers attain good credit and therefore have more attractive financing options. The company provides credit repair on a fee-for-service model charging $800 to $2000 per client and reaches new clients via relationships by credit-dependent professionals (real estate, car dealers, etc.), financial professionals (tax, insurance, financal planners), consumer direct marketing (internet, radio, tv, postcards), and past-client referral cultivation.

    Any business plan should then talk about management, which refers to your experience. If you have experience managing a team, attention to detail, and/or financial experience, this is relevant and should be included.

    When writing about your client, the consumer, you’ll find there are about 70 to 80 million americans with bad credit, many millions of whom will need to finance a home or car or other purchase and will therefore be interested in purchasing credit repair services. While some people do attempt credit repair on their own, credit is becoming increasingly complex and important. Fewer people succeed or event attempt it, and like dealing with plumbing or auto repairs, most are willing to pay a professional to get it done right.

    Next, you should include a specific marketing breakdown. We have found that at first, referral relationships are a great place to start. By offering “credit repair seminars” or “lunch and learn” events to local real estate agents or car dealers, you can quickly position yourself as an expert, develop referral sources, and help them sell more homes or cars. As your business grows, you’ll want to branch out into mass media, internet marketing to increase your visibility and scale up your operations.

    The next section generally will cover competition, which of course varies by market. Currently, the credit repair business is still open and largely driven on referrals at time of need, meaning people often get their credit restored when preparing to buy a home or car, or after being declined for some type of financing (i.e. a credit card at better terms than they have presently). Longer term, the internet is a massive source of business that still has substantial opportunity. One still largely untapped area needing someone to execute their credit repair business plan is in the area of social marketing (i.e. Facebook) and joint ventures with point-of-need media i.e. a referral relationship with leading real estate websites, car dealer websites, etc. who depend on attractive financing.

    Next, your plan should cover operations. You can run a credit repair home based business, or you can use office space. One under-used idea is renting a desk inside a busy real estate office. This can provide more than just a professional meeting place, but the proximity of agents who depend on their clients having good financing will virtually guarantee some clients are delivered to you. This can also help embed your credit repair business into the local ecosystem of potential referring businesses such as mortgage, insurance, and financial professionals. Most real estate offices would be open to renting a desk or office within or nearby the facility. Another option for your credit repair business plan is to run a home based credit repair business, but have a set schedule at local real estate offices or car dealers to review any new files and answer questions the agents or dealers might have.

    Financial projections and plans in your credit repair business plan should address startup costs and revenue, and possibly even exit such as sale of the company. Since there are systems that provide more than just software, but complete turn-key systems (similar to a franchise) including training to make you the expert, unlimited paralegal support, annual conferences, marketing support, legal support, and much more you should investigate your options.

    Obviously success varies by talent, work, resources and abilities with any business opportunity. That said, we know of affiliates who have taken their credit repair business plan and executed on that plan, grossing over $100,000 per month. If you like the idea of being your own boss and earning an executive level income, we encourage you to take look at your business plan as just the first step an an exciting new venture.

    Multi-Generation Project Plan

    What Is a Multi-Generation Project Plan?

    – A vehicle to help focus the design team’s energies on a manageable project that can be completed relatively quickly.

    – Since the future has been considered, the team will not make decisions that are incompatible with future generations.

    – As the team’s work progresses, new ideas can be added to future generations of the process instead of increasing the development time for the first generation process.

    – MGPP helps manage “scope creep.”

    – The organization can be working on new technologies that are needed for future generations while the first generation process is being implemented and benefits realized.

    The MGPP is usually not fully developed in the Lean Six Sigma Define phase step:

    – In Define you should describe all the elements for the first generation product/service as fully as possible and fill in as much information as you have for future generations.

    – You will add information to the MGPP throughout the DFSS process.

    – At the end of the first generation, you will be able to describe the second and third generation products and services in much greater detail because of what you have learned from your research and testing of the first generation product.

    The Multi-Generation Project Plan Will Help:

    – Initially establish a reasonable project scope – one that drives values with a reasonable completion date

    – Capture good ideas that are surfaced during the project

    – Proactively identify project replication opportunities for other parts of the business

    – Establish the “big picture” – How does this project fit into the overall improvement scheme for the organization

    – E.g., the objective is to reduce billing errors for all of our customers. The first generation will address problems with our top 20% customers.

    – E.g., this project will streamline the process and reduce the number of errors. The next phase will be to implement an automated information system.

    – Communicate with stakeholders – “We’re focusing on this part of the process with this project, but recommend a follow-on project to address other parts of the process”.

    MGPP Steps:

    1. Start with the vision. Describe the vision for the new product/service 3 years from now. Then back up and describe product/service stages that lead up to the longer-term vision.

    2. Describe the concept and technologies/platforms for Generation 1 in as much detail as possible.

    3. Fill in as much information for Generation 2 and 3 concepts, platforms and technologies as you can. You will be adding more information about these elements as you learn more during Generation 1 development

    Terrorists Plan and Attack Soft Targets, What Do You Call It When Organized Unions Do That?

    When it comes to hurting our economy exactly who is worse, International Terrorists of Large Unions? The reason I ask is simple, you see we are in a Presidential Election year, with less than 100-days to go, and the two candidates are talking about outsourcing American Jobs and debating why companies are leaving the US and seeking less hostile business environments; lower corporate taxes, few class action lawsuits, simpler regulations, and less grief from unions. Okay so let’s talk about who is really hurting our economy shall we?

    There was an interesting article that appeared in News and World Report on September 7, 2015 titled: “With contract expiration nearing, UAW chief says he hasn’t picked an auto company to target,” by Tom Krisher, Associated Press Auto Writer – which stated:

    “… UAW President Dennis Williams said Monday he’ll pick between Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler,” and “Speaking after Detroit’s annual Labor Day parade, Williams didn’t address whether the contracts would be extended and gave no details about how the talks that cover about 140,000 workers are progressing; ‘Everybody says to me ‘Dennis, have you picked a target?’ Yes. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler,’ Williams said to applause during a post-parade speech. But afterward he told reporters that he would choose a single company by the time the current four-year contracts end.”

    At the time of that article about one-year ago – The UAW (United Auto Workers) president stated he hasn’t decided, or THEY haven’t decided which car company to TARGET yet. WOW, any other sector in our economy and they’d face a Federal Indictment for conspiring in this way. I am pissed off with the double-standards we have in this Great Nation. It’s pathetic to allow the UAW to do this. Totally pathetic, Ayn Rand was right. Is this really about collective bargaining or is this about collective terrorizing.

    And, what happens if companies don’t acquiesce? Simple, the union members will act like thugs, vandalize cars of “scabs” those workers who cross the picket lines, and harass management, part time workers and lobby to get government to come in and over regulate and fine the companies into exhaustion until they give up and pay up. Wow, so what is the definition of terrorism again?

    “The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.”

    Yep, that’s the definition and it sure fits these actions doesn’t it? So, if the democrats sponsor big labor unions, does that mean they are sponsoring terrorism? Well? Does it?

    Where Does Social Media Fit Into a Business Marketing Plan?

    According to The Social Media Examiner’s recent Social Media Marketing Report, “The number-one advantage of social media marketing is generating exposure for the business, indicated by 85% of all marketers, followed by increasing traffic [to a website] (63%) and building new business partnerships (56%)”. With 65% of the marketers stating they are relatively new to social media, many questions arose as to how to implement it effectively without “wasting” a lot of time.

    Let’s take a look at the overall Internet Marketing plan of a business to think about incorporating social media into that plan.

    How are your potential customers finding you?

    Traditional advertising such as word of mouth, TV, Yellow Pages, News Paper ads remain somewhat effective to get traffic to your business. Many of you have discovered that using the power of the internet through the search engines is making those methods nearly obsolete. Social media is an outstanding method to find people interested in what you offer and get traffic to your business.

    An essential piece to marketing on-line is a Website & a blog. Most of you reading this will find that “old news”. The design, optimization, and content of the website and an informative blog will certainly be the hub of your internet marketing plan. Yet there is more to consider. You want people to find your website, visit it, stay for awhile and become a loyal customer.

    The first step of an internet marketing plan is to ask yourself these questions: Have you carefully completed your market Research? Do you know if people are looking on-line for what you are selling? If people are searching on-line using the internet do you know what words they use to locate what you are selling or providing? These terms are known as your “Key Words”. It is important to have completed the “keyword research” to know if they are searching on line for a solution that you are providing.

    The next step would be Search Engine Optimization, SEO – Designing the site and its content so that it is found by the search engines. This is not an exact science nor is it magic – experts in the SEO field understand specific things need to be in place so your site gets found. Having your site reviewed often brings to light details that are easily added to affect your search engine ranking.

    Local businesses need to be maximizing their listings in Google Places, Yelp and other local map applications to get found quickly, locally. An optimized listing provides legitimacy and validates the content on your website increasing search engines recognition of your site.

    Paid on-line advertising is another option. “Pay per click” ads through Google and Facebook are available. PR, articles, and blog posts drive significant traffic as well and many resources are free. The links back to your site from these resources again, legitimize your site. They “vote” for and provide validity of the authenticity of your website. These are just a few of the useful tools that can increase the number of potential clients to your site.

    Social Media fits into this piece of the marketing plan by getting your message out there, increasing your visibility and building a following of people interested in your services.

    Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and local networking groups are just a a few of the many social media options out there. Choose your plan carefully Map out the possible services and gradually incorporate those that make the best sense into your plan. Start with one piece. Gradually add in the other pieces.

    Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs were the top four social media tools used by marketers, in order.” according to the Social Media Examiner.

    Blogging is easily updated keeping content fresh. It is used to inform, educate and entertain opening the door for clients to interact. Build your expertise, talk to followers using the known words that engage – give them what they are looking for, solve their problems, offer them solutions and educate them. Here is where you want to make sure you “capture” their contact information – what do your customers need that will entice them to give you their contact information? Provide it to them, and follow up.

    With the analytics available on-line, you can test and determine what works within your marketing plan. What pages are holding their attention? What pages are the ones they leave from? How long do they stay? What interests them?

    Building relationships– encouraging loyal, returning customers through social media significantly adds to your overall marketing approach. It has been said it is cheaper to keep a customer than find a new one. This is the phase in which profits are made.

    What is your business mindset?If you strive to be helpful and known as the local expert willing to educate your potential customers, you build trust and loyalty. As a consumer, what keeps you returning to your favorite businesses? It is these strategies that keep you prominently in your customers mind.

    Follow up. Stay in touch. If you don’t have a way to get information to your customers through email, it is time to implement that plan. Email is an excellent, inexpensive way to do this.

    Social Media is one piece of a strong marketing strategy implemented over time. A social media marketing plan is designed with your client and your business in mind. Where do your potential customers go to find information about the products or services you offer? If they are on-line – you should be as well. With a few tools and a great plan, you just might find this your favorite way to interact and relate with your customers. It is another dimension to networking. See you on-line!

    How To Plan A Banquet – A Guide To Planning Perfect Banquets For Company Or Private Parties

    First time planners are often stricken with complete fear! Even those that plan events over and over again still fear that something will go wrong and they will be the subject of ridicule. Hopefully we can allay the fears and quell the butterflies in your stomach by helping you through the entire project.

    There are a lot of questions you need to ask. First timers probably don’t have the foggiest idea what questions to ask, so, the first thing we’d better do is outline these for you.

    Perhaps the easiest way to do that is to fill out a form. (I love forms!)
    If you were to phone me and ask me to help you make arrangements for a special event, the first thing I would do is reach for a blank form, and over the phone we would fill it out. When I had all the information, I would be better prepared to help you.

    Before you continue reading, you may want to print the banquet planning worksheet(PDF) from my website. That way you can follow along with the worksheet as I describe the planning process. I’ve also included a pre filled sample planning worksheet that you might help.

    Let’s begin with fact finding.


    The first question to ask is, “What is the purpose of the event?” This question should be really easy, but it’s perhaps the most important. The purpose of your event will determine your event’s agenda.


    Break out your calendar to decide a date for your event. Look for possible conflicts. It might be tough to get people out to a Saturday night banquet if it’s a three-day holiday. It would be unwise to put on a church social if your local school, where most of your congregation had children attending, were having an open house or play that night.

    Pencil in a date and then try to think of possible conflicts. I know of one organization that booked a very popular and relatively expensive Jewish comic into the club house of a predominantly Jewish retirement community. Attempts to sell tickets failed miserably, because they had not realized they had scheduled his appearance on a Jewish holiday – a very expensive oversight!


    There are many, many determining factors in establishing a budget. First of all, how many are expected to attend? You might have a pretty good idea for a company party, but in some cases you might just have to make a “guess-timate” until you can get more information. Make the best possible estimate based on what facts you have, and proceed.


    Another factor to determine before we select a location is how much your attendees are willing to pay. Sure, we can work the other way: we can pick a location, hire a band, select the menu, etc., and then add up how much it all costs and thus determine how much everyone needs to pay, but doing so will probably leave you hurting in the end.

    If you expect 1,000 people, and you determine $25.00 a person is acceptable, then your entire budget for food, printing, entertainment, etc., is $25,000. If you expect only 20 people and you know they won’t come if it’s over $5.00 a person, then you know you’re far more limited.


    Determine the geographical area where the event is to take place. If you live in the area where the event will take place, you may already know of various hotels, country clubs, restaurants or catering halls that can accommodate your group. If you don’t live in the area, be sure to go look at the potential location before you book it. If the event is in a distant city and it’s not possible for you to travel there, and the event is a significant one, I suggest you hire a professional meeting planner.

    I once attended a banquet in a quaint “50’s malt-shop-type restaurant. The party planner had not gone there to look at the room where the party was to be. She had just taken the word of a friend. True, it was a great restaurant, but their “room” had about 5 permanent booths on each wall. Guests were facing in all different directions. This made it almost impossible for the magician they had hired to perform. To further confuse the issue, it was not even a private room. Restaurant customers could not get to the restroom without disturbing the party, and the 50’s music continued to blare through the ceiling speakers throughout the evening because it was piped throughout the whole restaurant and could not be isolated from one room. A visit beforehand could have prevented this nightmare.

    Many, if not most, facilities do not charge a fee for the use of the room but instead absorb the rental fee into the price of the meal. For instance, in our example of 200 people, a banquet facility would be delighted to supply a private room in order to sell 200 dinners.

    Usually they will have several dinners to choose from – perhaps a chicken dinner, complete with beverage, salad and dessert, for $12.00 per person; or prime rib at $18.00 each; or sirloin steaks at $25.00 per person. In our example we are charging $30.00 per person. Let’s select the prime rib at $18.00.

    Does that include tax and tip? Oh, Oh! Find out if it does, or you may get a surprise at the end of the night. Let’s say it does not. 15% tip and 8% (or whatever) tax makes the dinner a total of $22.14 per person. Our sample budget calls for 200 people at $30.00 each for a total of $6,000. If all 200 people attend, dinner will cost $4,428. That leaves $1,572 for all other costs.

    By the way, the facility may ask you for a deposit and guarantee. If you guarantee 200 people, you will have to pay for 200 dinners even if only 175 show up. Generally, a facility is prepared to serve about 10% more people than you guarantee. So it makes sense to guarantee a lesser number than you expect. Even some of those who told you absolutely they would be there, maybe even gave you a deposit, don’t show for one reason or another.

    Just to be on the safe side, in our example of 200 people, I would guarantee the restaurant 185. If you’re pre selling tickets, which I recommend, you can always adjust your estimate upwards with the restaurant a day or two ahead of time if needed. Ask the facility about their requirements in regard to a change in the guarantee.


    The evening agenda is largely determined by the event’s purpose. A typical event might go like this:

    6:00 – 7:00 – Social or cocktail hour

    7:00 – 8:00 – Dinner

    8:00 – 8:15 – Meeting/Awards/Business

    8:15 – 9:00 – Entertainment/Speaker

    9:00 – 9:10 – Raffle/Door Prizes

    9:10 – 1:00 – Dancing

    Having an hour to “gather” is always good. You and the facility both will want everyone present when you actually sit down to eat. It’s been my experience that almost everything starts late, so plan for it and don’t be disappointed when it happens.

    Will you be having a cocktail hour? A “Hosted” bar means that drinks are free to the party-goers. If you choose to host the cocktail hour, be prepared to spend about $1200 for our sample group of 200 people. Most organization-sponsored events have a ‘No-Host’ bar, in which guests buy their own drinks. It’s appropriate to announce ‘Hosted’, or ‘No-Host’ in the invitation.

    Some form of entertainment during the cocktail hour is certainly a plus. The facility may have music piped in through its sound system, which is certainly the most economical; however, for around $300 you could have live music. Most banquet facilities have a piano, sometimes on wheels, and will let you either rent the piano or use it for free. Fee for the piano rental should be around $50 to $100 and a piano player anywhere from $150 to $250.

    Other cocktail hour entertainment could include a chamber group, a jazz or “society” trio, harpist, or a strolling accordionist. A strolling “close-up” magician, performing from group to group or table to table, is always fun. Other forms of entertainment for the cocktail hour could include celebrity look-alikes, mechanical or conventional mimes, a balloon animal sculptor, caricaturist, graphologist, palm reader, tarot card reader, stilt walker, or just about anything else you can think of! Again, your budget is your gauge.


    This is pretty easy. When the Maitre’d says dinner is ready, have your party sit down!

    The vast majority of banquets have certain people assigned to sit at the head table while everyone else may sit where they wish. If you choose to have a head table, you should make small place markers for those assigned to sit at the head table, and don’t forget to discuss table arrangements with the facility.


    Someone, perhaps you, should step to the microphone and announce that dinner is ready and ask everyone to take a seat. When this has been accomplished your President, or whoever is presiding, should welcome everyone.

    It is appropriate at most banquets to have someone lead the flag salute, followed by a blessing on the food. People should not be called upon for these jobs extemporaneously, but should be asked in advance and their names and responsibilities should be listed on the printed program if there is one. Following the flag salute and prayer, your Master of Ceremonies (or who ever is conducting) should introduce the people sitting at the head table, introducing himself last.


    If business of any sort needs to be conducted, begin when dessert is finished, or at least served. Make sure that the facility knows that you do not want any bussing (clearing of tables) or coffee served after the program starts, as it can become an irritating distraction and take away from the enjoyment of the program.


    Following opening remarks, and/or other business, you could either introduce the main speaker, or present some form of entertainment.

    This could be the highlight of the evening! There are many outstanding after-dinner performers and speakers. If you really want to have a successful event, hire a professional. At this writing $500 to $1,000 can buy you some pretty top-notch entertainment.

    How about a comedian-magician who uses a member or two of your group and does some hilarious bits of business and audience participation magic tricks – 30 or 40 minutes of non-stop laughs!

    Or picture this…the dessert has just been served and in walks “Lt. Columbo,” complete with overcoat and cigar…”Oh, excuse me,” he says, “I was looking for somebody else.” All eyes are riveted on this familiar figure as he turns and starts to walk out. “Oh, one more thing, is this the Walker party?’ Then for the next 30 minutes or so he does a comedy routine in the style and delivery of Peter Falk as Lt. Columbo, using names of people in your group.

    That will rock your people out of their seats with laughter. These are just a couple of suggestions. Everybody loves to laugh, and a good professional entertainer can make you a hero.

    How do you find that kind of entertainment? Again, watch out for the well-meaning friend. Sometimes hiring a friend of a friend who tells jokes or plays the banjo can put a wet blanket on the evening if they don’t live up to your expectations.

    Probably the best way to secure talent is to work with a professional talent agent that specializes in special events. Ordinarily there is no fee for his services. He can make recommendations and suggestions based on what your needs are, and work within your budget limitations.

    Some entertainers may have special requirements, like a stage, spotlight, two mics or something else, and these items need to be arranged with the facility. There may be a rental fee involved.


    Giving away door prizes or raffle prizes should not be held until after the entertainment or main speaker. Perhaps it’s an inducement for your guests to stay until the end.

    If you’re selling raffle tickets, again you need to make out a budget. How many tickets do you expect to sell and for how much money? Do you want to make a profit? Let’s say you expect to sell 100 tickets to those 200 people expected to come, and we sell them at the banquet for $2.00 each. That’ll give you $200 to buy prizes with. You can put this in your general budget or assign someone to take care of the whole raffle, including purchasing the prizes and selling the tickets.


    Following the raffle, the formal portion of the program is really over. Your people can now go home. If you’ve elected to have a deejay or band, they may stay for dancing.

    The facility might charge to set up a dance floor. Sometimes this is a portable dance floor they build right on top of the carpet. A band will cost anywhere from $150 per band member to $450 per band member for four hours. A small trio of keyboard, drum and guitar could be anywhere from $750 to $1,500.

    An $1,800 to $3,500 five-piece band, including a vocalist, is average. If you hire a band, you may be able to use one or more of those same musicians to provide cocktail hour and/or dinner music for a small additional fee. You normally need to make a deposit at the time you hire the band. Anything over four hours’ playing time is considered overtime, and you should talk with the band or agent about the cost of overtime when you make the initial arrangements. Bands also need to take a 10-15 minute break each hour. Ask if the band will supply recorded music during their breaks.


    Sometimes you might prefer a DeeJay playing recorded music instead of hiring a band. This gives you the advantage of hearing the original recording artist instead of a dance band’s rendition.

    Another advantage is that most mobile DeeJay units will set up before dinner and offer to play dinner music at no additional cost, and of course, a DeeJay does not take a break during the evening, so you have non stop music for your event.

    Cost-wise, there is not a lot of difference between a 3-piece band and a DeeJay. Some DeeJays offer a full light-show that few bands do, and even with an additional charge, this could be a real plus. I think it’s just a matter of taste. Some people insist on a live band and others are just as adamant about a DeeJay.


    Video taping an event, except for historical purposes, is unnecessary. Seldom will the video tape or DVD be watched more than once after the event. Yes, maybe a Bar or Bat Mitzvah will watch his or her recording years later when they grow older, and maybe even a bride and groom would watch a well-edited and condensed recording. A company or organization’s banquet, however, will be seldom if ever watched.

    I would recommend that you hire, budget permitting, a professional photographer rather than leaving it up to one of your guests or a friend of a friend who only takes photos twice a year. You can have the photographer deliver prints or a CD of digital photographs in which case you could print just the photos you want.


    Probably the most traumatic thing that could occur is that you planned the entire event and then no one came. If it’s a company party and the food, entertainment, drinks and dancing are all free, I don’t think you will have a problem, as long as you let everybody know when and where and that it’s FREE!

    But if that’s not the situation, you may need to promote the event. Once you have all the facts (WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, WHO, and HOW MUCH), you can create a flyer – a piece of paper with all the facts on it, designed to motivate people to attend.

    If you’re an artist, great! You can create the flyer yourself. If not, maybe someone in your group is and they can help you. Otherwise, you need to “rough it out” the way you’d want it and take it to a graphic artist to do the “camera-ready copy” for you, then off to a printer to print however many you’re going to need. How many you need will depend on how you’re going to distribute them.

    The layout, printing, envelopes and postage all need to go into your budget. There are, of course, additional ways you can promote the event – word of mouth, bulletin boards, phone committee, club or company newsletter, posters. If your event will be open to people outside your organization, you might try using the publicity channels of other related groups, companies, schools, etc., as well as your own. Have a “brainstorming session” with your committee, if you have one, to think of all the ways you can get the word out.

    And remember that if you want people to come to your activity, you can’t just tell them. You have to tell them and tell them and tell them! Use all the resources at your disposal, and don’t hesitate to repeat yourself. The more times you tell them, the more will come!


    There are as many ways to handle this as there are ways to promote the event. If you have to lay out funds ahead of time (which is usually the case), it is good to get as much money as you can up front. Pre selling your tickets will help you do that. Of course, your publicity must state your requirements and deadlines. This also will help you get a handle on how many are going to attend. Remember though, that there will still be some last minute cancellations and additions, so stay flexible.


    As mentioned earlier, most organizations assign only the head table, and the rest of the attendees are left to sit where they wish. Some groups insist on drawing pictures of the tables on a sheet of paper, numbering them, and then assigning people to specific tables.

    I think it’s far more work than necessary, but if you must, then have at it.
    Some banquets, especially those honoring individuals or groups, offer entire tables “for sale.” 10 people per table at $30 each means that for $300 someone could reserve a whole table. Make sure you put a “reserved” sign on that table, showing the name of the host.


    When all the facts are in, if the budget will permit, a nice printed program could be put at each place setting or handed out as people arrive. It should contain the agenda for the evening and credits given to all those who contributed to the event.

    Many organizations have been successful in selling ads in the program to defray the cost of printing or even to raise some extra money. I’ve put $250 income under the income column of our example. Don’t you think you could convince 10 people to give you their business card and pay $25 to be advertised on the back page of the program? Of course, this idea could be a little tacky if the event is to celebrate little Bobbie’s 10th birthday. Use your best judgment.


    This could be a big item or not – strictly up to you. If you picked a beautiful location, and it’s not a special seasonal event like a Christmas or Halloween party, why not just enjoy the facility’s decor? If you feel you need decorations and you have a sufficient budget, call a party decorator who uses balloons. They go a long way towards dressing up a room without spending a lot of money.

    Centerpieces on each table look nice. You can ask someone to donate these or have someone clever make something for each table. Many facilities make such a nice table layout that a centerpiece is not necessary. Don’t spend money unnecessarily, but do remember that the nicer the ambience, the better the memories or the event will be in the minds of those who attend, which means that they will want to come to your next event, too!

    One note of caution. If you’re having entertainment, be careful that large
    centerpieces, particularly balloons, don’t block the view of the performing area or even the people sitting on the opposite side of the table who want to see and talk to each other.


    Yes, you will fret and worry until the whole thing is over, but every party planner does. Just relax, do your best and enjoy! (Here’s a secret: If you enjoy what you’re doing, the people you are doing it for will enjoy it, too!)

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