Small Business Starting – What is a Business Plan?

If you do not know what a business plan is or have never written one, you should take time to do the research on how to write it. If your business plan is at least two years or older, you should consider updating it. One way for the new and experienced business owner to think of a business plan is to see it as a road map to success.

Often the business plan is referred to as the blue print to the success of the business. It is a document that describes the company’s three- to five- year plan. In the business plan, you must demonstrate that the business can sell enough of its products or service to make a satisfactory profit so that it will attract potential backers. The document maybe used to sell your business to bankers, investors, partners, and employees. Business plans are prepared for non-profit and for profit companies. The business plan can also be used to provide the owner-manager or perspective owner-manager of a small business with a pathway to profit.

The business plan should include your financial performance. Basically you want to show what the business is going to cost and how long it will take you to make a profit. To show the business financial performance, you must prepare financial statements. These statements include your balance sheet and cash flow chart. The balance sheet tells the net worth of the company. The cash flow chart shows how much money you are paying out monthly. It also shows how much money you are going to get, and when you will get it.

Copyright © 2007, Dr. Mary E. Waters, all rights reserved.

Are you interested in starting a business?

To the new and experienced entrepreneurs, getting help with your small business is very crucial to your success. Getting the right help will cause you to avoid costly mistakes, and it can also help you to save a lot of time, money and energy. You will need to get the right help to form the legal structure of the business, financial, management, procurement/certification, marketing, pricing products, preparing a business plan, and more. If you are a business owner who is wondering if you can take your business to new heights, contact Dr. Waters at [email protected]

5 Success Indicators to Knowing If You Have a Hobby or a Business

I’d like you to take a step back, look at your business as an outsider would and ask the question “Is this a hobby or a business?”

Put aside the anger that immediately boils to the surface because, after all, you are working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week; eating and non-sleeping this entity known as your business with little financial return and look at it objectively.

There will come a time (if it hasn’t come already) when you get up one morning, exhausted and overwhelmed, and ask yourself “What happened to my vision of carefree self employment where I’m my own boss, there’s plenty of money and I’m a raging success? Did I take a wrong turn on the road to success?”

Be thankful for that day. That is the day you realize you have a great opportunity: to step up and act like a business (and recognize the limitless possibilities) or keep playing with your “hobby” (and be realistic about your income potential). Up until that point, chances are you’ve been more focused on your specialty (bookkeeping, massage therapy, virtual assistance, etc.) than on running your business (think “technician” rather than “manager”).

As a “business”, you must focus on the future and look at planning and revenue. As a “hobby”, you focus more on today.

If you wish to create a business, especially a successful one, you must have certain success indicators in place (just ask the IRS):

1. You have a business and marketing plan.

If you want your business to be successful for the longer term, you need to define what “successful” and “longer term” mean to you. Your business plan must be written and adaptable to the change that will happen.

I strongly recommend that you have a separate marketing plan which outlines the activities you will do to attract more clients. Your business and marketing plans should be living, breathing documents which you use to keep on track.

2. You act like a business.

Your business has its own identity or brand. You have a “look”, possibly a tagline and cohesive marketing materials.

Your email address has your domain name in it (e.g., [email protected]) rather than you using a generic account such as [email protected].

And, most importantly, you are not mixing money between business and personal. You track your business income and expenses in a software such as QuickBooks and not in a shoebox timidly carried to your accountant each year.

3. You’re making money.

Your business needs to be holding its own and then some. OR, at the very least, well on it’s way to profitability. You can’t be drawing out of your savings or racking up credit card debt with no idea of when you will actually start making money.

Hobbies can cost a lot with no hope of financial return aside from the sheer pleasure of engaging in them. Businesses can not.

4. You have a team.

As a solopreneur, there is only so much you can do. . .and do well. To build your business to the point where you are focusing only on your core strengths (which should be the same things that bring in the revenue), you need someone to delegate to.

5. You continue to learn and improve.

As a business owner, you must continuously review what’s working and what’s not in your business and make changes accordingly.

Personally, I do two things to insure that my business (and I) continue to improve: 1/ I invest in myself by hiring good coaches — I currently belong to a very small, high end Mastermind program run by Alexandria Brown in addition to working with another coach who consistently challenges me and 2/ I created a “Flash Report” for my business — one of my virtual assistants populates the report and sends it to me each Friday. It tells me what’s working and what needs tweaking within my business (more on this coming soon).

If you dream of a business where you fulfill your passions, work less, yet make more while making a difference in the lives of your clients, these are just a few of the indicators that you want to insure are in place. The proper systems will do more for you than a thousand networking meetings. :-)

I challenge you to take a hard look at your business over the coming days and see where you can improve — make a list and choose one indicator to work on over the next 90 days.

Business Process Improvement

Do You Need Business Process Improvement?

If you are trying to decide if you need to consider business process improvement, you first need to look at the business processes that your company or business utilizes. If the processes are working effectively and your business is running well then you may wish to leave the processes alone. However, if you feel that they could be improved and operations improved as well then considering business process improvement is a very wise decision.

If you feel as if your business could use a great amount of reorganization then one of the best ways to do this is by doing a business process improvement. While the process of doing a business process re-engineering plan may seem better, it is typically much more expensive as well as can cause a huge upset in the flow of business. For this primary reason most establishes will instead opt to participate in a business process improvement plan.

Another benefit to a business process improvement is that it is much cheaper than an engineering or even re-engineering process. This means that the business process improvement can be easier to fit into the budget than the re-engineering process. While some businesses do decide that the overhaul of their processes needs to be drastic enough to warrant using the re-engineering procedure, most businesses are able to find the best results possible from merely using improvement.

Some businesses do not always understand how a business process improvement can really help them. Yet an improvement in the processes can equal out to a greatly improved profit margin for the business. Aside from this, a business process improvement plan can also equal up to a streamlined improvement in the operations from a management position as well. Many times any problems with the overall organization of a business can be resolved with a simple improvement.

This means that most of the re-engineering processes are merely a waste of time and money. There is no reason to disrupt the normal operations of most businesses just with a small tightening of processes. However, if a small tightening will not resolve the needs, then often times a complete re-engineering is necessary. If you are trying to keep your business operational and functional, the best option you have is using the business process improvement plan, rather than only the re-engineering method.

As you can see there are several reasons why business process improvement is a good idea. The time and expense spent on the process can result in a huge improvement on overall business procedures. With an effective improvement plan, you will definitely notice a huge amount of difference in your business. There should be a higher profit level, less downtime and a much-improved streamline effect for your entire business.