Business Plan Guide – 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Business Plan

A business plan guide is a great place to start when you are getting ready to write your first business plan. Perhaps you have found a book about writing business plans, or are following a template, but chances are, these materials will only focus on the steps necessary to create your business plan and will fail to point out the critical mistakes that most new business owners make. So let’s ignore the step-by-step tutorial for a moment and focus on the real world mistakes you need to avoid.

1. Don’t Put it Off.

Yes, writing a business plan can be a monumental chore. It’s easy to procrastinate while you focus on the more exciting processes of your business. Many new business owners will wait until the day before their scheduled meeting with the bank — and then frantically try to write a plan overnight. You can imagine the results.

Don’t wait until you have more time. There will never be more time. You need to clear your calendar for a week and make your business plan a top priority. Or if that isn’t feasible, schedule a certain period of time each day to work specifically on planning. No doubt you have heard the old saying: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”.

2. Don’t Confuse Profit With Cash Flow.

Unless you have an accounting background, you are very likely to define the success of your business in terms of profits. A simple definition of Profit would be Sales minus Expenses equals Profit. But in the business world, profits do not equate to cash. Your profit formula does not take into account the amount of cash you have tied up in production costs for products that have not yet sold, or the customers who still owe you money for sales that have already been made. Your business can look quite “profitable” while your bank account is over-drawn.

Make sure your business plan includes a table that addresses cash flow. Ideally, you should detail the monthly cash flow for the first two years of the business and annually thereafter.

3. Don’t Fall in Love With Your Idea.

Too many business plans blabber on for pages about the “newness” and “uniqueness” of the idea. But the truth is, investors want to invest in people, not ideas. It is only the people who can execute the systems necessary to bring the idea to life.

Instead of waxing poetically about your business idea, focus your energy, and your reader’s eyes, on the ways you plan to implement this great business idea.

4. Don’t Succumb to Fear and Dread.

If you have never written a business plan, the process may loom like Mount Everest. But, like most new challenges, writing a business plan isn’t as hard as you have imagined it to be. You aren’t writing a doctoral thesis or the next great novel. If you have invested in a business plan guide, use it. You can easily find helpful resources such as books, software programs and templates. Remember, you eat an elephant one bite at a time, so start chewing.

5. Don’t Over Sell.

Skip the vague and meaningless business phrases such as “best ever”, “highest quality” and “unsurpassed customer service”. You will lose your reader’s interest and respect if you engage in hyperbole that isn’t supported by measurable facts. Remember that the objective of a plan is its results, which require tracking and follow up. Focus your goals on specific dates, management responsibilities, budgets, and measurable milestones. Think fewer words and more numbers.

6. Don’t Engage in One-Size-Fits-All

Business plans can have many different purposes and they should be written to reflect the specific purpose at hand. You may be using your plan to start a business, or just run a business better. Your purpose may be simply to sell an idea for a new business to one particular business partner. Your plan may be intended to secure a small business loan, or it may be needed to secure millions of dollars of venture capital. Each of these purposes would require different information, presented in different ways to meet the needs of different readers. Keep a picture of your intended reader firmly in your mind and your business plan will stay focused as well.

7. Take Off the Rose Colored Glasses

Optimism is a wonderful resource. Without it, a business owner would find it difficult to summon the energy necessary to launch a new venture.  However, this is not the time to engage in unbridled projections. If your company’s growth chart is based on an “industry average” of 15% annual growth, you should certainly be prepared to prove that assumption. When in doubt, be less optimistic.

By using a good business plan guide, and avoiding these common mistakes, you can prepare a plan that almost guarantees your business success. Good luck!

By: Barb Dearing

About the Author:

Barb Dearing is a writer specializing in topics that relate to new business owners. She recommends a free 9-Step Business Plan Guide that can be found at: http://www.business-plan-guide.com

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Is Selling Your Business the Best “Exit Plan”?

My neighbor asked me, “Why would anyone sell a successful company?”. He could not understand why anyone would leave a business that was doing well. Of course successful companies get sold all the time.

So why do these business owners sell? The short answer is that most closely held businesses sell for human reasons, such as burn out, retirement, illness, partnership disputes, family issues or other personal reasons. Usually the business is fine but the human being running the business needs a change. To understand this better it is key to understand the other options for exiting a business.

Close the Business/Liquidation

Closing a business that is profitable never makes sense. Even if the assets are liquidated the price is likely to be pennies on the dollar versus selling the business as a going concern with employees, customers and a reputation that is intact. Not only does the business owner get the lowest value but the employees, vendors and customers are hurt by this type of exit.

Accident, Illness or Death

No one wants to exit their business this way, but many do. The loss of an owner not only creates tremendous issues for the family but also creates a leadership void in the business. Even the most competent management can struggle when a key business leader is lost to a serious accident, illness or death. No one plans for this type of exit but many end up exiting the business this way because they failed to create an alternate plan.

Succession

Succession by a family member or key employee has its benefits. They know the business, its product or service, employees, customers and vendors. Succession can be operationally successful for the exiting owner if they make sure the successor is carefully selected, qualified and groomed for the position. The owner must be careful not to make an emotional choice of a relative or favorite employee but instead choose the successor with the right skills to lead the company into the future. You are not seeking an “Employee” mentality but an “Owner” mentality. If that rare person can be found in the business who can make the transition to Owner, they often do not have the cash needed to purchase the business. They are also likely to want to pay less for the business as familiarity will blind them to many of the value drivers of the company. So although succession can be operationally successful it is rarely a financial success for the outgoing owner.

Sell

Closing or liquidating the business minimizes the value to the owner. Accident, illness or death forces the issue on the owner. Succession provided a very limited pool of options with limited financial reward.

Selling on the other hand allows the business owner to decide their ideal timing, maximize the value of the business they worked so hard to build, coordinate the use of the sale proceeds for financial planning and align their personal goals with the sale of a business. Selling the business allows the business owner to create a wealth event and often significant on-going passive income without having to run their business.

Whatever they are, human reasons are always pushing and pulling on a business owner. Burn out, stress, divorce, illness, partner disputes and limited growth capital are some of the human reasons that push owners out of the business. Retirement, enjoying life, relocating, a new business opportunity and passive income are some of the reasons that pull a business owner out. Whatever the motivation, the fundamental reason a business owner chooses a sale as their ideal exit plan is control. The business owner chooses to understand the value of their business and to proactively pursue the right buyer and the right price. By selling a business you choose to exit your business by choice, not by force.

The professional team at Sunbelt Midwest can help you confidentially sell or buy a business in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, and surrounding areas. For more information check out our site at http://www.sunbeltmidwest.com.

By: Sunbelt Business Brokers

About the Author:

The professional team at Sunbelt Midwest can help you confidentially sell or buy a business in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, and surrounding areas. For more information check out our site at http://www.sunbeltmidwest.com

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Business Phone line System – Effective way to run a successful business

If you are running a business then an effectual and clear communication is vital for a successful business. Hence, selecting a right business phone line is very important which sets up the communication among you and your business clients, staff and vendors directly. It has been proved that for the success of business whether it is of large, small and medium scale of enterprise, these systems plays great role and proved to be economical and valuable. Some companies consider the system to be complex but cannot ignore the convenience provided by it. Now, there are various service providers in the market that they are providing reasonable business phone answering machine.

Benefits of having a reliable answering service

It is simple to handle calls from anywhere and though you are out of from your office. With the help of business phone line answering machine you can reduce your phone bills and only you have to pay reasonable monthly bill. Now, no need to spend hours in attending phone calls and you can focus on your business.

Well-organized Call managing Service 24/7

With an answering system your works get much easier and with no delay all incoming calls are answered by call answering machines. If nobody is there to attend phone calls then all incoming calls are attendant by auto responders with a professional way. Your call can be directed to your numbers directly if you are not in the office or you are somewhere else. There are many features you will get with answering machines and these are like: Call conferencing, Dial by name, Fax, Dial by extension etc.

The business phone line systems are available in market in a wide range and you can choose the best plan at affordable rate for you. With its easy to use and quick responding features, you will have great benefit in your business.

You will get the features like:

Caller Id Call forwarding Auto attendant Recording of the calls Conference calls Multiple line capability Auto attendant Speaker phones Voice mail facility

 To choose the best business phone line you can browse internet and there you will get large information and you can compare features among many service providers. You can also have agents number who can guide you for selecting the right system.

Nowadays market is flooded with large collection of business answering machines and many providers are providing great discounts on their products. So, availing right answering machine for your business is not a big deal now. Only you have to choose the best suitable plan for you according to your business need.

We all know that voice plays a vital role for a successful business and whether it is easy PABX connectivity or a customized voice solution, you will get the best technology. At a very reasonable rate you will have a good automatic call responding machine and you can spend your valuable time for your business. Every successful business is having answering machine so consumers don’t get irritate of calling again and again.

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By: business phone australia

About the Author:

na

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Unsecured Business Loans – solid financial foundation

Unsecured Business Loans are monetary loans that are not secured against the borrower’s assets. These kind of loans have higher interest rate and do not offer collateral terms against the business loan. These loans fulfill the financial needs of small business owners easily and quickly. They are flexible and easily available without any need of collateral security. The rate of interest depends upon the degree of risk involved in the whole activity. Unsecured business loans are much cheaper and contain less risk terms to the borrowers. Unsecured business loans can be used to commence a new business as well as to expand an existing one. Prospective business plan helps to win the confidence of the lender. Unsecured business loans are meant for individuals, who need funds to their business without facing any of their assets on risk. It is one of the best options for self employed people working for  other enterprises. You can extend your business domain at any point of time. Unsecured business loans are configured in such a way, that if any business who has no regular source of income, can avail this kind of loans. These loans put a close view on all the requirements of the business. It is quite true that all kinds of unsecured loans are becoming more preferred choice to everyone, as these offer hassle free finance at affordable rates. With these loans a business owner can easily arrange the financial needs to fulfill all the external requirements of the business.

Some of the major benefits of unsecured business loans are:-

1.  These loans do not require any kinds of collateral or security.

2.  One may use these loans for personal, educational or even holiday purposes.

3.  The payment period is up to a maximum of 60 months.

4.  Simple and flexible process: This process provides you easiest way to expand your business successfully and helps to make your business more flexible.

5.  It offers more security and reliable alternative to traditional businesses.

6.  It provides fast track to successful business.

7.  Fast Approvals : the approval process is very fast and efficient. It provides more flexibility to your decision making.

8.  Easy application process: the paper work is very less.

9.  You are free to utilize the funds received for any purpose.

10. It helps to gaining experiencing rapid growth easily

11. Risk: Risk term find out the probability of occurring any event and loses included. Risk defined as qualitatively as well as quantitatively. It is an issue which leads to negative results. In case of unsecured business loans the chances of Risk are very rare.

If your business is facing any major or minor problems in smooth running just because of finance, than unsecured business loans are the best option for you. These loans are available for each industry type, it means business owners from every level of corporate world can apply for them. Well established business owners can also prefer business loan to meet the ever-increasing requirements of their business organizations.

By: Richard

About the Author:

You can apply for Business Loans, Unsecured Business Loans or Unsecured cash advance for a variety of reasons.

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Black Business – Things to keep in Mind

A business (also called a firm or an enterprise) is a legally recognized organization designed to provide goods and/or services to consumers. A black business is a term given to the business owned by black people. The black business has gained popularity in the world and the black entrepreneurs have gained a lot of recognition in the world.

Starting a new business is a huge responsibility in itself and it requires a lot of dedicated effort and time by the black entrepreneur. He is the person who starts the black business and plans ahead for his black business. Certain skills and experience are critical to the success of a business. The black entrepreneur must possess these skills in order to make his black business a success. Sometimes it is unlikely that the black entrepreneur possess all the skills and experience needed to start the business, so it is better to hire personnel who possess the knowledge and has qualities that the black entrepreneur lacks. There are some basic and special skills you will need for setting up your black business. It is important to identify the strengths and weaknesses and capitalize on them.

The black entrepreneur must hire trained and enthusiastic professionals so that their black business gets benefit. The trained professionals have experience and can help in the betterment of the company. They can help the black entrepreneurs in taking decisions of the company and help the black business to grow in a better way.

The selection of the business is very important. If the choice of business is good, then it will benefit the black business and would help the company in growing quickly. A lot depends on the choice of work that the company is going to offer and the location where the company has been opened. The location of the company is an important factor for various reasons. Firstly, the employees would feel great if the company location is nearer to their house. The employees would feel an ease in managing their time schedules. Also the location of the company matters a lot in the choice of business it is providing to its customers. It would be a bad idea to open up woolen shop in an area near to industries. It would be of no use to the owners as well as to the customers. So a proper planning is needed to start a business by looking at various aspects in the society.

For the black business to flourish, it is better to provide better service to its customers. After all, Customer is God in the professional world. So the black entrepreneurs must give stress on customer satisfaction. It is for the betterment of the black business.

It would be right to say that various factors altogether add up to a successful business. The black entrepreneurs must keep all these things in mind in order to make their business a success and gain popularity in the professional world.

By: Ankur

About the Author:

Black Business – Things to keep in Mind.
Click Black Business – Things to keep in Mind to know more about it.
Ankur Sharma is an Executive with Wensil i Technologies.

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