Writing Good Business Plan Takes Time

Preparation is Most of the Work

The preparation, research, and planning which leads up to the actual writing of the plan constitutes most of the time required to create a business plan. Planning and strategizing cannot simply be done in a day or even a few days. Not only is it important to get feedback from advisors or other trusted parties, which can take time, but the entrepreneur himself must let the plan ruminate a bit in order to uncover aspects he may have missed or thought about incorrectly previously.

Research Time

Research for the business plan may be the most time intensive element of this preparation. Research should, ideally, be more than secondary sources such as articles, blogs, and industry reports. Primary sources, including interviews, surveys, or focus groups with customers, vendors, and competitors, are very important and more persuasive. Developing data from these types of sources takes a good deal of time. Even information in secondary sources must be pored through carefully to find the nuggets of interest for the business plan. Finally, research into the costs of the business can require calls and even negotiations with vendors to learn about rates and volume discounts. There is no easy shortcut for this type of direct research, which can make launching a much easier process if this legwork has been carefully documented.

Writing Time

Finally, the writing cannot be rushed, as convincing prose does not generally flow under intense time pressure. Time must be given to allow for the writing and then revision of the plan itself. Finally, time should be allowed for proofreading by qualified individuals other than the entrepreneur. This is the only sure way to spot mistakes in the plan at this late stage.

Value of Buying a Business

Buying the Goodwill

As opposed to what one may commonly think, purchasing an existing business venture entails higher costs than starting from scratch. Indeed, you may not be required to spend on equipment, buildings, inventory, and the like, and you may even be handed an existing staff, but the larger fraction of the purchase depends upon what businesses refer to as “goodwill.” This pertains to the existing clientele of that particular business.

Just imagine, if the business you’re eyeing to venture in already has a steady and continuous stream of customers, the returns will be faster and you, as a new owner, will enjoy the gains early on.

Since the goodwill was already established prior to the new owner’s acquisition, it gives the new owner a solid customer ground and he won’t need to worry too much about attracting clients. The duty of the new business owner then is focused on customer retention.

Unfortunately, calculating the value of goodwill cannot be defined by a simple mathematical equation. It’s an agreement between the parties involved that must be based on the current economic conditions. Therefore, if the present greatly factors in, that explains for the higher value of the intangible goodwill.

Critical Points to Consider

If you are looking to buy a business, you must possess a strong interest in that particular sector. A business is a learning process that proves hard in the absence of interest. If you’re only in for the gains and you don’t capitalize on your own interest, sustaining its position in the market might prove difficult.

Once you’ve established your point of interest, do your research prior to acquiring your choice of business. Perform a financial evaluation, and determine the owner’s reason for giving it up. Investigate on the business’s current situation to eliminate the legal risks that could possibly happen.

Improve Productivity

I’ve observed in my work with hundreds of authors, thought leaders and experts around the globe that there is a tendency to let relationships (both internal and external) get a bit complacent. It’s the deadline that gets missed for a client that’s also become a friend. It’s evident in the assistant that starts to wind down his day a few minutes earlier than he used to. It’s the typos that find their way into an important client deliverable. It’s not laziness, it’s not incompetence, it’s complacency.

Here’s the downside. If it’s your client and you’re the one that’s gotten a little lax, there is always someone else that might be a bit more aggressive, a little hungrier, slightly more creative, or more innovative and your client can easily become intrigued by the fresh perspective. If it’s your team or suppliers you are getting less than you are paying for. It’s acceptable, it may even be great, but it is not the best that your people or organization are capable of producing. Again, it’s not mediocrity – it’s just not excellence.

So how do we overcome this? It may be a bit counter-intuitive, but tension is good. Stress can yield higher quality outcomes and insure client relationships are on solid ground. A little bit of tension or a lack of complacency not only keeps everyone on their toes but makes us more cognizant of our role in the relationship and what is expected of us. Of course you can still have an amazing relationship with your client or team but introduce a bit of tension to counter the complacency that is a part of the way humans are wired. You’ll protect your best client relationships and improve productivity across your organization in the process.

I enable thought leaders, authors and gurus to monetize their content through books, keynote speaking, the creation of training services and products, and consulting and assessment tools. I start at the strategic stage, define the target market, assist in the creation of the offerings and solutions, and lead business development, sales and marketing of those solutions.

Become a Better Decision Maker

  • Start Small. Even making small everyday decisions will help you accomplish the bigger goal. Small decisions such as what food to eat at a restaurant are not to be underestimated. A good way to start is the next time you’re eating out, look at the menu and decide what you’d like to eat. Then put the menu down and don’t change your mind. Don’t ask your companions what they’re having and base your decision on that – make the decision on your own and then stick to it.

Small steps like this can be empowering and help you to tackle the bigger decisions to come in the future.

  • Approach decisions logically. Many of us tend to make emotion-based decisions rather than logical ones. In business this can spell disaster. A good way to help you approach decisions in a logical manner may be to write down a list of pros and cons.

Simply grab a sheet of paper and label one side pros and one side cons. Then list all the good and bad points of your choice. Logically think through your comments and then make your decision. This way you can leave emotions out of the equation and concentrate purely on the facts.

  • Cut yourself some slack. Making decisions is a skill which can be learned but even pros don’t always make the right choices. Realize that making decisions effectively takes confidence and is a great first step, but your decisions may not always be the right decisions. If you happen to make the wrong decision, give yourself a break and take comfort in the fact that you thought out your decision clearly and logically and made the best choice possible at the time.

Revolutionizing the Business Intelligence Techniques

A dashboard is a visual display of the most relevant information required for tracking the pre-defined goals of businesses and achieving one or more defined target. They are consolidated at a single screen showing the data points that are helpful for the enterprises or the supporting bodies like Sales, IT or HR. A well-designed dashboard is considered an integral tool for taking forward the smart strategies and tactical plans.

Every Business Manager makes use of numerous tools for tracking the progress and identifying how the business goals are progressing and performing. Dashboards assist the employees at all levels to track their work and provide a glimpse of the assigned tasks.

The prime role of Dashboards in businesses is somewhat similar to the usage of them in automobiles. Business dashboards avails various measures that give information about the business performance. These measures here indicate, the key performance indicators, i.e. the KPIs or in easier words can be called as the measurable indicators that can determine a business’ growth or failure. Most of the businesses use them for tracking the profits by studying the achievement and revenue forecast during certain quarters of a business year.

The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of every business is dependent on the type of business, as each one of them has a different set of indicators. Also, the leaders define them as per their requirements and the tasks. However, the widely used Key Indicators considered for tracking include, the rise or fall in numbers of sales and revenue, profits earned as per department or region, ratings received from customer satisfaction. Some dashboards have the facility to be customized according to the individual’s requirements.

There are many industries that are already making use of dashboards and getting benefitted by them in planning the organizational strategies and measuring past performance.

  • Healthcare: Dashboards are used in healthcare domain for monitoring various drifts of big problems and preventing it accordingly. They can also be used to note down the instances of certain diseases like an epidemic or pandemic etc.
  • Casinos: They make use of dashboards to find out the information related to the games that players are choosing and what is the trend of winning those games.
  • Manufacturers: Manufacturing industry also uses dashboards for collecting information in relation to production numbers and business make use of them for tracking the figure of sales.

Hence, dashboards are becoming an important part of the business and making them present their data in an organized manner. Businesses are adapting to this environment and making the best use of the derived information for achieving heights in their arena and thus making themselves familiar with Business Intelligence techniques.

Understanding the needs of businesses and the requirements of the candidates having expertise in Business intelligence, Microsoft® avails the course that can help the aspirants to have a deep knowledge of the concepts and validates their skills in the professional environment. Candidates can opt for a formal training before they plan to appear for the Certification exam.

Ways To Research Target Market

Facebook Groups

At the time of writing this, Facebook is already becoming popular these days.

One of which is groups that you can search for pertaining to your niche and joined once you registered your account.

However the same rule applies as when you are posting in forums.

Do not go about putting links. Instead take time to address people’s concerns and build relationship with them through those.

Once you have done so, you can add them as your friends, messaged them privately and then forming your own group to invite them.

Upon having your own group, you can post your affiliate links or own products and recommend whatever is best suited for them.

Meetup Groups

This is one method that internet marketers hardly talked about but it is very popular in my country Singapore.

Even though it started in US in the wake of 9/11 terrorist attacks to bring people together for fellowship and build stronger bonds.

Meetup is very similar to Facebook in such that it is a social media and networking people.

The only difference is people do not just go there to interact online but to form or join groups based on their interest and common problems.

Yahoo Answers

This is another popular avenue you may consider.

In which people asked questions about various topics and another group answering accordingly.

But because I have not posted for a long time, I am not going to elaborate on this further.

43 Things

That is another popular site in which people posted their New Year resolutions and wishes.

Find out and take note of which are the ones most frequently put up and market your products according to those.

Magazines

Magazines is another hot site.

Truth being said, publishers spend a lot of money coming up with printed publications.

Hence what they intend to write and publish must be answers addressing what most people are concerned with right now.

Google

Last but not least, you can still do research on Google.

There are 2 ways to go about doing so.

One is just typing any keyword. Upon doing so, you will see a string of other relevant long-tail keywords pertaining to the one you just entered.

You can also head down to Google Keyword Planner to find out more as in the number of people searching for those keywords, competition level as to how many sites are being put up to address and how many marketers bid for those keywords in their paid traffic ads.

Energy Management System

Need Of Energy Management System:

  • The data obtained from these can be used to produce a trend analysis for daily, weekly, monthly and annual energy consumption forecasts relative to other parameters such as production and services, etc.
  • EMS offers innovative remote access to key data for energy consumption in different locations and allows energy consumption by type of equipment, store location, fuel type or time of day and offers opportunities for energy savings.
  • Installation and implementation of energy monitoring and analysis
  • Energy management system leading to the IS 50001 as EMS program, EMS executing program, internal audit program, and team leading the organization to certification.
  • Provide training on the energy management system for senior, middle and junior managers in the organization for the awareness, implementation, and program of internal auditors for skills building.

EMS brings a wide range of experience in the energy management project for your benefit. Our specialist in software and advanced Internet applications ensures that the works for you. Our hardware supports smooth and accurate data transfer. We prefer win-win situations. EMS improves energy and improves overall performance. Energy savings will help reduce your carbon footprint.

Facilitate the management of energy use in the building or industrial facilities for benchmarking against specific parameters of production, services, area or manpower etc.

Trending and tracking power consumption with other settings on multiple sites, on mobile or tablet. Automatic and consistent response to events and alarms, reducing or avoiding downtime.

Provider a means together and see information quickly to make decisions

EMS provides transmission operators with greater insight into transmission and sub-transmission networks, With applications for State Estimation, Load Flow, Optimal Power Flow, Contingency Analysis, Fault Calculation, Optimal Topology Change, Performance Indices, and Voltage Stability, Energy EMS allows utilities to better visualize, operate, optimize, and maintain transmission.

Benefits:

  • Deep and proven knowledge of full-scale utility operations and control
  • Advanced applications for visualization, operation, optimization and maintenance of transmission and sub-transmission networks
  • Minimizing generation costs and power transmission losses and eliminate line overloads

Advantages:

  • Allows utilities to best manage transmission and sub-transmission networks
  • Based on Energy’s knowledge of advanced power applications

Build A Strong Foundation

Start off by taking a good hard look at your organizational chart. Are there measurements in place at each level that are satisfactory in proving performance? If not, take a moment to establish what is important to the organization, customers, and you in each area. Create measurements that will be regularly reported to you so you can monitor performance areas. I suggest creating the measurements in collaboration with the individual responsible for reporting to ensure that the specifics of the calculations meet your goals. If possible, perform historical measurements to show a history of years, months, and/or weeks. Make sure you include a trendline and are able to note occurrences that lead to sudden increases or decreases in productivity.

Once measurements are in place, analyze the roles of individuals and ask yourself: is this position necessary in this format or can we make improvements to individual responsibilities for efficiency? If you are overstaffed, address this immediately. If you are understaffed, work to hire and train suitable staff and show a minimum of three to six months productivity up to your standards prior to moving forward with your growth plans.

This is also a great opportunity to identify individuals from your succession planning resources for promotions in your growth strategy.

Next, take a look at your quality processes. Are you monitoring complaints and incidents? TIP: Complaints and Incidents are not merely measurements of negative interactions with customers, these are records of internal and external activities that lead to a service or product not being provided in the way intended. Each complaint and incident should be researched to identify the cause and correction. Proper procedure will permit the correction to be put in place while maintaining documentation for future monitoring. Do quality measurements exist in each area of your organization? Are there established standards and protocols, training procedures, and auditing requirements in place? If you responded no to any of these, now is the time to get these in order prior to growing your business.

Finally, be honest with yourself about your financial situation. If you are barely getting by, now may not be the best time to grow. Finding ways to improve your operational efficiency and lower your overhead costs can help. The only exception to this rule is if your growth will reduce your overhead and operational costs. Drill down into your finances and explore costs vs. income to discover areas of certain growth and areas of weakness. Take care of the weaknesses by eliminating them or improving them.

Do you have the appropriate supporting resources for your growth? This would be represented by banking loans and lines of credit, legal review of the area you will be expanding into, vendor assistance in new locations, market share opportunities, trademark and patent attorney review of new service/product lines, fully trained staff ready to take on this new endeavor, and equipment and IT capabilities.

You should be able to prepare a mock situation of your new service/product line or expansion over a five year period of time. Utilizing the information in your financial documents, create a mock situation and fine tune it so that your existing business and future growth have an even better chance of success.

7 Places to Look for a Small Business Mentor

Are you a small business owner in need of a mentor? The good news is that no matter you need mentoring advice for your day-to-day business affairs, long-term strategies or unique situations, you have more than one option. Let’s move forward to discover them, as well as find the most reliable and affordable ACH eCheck services.

Small Business Mentoring &ACH eCheck Services You Need

Mentors can help assess your current business activity, develop skills and perspective to reach success in your field. Research reveals that 70% of mentored small businesses live in their 1st 5 years. This represents almost twice the rate of non-mentored businesses.

Your success is also based on what merchant services provider you’ll choose to work with. With a true expert, you can be sure to enjoy the most secure and cheapest merchant services, including ACH eCheck services.

By the way, it’s important to figure out your pain points before turning to a mentor for advice. Let’s see where you can find them:

  • SCORE: this organization offers free advice and mentoring to companies of any type.
  • Chambers of commerce and industry and professional associations: this way, you can get advice from an instant community of people who’re well aware of your company’s mission and hardships.
  • Networking groups: they organize frequent meetings where you can build connections and find mentors to get general business advice.
  • A reputable certified public accountant (CPA): his/her experience in working with small businesses can be of great help.
  • Veterans Business Outreach Center (VOBC): this center belongs to the Small Business Administration’s Office of Veterans Business Development and aims to assist veterans who have entrepreneurial needs.
  • The Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC): this is great for female business owners looking for advice.
  • The Minority Business Development Agency: this agency operates within the Department of Congress and is a fine option for minority-owned businesses.

To sum up, if you’re starting your own business and want to find a small business mentor, there’s nothing intimidating. There’re a number of sources from where you can get the necessary advice and support to grow your business successfully.

Author Bio: Michael Hollis is a Detroit native who now lives in Los Angeles. He is an account executive who has helped hundreds of business owners with their ACH eCheck services solutions. He’s experimented with various occupations: computer programming, dog-training, scientificating… But his favorite job is the one he’s now doing full time — providing business funding for hard-working business owners across the country.

Blind Spots of Strategy Execution

The strategy that is not a strategy

The strategies defined are often reminiscent of amorphous vision à la “to be the most respected and successful company“; goal setting exercises along the lines of “to increase market share by growing faster than the market through introducing new products“; and so called strategic objectives more akin to long to-dos list. Complex power point slides, full of buzz-words describing blue-sky objectives, usually skip over their impracticability or the fact that no one has a clue as to how to get there.

Instead, a strategy should figure out which purposes are worth pursuing and capable of being accomplished – in other words, it should be about choice and focus. To achieve higher performance, leaders must spot the relevant trends, identify the strategic issues that will have the greatest impact on future business performance and define the resulting critical challenges. They then develop a coherent approach to overcome those challenges.

A good strategy thus becomes a bridge between challenge and action. It is short on vision, long on tough-minded analysis, policies and actions identifying the 5 or 6 insightful and actionable things that the business needs to do, to deliver substantially higher performance.

Leadership missing in action

For much of the last 40 years, the focus in business has been on how to create the right strategy, which is seen as the leaders’ responsibility. Most still believe that, once this has been done, it gets executed. They forget to look inside the process and the implementation then becomes a fait accompli as they delegate the implementation responsibility i.e. they take their eyes off the ball. In reality, the hardest part – implementation – is just beginning.

Two companies might have the same strategy but each organisation’s implementation is unique. Senior management must first identify what needs to be done and then lead staff members to adopt and perform the required behaviour and work. In addition, they must keep the process alive: constantly discussing, overseeing and guiding the implementation. Where new focus areas are dictated by a new strategy, they become the champions or faces of change, helping staff (at all levels) understand what the implications are for them, personally.

Seniors of the organisations that successfully implement their strategies often state that they double the effort on implementation compared to what they had spent crafting it. That obviously requires them to free up valuable time and resources, and to avoid being caught in the day-to-day management of the business, potentially losing sight of their goals to implement a strategy and, as such, taking the wrong actions.

Confusing change management with strategy implementation

Change management is a systematic approach to dealing with change (both at an organisational and individual level) but implementation is a specific approach that drives the right actions today to deliver the strategy, tomorrow. As such, change management is a flawed methodology for implementing strategy – if we keep doing the same thing, we will keep failing, and strategy will fail.

While crafting a strategy is about making the right choices – implementation is about taking the right actions and it’s the role of top management to translate the strategy into daily actions. Their biggest blind spot is the failure to recognise that implementing a strategy requires a shift in day-to-day activities throughout the organisation. Very often, little attention is paid to whether staff members are taking the right actions i.e. those that drive the implementation forward. Leaders are responsible for identifying what is no longer important to the business from the old strategy, and what is key to the new strategy – i.e. the actions they do not want staff members to do any more and the ones they want them to do differently or start doing.

Thirty years ago, management was about control and change management was designed as command and control. Now, most business have moved to empowerment and team work. The challenge thus resides in putting new models in practice that might be counter to what the organisation is currently doing and stopping doing what does not work – they must take the right actions. Many leaders use change management out of ignorance, and end up taking the wrong the actions.