11 Steps To Creating The Perfect Business Plan

What should a business plan cover? That’s the million-dollar question.

For one thing, it should offer a thorough analysis of the need for the particular product or service you are planning to offer. It also needs to talk about how you are qualified to be making such an offering to the public.

A business plan should address your strategies in terms of production and marketing, how 

creating the perfect business plan pic

you will be organized, any legal aspects that you must address, and what your accounting methods will be. In short, a business plan should address the following questions:

  • What do I want and what am I capable of doing?
  • How do I achieve my goals?
  • What can I expect from the future?

Keep in mind that there is not one specific format that you should use, or one best way to lay out your business plan. However, there are some steps you can take to make the process go a little more smoothly. We’ve listed what we think is the easiest method, below.

Step 1: Making the Commitment:

Be sure that your desire to work for yourself is truly greater than your desire to work for someone else. Working for yourself is very difficult and takes strong time management. Be sure you are ready to properly manage yourself and your business.

Step 2: Analyze yourself:

List your strengths and weaknesses. Determine how you can build off of your strengths, and improve on your weaknesses. (Get input from others) Remember, this can be a daunting task because you may have to own up to a few shortcomings you’re not prepared to recognize!

Step 3: Choose a Product or Service:  

This sounds sill, but just because you think you know what business you want to be in doesn’t mean your idea will be a profitable one. Take a look at the feasibility of your idea. What are the costs of the service/ product? Do you have a large market? Knowing the details of your product or service is critical to success.

Step 4: Research Your Market:

Marketing research is crucial to the success of any business, large or small. The more you know about your potential market, the greater your chances of securing the customers you want, right out of the gate, and that means making a profit.

Step 5: Forecast Your Sales Revenue:

After you take a look at the market your product is best suited for, estimate the percentage of that market that you think you will reasonably be able to take over. Take into account the number of competitors, their size, and the amount of market they already have. It is important to be realistic during this exercise.

Step 6: Choose a Location:

Will you have a retail storefront? Will you consult out of your home office?  What will your website look like and what is your social media plan? Be careful to weigh both your personal preferences and what makes the most sense for the ultimate success of your business. You might like the idea of working in your pajamas every day, but if your shingle needs to be seen by the public for maximum growth potential, a home office might not be your best option.

Step 7: Develop a Marketing Plan:

Here you will be forced to detail your plan to gain customers, and turn a profit. Discuss possible marketing channels, price points, advertising, and sales promotion.

Step 8: Develop an Organizational Plan:

What skills and talents does your new business need to not only survive, but to grow as well? If you don’t have all these traits, how are you going to get them in the door? Will you hire freelancers? Are you hoping to bring on an employee right away? If these individuals and their skill sets are vital to your success, do not make a plan without them!

Step 9: Decide on Your Status:

Sole proprietor? Partnership? LLC? Corporation?  You need to decide how you’re going to approach this, and investigate the legal ramifications of each situation. As a sole proprietor, you’re in control, but you’re also solely responsible. In a partnership, you share the responsibility, but you also share the decision-making and the profits. What works best for your budget AND your personality?

Step 10: Address Your Accounting:

If you don’t know how much money is coming in and out of your business, you will never know if you are making a profit, or if you need to make changes. Keeping track of your numbers is one of the single most important things you can do for your business. Decide on whether you will do it in house, or outsource it to a professional. If you take care of it yourself, decide on what software you will use.

Step 11: Put it All into Numbers:

This may or may not be necessary for you; it depends on what type of business you are starting. When you approach a financial institution for a small business loan, they will respond better if they see all of your plans in numbers; they are, after all, in the business of numbers.

So, go back through all the above steps, and assign dollar amounts to what you can. When you approach the bank, you can tell them exactly how much you need, and show them where their money will be going. You can then show them, with a number, how much of the market you are planning to corner, and your growth, by percentage, over the next X years.

Many of you may feel overwhelmed after reading this, which is completely normal. Creating a business plan is a very large, difficult project, but one with great return. This article covers the basics of a business plan, now you must take the next step and start your plan. Here at The Entrepreneurs Journals, we direct our visitors to Legal Forms for their high quality business plan package. This package is a self-guided form that assists entrepreneurs in creating their business plan. Because this is a do-it-yourself form, there are no charges for professional assistance. Legal Forms sales this kit at just $19.95. Included in this package is:

  • Business Plan Worksheet
  • Marketing Plan Worksheet, with Instructions
  • Financing Plan Worksheet, with Instructions
  • Sample Executive Summary, with Instructions
  • Instructions for Completing Your Business Plan

This is an affiliate link; however, The Entrepreneurs Journals used this exact business kit to create our business plan. We refer our viewers to this resource for the latest legal documents.  Check out this business kit and consider investing in your business plan today.

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9 Key Business Startup Success Principles

9 Key Business Startup Success Principles

If you are in the early stages of your business startup, you may be experiencing the internal ‘fear and doubt’ dialogue that can often take place in one’s mind. The following 9 Principles will help business owners launch a successful company.

Do What You Love

Ensure that you are in a business that interests you. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be in love with the product or service that you sell. However, you must enjoy aspects of the business otherwise you won’t be motivated to give it 100% of your focus. It will need a lot of your focus and energy, especially in the early stages!

To help determine this point, you could ask yourself the following types of questions:

* What do you really like to do (in a business sense)?

* Are you an ideas or action type of person? Or a bit of both?

* In which 20% of your talents do 80% of your results come from?

* In other words, where do your key skills lie?

It really all boils down to one question though – what are you really passionate about?

Niche

Another critical point which goes a long way to determining business success is your Niche. Without exception, the majority of successful business owners I know can tell you in a couple of sentences exactly what it is they love to do and why it has made them wealthy.

Without a precise understanding of your Niche, your chances for success are greatly diminished. After all, it’s very difficult to hit a target which doesn’t exist or to win a game when you don’t know what winning is.

Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve in this business venture:

* Do you want to make quick cash?

* Do you want to develop and grow a sustainable business?

* Are you interested in high cash-flow or developing assets? Or both?

* Do you have BIG aspirations or are you just looking to develop a hobby for some part-time cash?

Keep in mind that your Niche can always be adapted down the track if your situation or the market changes.

Leverage

You need to become a master of leverage. It is one of the most powerful principles in business. Everyone who is successful in business and life uses leverage in some way.

To use the concept of leverage, you need to continually examine how you can access other people’s skill, resources and money more effectively. Furthermore, consider less obvious assets in business such as systems, marketing and time.

Leverage is about duplicating a high-value item or skill at a lower cost.

I will explore this topic in depth in future articles; however, at this point it is important to remember the following points:

* Focus on Money-Making activities

* Delegate to others as much as possible

By doing this you will see an immediate increase in your ability to work on your business, rather than getting stuck in the day to day running of it.

Lateral Thinking shares an implicit relationship with Leverage…

Lateral Thinking

This is the concept of looking at things from a different point of view. You can increase profits significantly by doing simple things to Add Value in ways that others are not.

In other words, continually look at your business and ask yourself questions such as:

* How can we do, what we do, better?
* What do our clients want that they are not getting currently?
* Could we use affiliate marketing to grow our business?
* Do we currently use the internet to effectively market our business?
* Could we join forces with another business to cross-promote our products?
* Could we use our knowledge to create another product?

What I am suggesting here is to take some time out to brainstorm ideas around your business. This is difficult for most small business owners to achieve because they see this as wasted and unproductive time but nothing could be further from the truth…

Some of the most successful companies in the world allow themselves and their employee’s Lateral thinking time – Google and 3M immediately come to mind. Many of Google’s most successful products have originated from this process.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you have to take 1 day a week (as Google does) to undertake this process – they have high operating margins and therefore significant leverage. However, I would encourage you to consider opening you mind for at least couple of hours each week to explore further opportunities.

I am sure that you will find it a valuable and profitable experience if you stick to it!

Testing

If you can start your business with a clear idea of how you are going to monitor your systems, resources and assets then you will be well ahead of the pack. When most business owners are confronted with questions about their average transaction value, sales conversion ratios, enquiry and lead generation rates – they come up with varying excuses or reasons as to why they don’t know or have this vital information.

DON’T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE!!

You need to be able to calculate your ROI (Return on Investment) for everything that you do on a regular basis.

To do this, develop a set of KPI (Key Performance Indicators) that are appropriate for your business. Don’t go overboard – just focus on the information that you need. Remember that 80% of your results come from 20% of your activities! The key is to discover the 20% and keep improving them…

The other benefit of testing is that it encourages us to recognize mistakes and move on – this is a vital part of the growth process. Without action, mistakes, and growth we stagnate and/or wither at the vine!

Efficiency

Hard work doesn’t guarantee success or profits. Look at how wealth is apportioned in the world and this soon becomes apparent – 80% of the wealth is controlled by less than 10% of the population.

Personally, it took a long time for this penny to drop! The first business I owned was really just a job in disguise. I was caught in a trap that confronts many small business owners – working IN the business, rather than ON the business.

This is a critical distinction…

If significant profits and growth are what you desire, then it is critical that you become efficient and develop systems that will allow your business to work for you and not the other way around.

There is one key concept to remember when implementing anything…

Lag

Lag is the concept that you reap what you sow. In other words, if you follow the principles suggested here and persist – you will succeed!

However, your business life is going to provide you with numerous challenges and obstacles to overcome. The biggest difference between successful people and the rest is that successful people look at upsets as a chance to grow and learn rather than as failure.

When confronted by a setback, rather than giving into fear and quitting, you must continue to persist. Why? Because if your principles are sound, all you have to do is keep adjusting your methodology until you have a formula for success.

You will have a much greater chance of success in business if you keep the principle of Lag in the back of your mind, stay focused and never give up!

Timing

Timing is an essential aspect of business ownership. It also shares a close bond with decision-making and action-taking. If you continually use Lateral Thinking and Testing then you will certainly discover further opportunities. The key to successfully implementing and taking advantage of these opportunities is Timing.

As the old sayings go:

If you wait too long, you may miss the boat… (e.g. someone else capitalizes)

If you jump right in you may get your fingers burnt… (e.g. misjudged market enthusiasm)

You need to find a middle ground when it comes to Timing, because it is very difficult to time things perfectly. Combine focused analysis, gut feeling, enthusiasm and decision making together and you will be well on the way to mastering Timing and the next Principle…

Action

Successful business owners are Masters of Action. They know that Action always beats inaction. They understand that it is better to try, make a mistake, refine and re-implement than to do nothing at all. That’s because in business:

INACTION = A SLOW DEATH

Unsuccessful business owners are Masters of Excuses. Fear provides them with an endless stream of seemingly logical reasons why they shouldn’t act.

You need to make a decision right now – will you accept as doctrine your negative internal dialogue and the nay-sayers – or will you take chances and trust your experience?

I would suggest the latter…

To take Action, it is critical that you take responsibility for your situation. If you are not where you want to be, then justifying or laying blame on others will not solve the situation – it will just add fuel to your negative mindset.

A better way to respond is to focus on the gap – the 20% of activities in your business (or life) that will take you from where you are to where you want to be. Goal setting is one of the best ways to define the gap and taking Action is the best way to reduce it.

The most important Principle is that you should love what you do. Passion and attitude will play a large part in defining your success in business. Therefore, ensure that you find a Niche that you are comfortable with. After finding a niche, start building a business plan. Creating a business plan is essential to creating a successful and profitable business. Defining your target market, business layout and setting goals should be the first priority for a business startup.

 

Here at The Entrepreneurs Journals we provide many resources to assist you in your startup. The most popular item is our  Business Plan Package provided by legal form. This page includes a business plan guide, financial budgeting tools, and helpful articles on funding and needed skills.

https://www.theentrepreneursjournals.com/store/products/ultimate-business-startup-package/

 

 

7 Essential Qualities For Your Startup Team

7 qualities for your startup team

Your startup team is an essential element to your company’s success. Each employee plays a crucial role in how the company operates and develops. Entrepreneurs usually have tight budgets, so hiring the wrong worker can cause significant damage to your potential success. It helps to be picky when choosing new hires. You want to get the right people if you want your company to succeed.

Make sure that your startup team has these essential qualities:

1. Passion.

This one should go without saying, but passion is significant for your future employees to have. Your workers should love what they do, and their passion should drive them to work hard and perform well. When interviewing candidates for the position, take note on how much prior research they had done on your company and business field. Passionate candidates would know your company values and mission prior to the interview.

2. Experience.Of course, the amount of required experience varies depending on which role you are trying to fill, but it is a good idea to have employees who already know how to get the job done. Remember that you should look beyond an employee’s title or time spent in specific roles and focus on how much real-life, hands-on experience they received at their job. Carefully examine their resume for transferable skills that might be useful, even if they don’t exactly fit the job description.



3. Determination.

Your employees must be willing to work hard and put in the effort required. Determination often comes as a result of passion, discipline, and focus. Without these traits, it will be difficult for your employee to succeed. A startup needs hard workers to meet its goals. Unmotivated employees will only waste your time and money.

4. Culture.

How you shape your company culture depends on each new hire you bring to the team. You must determine what kind of company culture you want your business to have and make hiring decisions to create and develop that culture. It’s best to start the culture from the ground up. The earlier you start to build culture, the better. A company in its infancy is ready for its founder to create and foster a meaningful culture that will last for years to come.

5. Complementary skills.

Is one of your employees great at coding, but bad at marketing? Perhaps they excel at delivering speeches, but cannot deal with customers. Your startup team should have a diverse range of skills. Of course, every person has their flaws, so you need to make sure that your employees can cover other employees’ weaknesses.

6. Collaboration.

Your team will not function efficiently if the members cannot work well together. Establish a group of individuals who can work well both by themselves and with other employees. If they can work well together, they can get things done much faster and more efficiently.

7. Diversity.

It’s important that all employees are in line with your business goals and core values but a diverse workforce not only looks great for your company but also provides some very significant benefits. A team comprised of people with different backgrounds, skills, and beliefs will be able to develop a vast range of creative ideas and will know how to market towards a diverse audience. It is easiest to build a diverse team early on, so keep that in mind when looking for new hires.

Running a startup is no easy job. Smaller companies place a higher value on individual employees. You’ll need a team of well-trained individuals who can contribute their best effort to your success. Each person plays a vital role in the startup’s success, so choose wisely. Don’t be too hasty when it comes to hiring new people. It’s okay to take the right amount of time to determine who fits best in your company.

here are more articles that have valuable information your should know before your launch.

Business Plan Package LegalForm

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5 Early Mistakes Entrepreneurs Must Avoid

5 Early Mistakes All Entrepreneurs Must Avoid

As an entrepreneur, your journey will absolutely be filled with trials and error. Some mistakes can be ignored and treated as life lessons. Others are so damaging that it’s best to learn about them before it’s too late. Entrepreneurs are so focused on making enough for the company startup that they forget the small details and costly mistakes. You might learn something from them, but often it will be too costly to be worth any sort of inner growth.

Here are 5 such mistakes you should avoid from the start:

 1. Not Thinking Long-Term

One of the biggest mistakes an entrepreneur can make at the start is to focus entirely on the short-term. It might seem like a smart move, because if you can’t make it through the next month, why bother thinking about the next year? However, that kind of thinking isn’t going to get you anywhere.

It might feel presumptuous to think long-term when you haven’t even filled the office roster yet, but it’s something that should be done from the very start. Every decision you make, from how you construct the startup systems to the people you hire, will have a direct impact on how the company functions as it grows. Keep an eye on the horizon, or you may go in circles.

 2. Putting the Company on Your Shoulders

There’s no doubt – you will often be the most important person in the company. As the founder and entrepreneur, the buck stops with you. How the company moves and innovates is affected by your decisions. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re the only valuable person.

You might feel unstoppable when you’re first starting out, but after a while, the daily grind will get to you. You’ll also realize that you can’t be everywhere at once and that you can only do so much, even with a wide skill set. Don’t put the startup on your shoulders alone. Distribute responsibilities and delegate tasks. Focus on the big picture, and let smaller responsibilities and tasks fall on other people.

Here is an article to help you pick the right startup team. 7 Essential Qualities to Look For in Your Startup Team



 3. Ignoring Your Social Media Presence

Most entrepreneurs know how valuable social media is. What most don’t know is that it’s not limited to their business’s presence. Your company’s pages are important, but so is your own presence.

Personal branding is of critical importance in today’s marketing environment, especially for entrepreneurs. Since your startup is new, it has nothing to offer in terms of history or experience. People will flock towards what they trust, and you and your company haven’t earned that yet. However, a strongly developed personal brand can substitute for your startup’s lack of history, which can give you a foot in the door. Your personal brand is important because it gives your startup a face. It makes it more relatable, even likable, which helps in getting those critical initial customers.

 4. Not Networking

Many entrepreneurs put their focus towards the internal workings of the company at the start. While that’s OK, that shouldn’t be where all the focus is. Who you know is often just as important as what you know. Without the right network, you’ll have trouble getting good deals or even just getting the attention of important partners, influencers, and manufacturers.

Go out to conventions. Reply to messages from industry personalities and authorities. Don’t let your relentless focus lock-on to your startup. Take the time to build your network and it’ll pay off when that same network opens doors for you.

 5. Not Valuing Your Time

Time is figuratively money, because the time you put into your startup is presumably going to make you money one way or another. Time is also the resource most undervalued by many entrepreneurs. Some give away their time by offering free consultation in an effort to promote their company and expertise. Others listen to clients who obviously can’t afford what their offering. Your time, when spent professionally, has value attached to it. Put a number on it.

Throughout your entrepreneurial journey, you will make mistakes. Mistakes are learning points, but fortunately, you don’t have to make the error yourself to learn. As an entrepreneur, you can look at what has come before you and learn from your predecessors. Let any errors you make lead to brand new practices. Don’t make mistakes people have already made.

5 Accounting Tips Every Small Business Should Understand

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How to Improve Time Management at Work

Regardless of the profession that you are in, you may feel bombarded by multiple tasks hitting your to-do list all at the same time. It is easy to get stressed out when this happens, and you wonder how you will have time to complete everything that needs to be done. Time management is the key to your dilemma, and you can easily dig through your list of things to do when you have the right time management strategy in place.

Here are 3 tips to improving time management

Avoid Multi-Tasking

Multi-tasking is a popular buzz word, and some people love to brag about how many proverbial balls they can juggle at work at one time. However, some studies have proven that multi-tasking actually takes up more time than focusing on one task at a time fully. Therefore, avoid multi-tasking, and use a strategy of focusing on one action item at a time.

Make a To-Do List

Another step to take to improve time management at work is to make a to-do list. Prioritize your items in terms of importance as well as due dates and times. By doing so, you may realize that you have more time to complete the items than you thought you did. Take a deep breath, and jump into the first item on your list wholeheartedly. Complete it fully before moving on to action item number two.

Eliminate Distractions

There are numerous distractions in most workplaces, and there are often steps that you can take to eliminate some distractions. For example, if the person in the next cubicle distracts you when he is on the phone, you can invest in earplugs or use headphones to listen to light music while you work. Identify what your distractions are, and take steps to eliminate them strategically.

Time management is important in the workplace. It can increase productivity and efficiency dramatically, and this can help you to get through even your busiest days successfully. Take time to explore these tips, and adopt them into your workday to improve time management.

 

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7 Essential Qualities For Your Startup Team