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20 Reasons Why You Need a Business Plan

20 Reasons Why You Need a Business Plan | business plan template | Scoop.it

20 Reasons Why You Need a Business Plan

Written by Pete Kennedy on Wednesday, April 9, 2008

1. To prove that you’re serious about your business. A formal business plan is necessary to show all interested parties -- employees, investors, partners and yourself -- that you are committed to building the business.

2. To establish business milestones. The business plan should clearly lay out the long-term milestones that are most important to the success of your business. To paraphrase Guy Kawasaki, a milestone is something significant enough to come home and tell your spouse about (without boring him or her to death). Would you tell your spouse that you tweaked the company brochure? Probably not. But you'd certainly share the news that you launched your new website or reached $1M in annual revenues.

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3. To better understand your competition. Creating the business plan forces you to analyze the competition. All companies have competition in the form of either direct or indirect competitors, and it is critical to understand your company's competitive advantages.

4. To better understand your customer. Why do they buy when they buy? Why don’t they when they don't? An in-depth customer analysis is essential to an effective business plan and to a successful business.

5. To enunciate previously unstated assumptions.
The process of actually writing the business plan helps to bring previously "hidden" assumptions to the foreground. By writing them down and assessing them, you can test them and analyze their validity.

6. To assess the feasibility of your venture. How good is this opportunity? The business plan process involves researching your target market, as well as the competitive landscape, and serves as a feasibility study for the success of your venture.


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7. To document your revenue model. How exactly will your business make money? This is a critical question to answer in writing, for yourself and your investors. Documenting the revenue model helps to address challenges and assumptions associated with the model.

8. To determine your financial needs. Does your business need to raise capital? How much? The business plan creation process helps you to determine exactly how much capital you need and what you will use it for. This process is essential for raising capital for business and for effectively employing the capital.

9. To attract investors. A formal business plan is the basis for financing proposals. The business plan answers investors' questions such as: Is there a need for this product/service? What are the financial projections? What is the company's exit strategy?

10. To reduce the risk of pursuing the wrong opportunity. The process of creating the business plan helps to minimize opportunity costs. Writing the business plan helps you assess the attractiveness of this particular opportunity, versus other opportunities.

11. To force you to research and really know your market. What are the most important trends in your industry? What are the greatest threats to your industry? Is the market growing or shrinking? What is the size of the target market for your product/service? Creating the business plan will help you to gain a wider, deeper, and more nuanced understanding of your marketplace.


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12. To attract employees and a management team. To attract and retain top quality talent, a business plan is necessary. The business plan inspires employees and management that the idea is sound and that the business is poised to achieve its strategic goals.

13. To plot your course and focus your efforts. The business plan provides a roadmap from which to operate, and to look to for direction in times of doubt. Without a business plan, you may shift your short-term strategies constantly without a view to your long-term milestones.

14. To attract partners. Partners also want to see a business plan, in order to determine whether it is worth partnering with your business. Establishing partnerships often requires time and capital, and companies will be more likely to partner with your venture if they can read a detailed explanation of your company.

15. To position your brand. Creating the business plan helps to define your company's role in the marketplace. This definition allows you to succinctly describe the business and position the brand to customers, investors, and partners.

16. To judge the success of your business. A formal business plan allows you to compare actual operational results versus the business plan itself. In this way, it allows you to clearly see whether you have achieved your strategic, financing, and operational goals (and why you have or have not).

17. To reposition your business to deal with changing conditions. For example, during difficult economic conditions, if your current sales and operational models aren’t working, you can rewrite your business plan to define, try, and validate new ideas and strategies.

18. To document your marketing plan. How are you going to reach your customers? How will you retain them? What is your advertising budget? What price will you charge? A well-documented marketing plan is essential to the growth of a business.

19. To understand and forecast your company’s staffing needs. After completing your business plan, you will not be surprised when you are suddenly short-handed. Rather, your business plan provides a roadmap for your staffing needs, and thus helps to ensure smoother expansion.

20. To uncover new opportunities. Through the process of brainstorming, white-boarding and creative interviewing, you will likely see your business in a different light. As a result, you will often come up with new ideas for marketing your product/service and running your business.

 

 

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About Growthink

Since 1999, Growthink's business plan experts have assisted more than 1,500 clients in launching and growing their businesses, and raising more than $2 billion in growth financing.

Need help with your business plan? 

  • Speak with a professional business plan writer today.

  • Or, if you're creating your own PPM, you can save time and money with Growthink's new private placement memorandum template.

 

Dj Baker says

I find this a very simple, yet effective, breakdown of the reasons why a business plan is absolutely essential. From personal experience these 20 reasons our very much the truth. It is also very reassuring to know that there are trustworthy sites out there who do contain valuable information. Much appreciated, Dj
Posted at 5:24 pm
dan says

thanks for the news letter, we are in the air cooling business. using air conditioners. we supply LG units. our major challanges has for the last 6 months been reliable suppliers of LG products at a competitives price. we do not have enough money to qualify as dealers hence we depend on thers, when i read the 20 reasons , i reflected to find out why our clients buy from us , and why others do not. thank you.
Posted at 5:19 am
Sindi says

Thanks for this article. It is indeed a great eye opener for me. Didn't realise there's so much a business plan can reveal about any enterprise.
Posted at 1:49 pm
Mohammed Ajmal says

Thanks for the all this valuable info free of cost.
Posted at 11:22 am
manas says

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Posted at 1:53 am
Suzanne Muusers says

Just found this post. What a great list of reasons to write a business plan. I particularly like: 13. To plot your course and focus your efforts. All too often I meet entrepreneurs who have been running their business for years without a business plan, and their business shows it. Writing a business plan creates the INTENTIONS and structure for success. Thank you, Suzanne
Posted at 11:41 am
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I'm preparing on opening a flavored coffee bar in San Diego and my company companion is heading to leave his work and operate the business, even though I ongoing to operate my day time job. Would it be much better for each of us to leave our careers in dive in mind first? Or mainly because I possess a company companion prepared to operate it entire time to remain at my present work and never arrive right up until the company is established?
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Samantha says

I think if you are looking forward to have a business then you must have a very well structured plan otherwise your business might not bring any good to you. Sam from Calgary Listings
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Sometimes I wonder how can someone start a business without a plan but there are people who actually do that but I'm sure their business doesn't last for long. The things that you mentioned above are absolutely necessary. Thanks - hemorrojder
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Check this "Review of Growthink's Business Plan Template":

 http://www.business-funding-insider.com/business-plan-template.html



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Don't Forget to Write a Business Plan

Don't Forget to Write a Business Plan | business plan template | Scoop.it

Some entrepreneurship advocates have suggested that would-be entrepreneurs abandon the writing of business plans. In the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship, business plans are obsolete, they say. To these observers, entrepreneurs are better off just acting, pivoting when they get something wrong, rather than taking the time to write plans.

But, before you give up on the idea of writing a business plan, you should consider the multitude of benefits that business plans provide. Careful academic research shows that writing a business plan helps entrepreneurs to turn their business ideas into reality, more than doubling the odds that those beginning the start-up process will progress to becoming owners of up-and-running companies...

Writing a business plan offers four benefits.

To read the full article, click on the title or image





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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent article. It gives four reasons for writing a business plan, bringing the odds of succeeding with your business in your favor.

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The Money Source Entrepreneurs Often Overlook

The Money Source Entrepreneurs Often Overlook | business plan template | Scoop.it
Corporate venture capital has been quietly reborn over the last ten years. Many entrepreneurs do not consider how much the value proposition of corporate venture investors has improved. Across a range of situations, I'm generally quite happy with the role and value add of my corporate co-investors. It's a good time to look again.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Corporations can add a lot of value to your business, and vice versa. Don't underestimate this option.

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SBA's Plan for Getting More Money into the Hands of Minority Business Owners

Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet lays out her plan for economic growth.

The Small Business Administration's newest boss Maria Contreras-Sweet laid out her plans for economic growth on Tuesday, signalling that the smallest businesses will be the cornerstone of a new lending initiative. 

Speaking at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., she unveiled a new program the SBA hopes will get more smaller loans to entrepreneurs, primarily through its flagship 7(a) program. The SBA acts as a backstop for these loans, which can be as high as $5 million. Banks originate the loans and benefit from a federal guarantee against default.

Although the SBA has reached record levels of lending since the recession, many critics have called to task the SBA and banks in its program for making too many big loans that are in the end more profitable for banks. Typically, businesses owned by minorities and immigrants take out smaller loans, and Contreras-Sweet drew heavily on her own experience as a minority entrpreneur and immigrant to drive the point home of why changes are in order.

"I immigrated to this country from Guadalajara at the age of five, not speaking a word of English," Contreras-Sweet said. "My mother worked at a poultry processing plant so her six children could have opportunities she never had."

To read the full article, click on the title or image.



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Via Sandra Brevett-Dib, Marc Kneepkens
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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, June 11, 8:14 AM

The SBA is trying hard to get money to you for your small business or startup. Interesting article. Consider getting funded by the SBA. If you need help with the paperwork, let me know.

Use the contact form on www.Business-Funding-Insider.com

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Business Plans – Friend or Foe?

For all the entrepreneurs reading this article, one of the first pieces of advice you probably received (although I’m sure you already knew it) was to write a Business Plan. After all, a strong Business Plan is critical to the success of every business…or is it?

Business Plans come in various formats, with many organizations, professional writers and software programs to assist in the development of the plan. So why should I spend the time and resources in creating a Business Plan? It’s a tool that is critical to the success of every small and emerging business.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.



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Via Ivan Berlocher
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Business plans are road maps to success. It's better to have them than to wander around in the dark.

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Should startups write a business plan? 8 reasons why we think startups should!

Should startups write a business plan? 8 reasons why we think startups should! | business plan template | Scoop.it

There could be a number of reasons as to why you might need to write a comprehensive business plan, whether this is at the start of your company’s life or at a later date:
• Making a loan application
• Seeking investment
• Seeking to acquire a company
• Seeking a major contract or other significant business partnership
• Applying for authorisation from a regulator
• Simply to act as a guide to directors and staff on a course of action to be followed
In this article, we look at some of the things that might need to be included in a business plan.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Of course startups should. Too many failures are caused by poor business planning. The business plan will be a source of information for yourself, your team, your consultants or mentors, your investors, and more.

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Scared Someone Will Laugh at Your Ideas?

Scared Someone Will Laugh at Your Ideas? | business plan template | Scoop.it

Ever noticed that whenever Facebook implements a new design change on their website, just how many people crib and rant about the change?

Most people are habituated in the way they use products and services and any change, even the slightest brings about a sudden reaction of resistance.

When you introduce your new path-breaking, never been done before idea to these people, would you expect a different response?

When you’re talking to people about your ideas, you’re typically looking for a positive response or words of encouragement. That seldom happens when people are presented with new ideas that they cannot instantly connect with or compare with what’s already done in the past.

It’s a norm that creative people are appreciated and rewarded. But in reality, creativity is rarely acknowledged. In fact, most people don’t actually like it!

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Change always comes with resistance. It takes a while before anything really new can fit in the thought structures and patters of habit. Don't get discouraged, just make sure for yourself that what you have is really valuable. Then start writing that business plan.

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The 8-Step Checklist To Starting A Business In 10 Days

The 8-Step Checklist To Starting A Business In 10 Days | business plan template | Scoop.it
Starting a business in just 10 days? Sounds a bit like a get-rich scheme. We’ve all been taught if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.

Recently, Entrepreneur Magazine ran an article: How to Start a Business in 10 Days.  Writer, David Port called his article a “highly-focused, DIY accelerator to launching a business.”

Now you all know that we like optimism as much as the next guy.  But starting a business in just 10 days?  Sounds a bit like a get-rich scheme from an infomercial. We’ve all been taught if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.

But in this case, the article is chock-full of really solid business advice.

By following the steps from the article and the extra tips we’ve thrown in, you CAN lay the foundation for a highly-successful and profitable business in 8 easy steps – and maybe even within 10 days.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Point 2: Develop a solid Business Plan.

“Business plans are inherently strategic. You start here, today, with certain resources and abilities. You want to get to a there, a point in the future (usually three to five years out) at which time your business will have a different set of resources and abilities as well as greater profitability and increased assets. Your plan shows how you will get from here to there.”


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Want to Own a Business? Here is a Reality Check First

Want to Own a Business? Here is a Reality Check First | business plan template | Scoop.it
Starting a business is tough, possibly tougher than anything you have ever done in your life. Are you ready to hustle?

Starting and owning your own business is the American dream. But dreams are…well…often far from reality. When you’re starting your own business, the reality is that you might end up eating a lot of peanut butter and mac-and-cheese for years and years. So, if you’re accustomed to taking your steady paycheck and dining out, you’re in for a rude awakening.

Starting a business is tough, possibly tougher than anything you’ve ever done in your life. So right away, get rid of any grand notions that it will be easy or that you’ll get rich quick. There may be times when you’ll just be happy if your basic needs are met: Food, water, shelter — check.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

"Get ready to do many things you may not particularly like. Writing. Public speaking. Reading and comprehending lots of boring material, like contracts. Completing mountains of paperwork until the wee hours of the morning. Bookkeeping. Filling out tax forms. Sound like fun?"

Great article. Think well, then commit and don't look back.

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Where To Find Financing For Your Start Up Business

Where To Find Financing For Your Start Up Business | business plan template | Scoop.it

Starting a business? Obtaining start up business financing can be difficult. Here are some financial instruments you can utilize to finance your new business.

Steps To Take Before Approaching A Financial Source

Before you approach any lending source, a new business should have:

  1. A Business Plan.  There are plenty of good software on the market that can help you create a good business plan.  Remember this is the first contact a financier will have with you and your business.   You don’t want a poorly written business plan killing your chances of getting approved.   Your business plan should clearly presents the nature of the business, the type of business proposed, the business’s target market, the business’s owner/s experience in the industry, a clearly defined use of funds, and other important financial information.
  2. Pull your own credit. Keep in mind that all financial sources will pull a credit report .  If you have any credit problems, firstly try to fix them.  If you have done all you can to improve your credit and there are still some blemishes, include a letter of explanation.  Secondly, always make sure the banks you approach work with people with your particular credit score.  If you have C credit don’t approach an A credit bank!

To read the full article, click on the image or title.


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Via Sophia Anne Walker
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Introductory article with some good ideas on how to get financing.

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Sophia Anne Walker's curator insight, February 14, 3:24 AM

Know your options. Learn about the requirements and qualify with less stress and worries.

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Why Business Loans Get Rejected

Why Business Loans Get Rejected | business plan template | Scoop.it
Several recent news reports suggest businesses are finding it easier to get bank loans or other forms of financing. That would be good news for the economy, because access to capital, especially access by privately held companies, is a crucial component of job and economic growth. But a lot of times, business owners may get turned down for a loan and not know exactly why.

Pepperdine’s research found the top reason banks rejected a business loan application was the quality of the applicant’s earnings or cash flow. Insufficient collateral and debt load were the next most common reasons, according to the banks surveyed.“Quality of earnings” can mean different things to different lenders. But generally, having high-quality earnings means a company’s financial statements show stable, persistent and predictable earnings that are related to the core business. Similarly, the quality of a company’s cash flow refers to whether the cash generated by the business is largely driven by nonrecurring sources of cash or by something unusual, such as slowing payments to vendors.“If earnings were higher this year but it’s because you had a big profit from a real estate deal and you’re a dry cleaner, that doesn’t count,” Everett said.


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The same old funding rejection. Of course it's easier to borrow

$100 million dollars than 1 million. This article gives some reasons that will make you think about how to present your case and what to look out for before applying for funding. The problem is that small businesses are so very personal.

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How to raise money for your idea - david hieatt

How to raise money for your idea - david hieatt | business plan template | Scoop.it
I get asked this a lot. But I’ll be honest with you, I am no expert. I have had to learn a lot of this stuff the hard way. Mistakes are good teachers, if you don’t repeat them. I share this in the hope of it being of some use. 1, The shares you sell at the beginning will cost you the most. The shares you sell at the beginning are the ones you get the least amount of money for, and yet cost you the most in terms of the percentage of equity you have to give away. You...

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

I like #11:

11, Nobody likes doing business plans. But, you have to show that you have done the thinking.

Doing business plans is a pain. But not as painful as going out of business because you didn’t think it through.


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StartupVitamins: Quotes for Startups, Entrepreneurs & Offices

StartupVitamins: Quotes for Startups, Entrepreneurs & Offices | business plan template | Scoop.it

Startup Vitamins provides inspiration and motivation for startups - and supports them too!Startup Vitamins is a recently launched project, which offers inspiring posters with sayings from industry leaders such as Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Jason Fried, and more.Profit from sold posters goes towards supporting various organizations, which develop and bring value to the startup community. Currently profits are split between StartupWeekend and Garage48, both of which help ideas come to life around the world.


See more cool Quotes? Want it in your office? Order a Poster, Canvas, Mug, T-shirt or Framed Print from StartupVitamins . Click here, support Startups, motivate yourself.

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

VC's, Angel Investors, banks, loan agents, grant providers, none of them will base their decisions on what you are telling them you will do in the future. They need to see where you are coming from. What have you accomplished so far? What's in your resume? What is your team like? What are your skills? "What d' you got?"

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StartupVitamins: Quotes for Startups & Offices

StartupVitamins: Quotes for Startups & Offices | business plan template | Scoop.it



Startup Vitamins provides inspiration and motivation for startups - and supports them too!
Startup Vitamins is a recently launched project, which offers inspiring posters with sayings from industry leaders such as Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Jason Fried, and more.

Profit from sold posters goes towards supporting various organizations, which develop and bring value to the startup community. Currently profits are split between StartupWeekend and Garage48, both of which help ideas come to life around the world.



See more Quotes? Want it in your office? Order a Poster, Canvas, Mug, Sticker or Framed Print from StartupVitamins . Click here, support Startups, motivate yourself.

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Sometimes you just need to take a big breath, close your eyes, and say to yourself: "Let's do it". Get Shit Done!

You know you need that Business or Marketing Plan, jump in it with both your feet and get your hands and brain moving. Do it!


Here's a free business plan template, to get you started:

http://www.business-funding-insider.com/free-business-plan-template.html

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A Business Plan Can Be Your Guide to Growth - Henssler Financial Blog

Whether you're a current business owner or a budding entrepreneur burning with the next great idea, one of the most important steps you can take on your road to success is creating a business plan. Why? A well-thought-out and well-written business plan captures your vision, illustrates it for others (including potential lenders and investors), and creates the roadmap you and your management team need to guide you through the growth of your business. Consider the following points:

If you're a current business owner, you probably feel like you're always working to close the next big deal, juggling financials, or responding to the latest crisis. Remember, however, that it's important to periodically climb out of the trees and take a good, hard look at the forest. A business plan can help you do just that: take stock of where you've been and lay the groundwork for where you're headed.

If you're a budding entrepreneur, a business plan can help you raise money. It will help prove to potential investors and lenders that your idea is worth funding.

For both current and potential business owners, the process of creating a business plan can prove beneficial by revealing potential risks and uncovering opportunities that may not otherwise be apparent.

To read the full article, click on the title or image.



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

A business plan gives direction, understanding, access to funding and necessary planning information.

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Why Don't All Entrepreneurs Write Business Plans?

Why Don't All Entrepreneurs Write Business Plans? | business plan template | Scoop.it
Studies show that writing a business plan helps entrepreneurs in a number of ways, including improving their odds of successfully developing a new product, organizing a company, accessing external capital, obtaining raw materials, obtaining sales, and surviving over time.

Via Laurent Timmermans
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

In some cases it may be better to wait until you have a successful business model, tested and tried. Then you can start building and making projections.



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Laurent Timmermans's curator insight, February 26, 3:52 AM

Another reason may simply be "laziness" 

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Starting a Business: 7 Things Every Business Plan Should Cover

Starting a Business: 7 Things Every Business Plan Should Cover | business plan template | Scoop.it
Before you start lining up investors, or borrowing money for startup costs, here are some tips for creating a business plan that will help you map out your entrepreneurial journey.

Vision, drive and commitment are all important to starting a new business. However, focus is what is going to help your business be one that succeeds where others often fail. Your point of focus is your business plan.

Consider it your roadmap towards being profitable.

To read the full article, click on the title.



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The main factors you need to cover in your business plan.

For a good business plan template, check out Growthink: http://www.business-funding-insider.com/business-plan-template.html

or get a free business plan template from them.

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How One Woman Paid Off $23,000 Of Debt In 15 Months

How One Woman Paid Off $23,000 Of Debt In 15 Months | business plan template | Scoop.it
Anna Newell Jones created her own system for paying off debt: The Spending Fast.

In 2009, Anna Newell Jones was deep in debt — $23,605.10 to be exact.

"I felt hopeless about money, and the whole idea of trying to get out of debt was such a drag," recalls Newell Jones. "Not surprisingly, I did everything I could to avoid the topic."

Of her debts, which included credit cards, student loans, and a personal loan from her parents for college tuition and expenses, Newell Jones first felt the sting of her credit cards.

"Credit card debt is so stigmatized that I felt like crap for getting myself into that mess," she says. "I thought that if I could only get rid of my credit card debt, I'd feel a lot better."

Newly married and eager to be out of debt once and for all, Newell Jones chose a drastic course of action: a year-long spending fast.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Money management is very important for startups and small businesses. Good tools for getting out of debt, or not getting into it, are essential. This article provides great insights.

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The six elements you need in your business plan

The six elements you need in your business plan | business plan template | Scoop.it
If you are considering becoming a franchisee it is important to know how to put together a business plan. One of the biggest causes of failure for any venture is a lack of planning and preparation. A good business plan can help you strategise, manage and navigate your new endeavour by detailing how you will achieve your business goals.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

This article is written for the franchise business. However, it describes all the important steps a good business plan needs. Good information.

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Do You Make Any of these 7 Deadly Proposal Writing Mistakes? - No-Nonsense Marketing

Do You Make Any of these 7 Deadly Proposal Writing Mistakes? - No-Nonsense Marketing | business plan template | Scoop.it

For many of us, proposal writing is often more black art than science. Many of the coaches, consultants and other professionals who I talk to admit to losing more sleep over proposal writing than most other facets of their business. But it doesn’t have to be that way… Here are seven deadly deal busters including the most lethal one of all. Avoiding them will help your cash register ring more often!

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

An investment proposal is a similar concept. Find out what there is to learn in this article.

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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, April 21, 9:30 AM

Investment proposals are not much different than business proposals. This article is a good read for someone courting an investor.

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Lies, Damned Lies, and Social Media Entrepreneurspeak - GoodBusiness

Lies, Damned Lies, and Social Media Entrepreneurspeak - GoodBusiness | business plan template | Scoop.it
There's lots of social media fiction (lies) about entrepreneurship. Some is uninformed, some is funny... and some can bankrupt you. Here are my "favorites".

“I’m starting my business because I want to be my own boss"

So you actually started your business and now you’ve discovered the awful truth. You have as many bosses as you have customers. Worse yet, if you’re really succeeding, you’re getting stuck with more bosses and they’re becoming more demanding. In a highly regulated business the regulators also want to show you “who’s the boss”… and they can. Not, like customers, because they buy your products, but because as regulators can say “no” and make it stick.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

I like this one: “Entrepreneurship is about risk-taking"

The “entrepreneurs” who swallowed this fiction are now former entrepreneurs. The rest of us are trying NOT to take risks.

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How to Create a Winning Business Plan For Your Startup Business - YouTube

http://www.StartupBusinessLoans.com/reasearch Contains recommended business plan details necessary for acquiring new business financing. Get the inside scoop...

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Via Sophia Anne Walker
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Good overview of what needs to be in your business plan. For more information go to www.Business-Funding-Insider.com for articles, blog, tools, free templates.

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innocent elijah's curator insight, April 28, 12:04 PM

ESTABLISHING A DRILLING FLUID MANUFACTURING AND OIL FIELD SERVICING COMPANY

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10 Things Not to Do with Your Business Plan

10 Things Not to Do with Your Business Plan | business plan template | Scoop.it

This is a guest post from Veechi Curtis, author of the new book Creating a Business Plan For Dummies.

Business plans are never foolproof. You can, however, minimise the risk of putting together a poorly constructed plan if you know what to do — and what not to do as you develop your company’s documented direction for the future.

Don’t forget the basics in your business plan.

While acknowledging that any business plan created in only a couple of days is going to be a tad dodgy, you still want to give your plan its best chance. So whatever you do, don’t forget the basics.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent advice. The 10 reasons are very real. Worthwhile reading.


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Your business plan: Exploring the market

Your business plan: Exploring the market | business plan template | Scoop.it
Explaining the market for your product or service is one of the most important parts of your business plan. So do it right, even if it requires extensive research.

A section of your business plan devoted to explaining the potential market for your business or service is designed to convince an investor, potential partner or other reader that your business has enough customers in a growing industry, and can garner sales despite the competition. It is one of the most important parts of the plan, taking into account current market size and trends, and may require extensive research. Many of the sections that follow - from manufacturing to marketing to the amount of money you need - will be based on the sales estimates you create here. Customers Market Size and Trends Competition Estimated Sales

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Some good information on describing your market.

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Making a Business Plan: What 10 Experts Have to Say about Creating a Winning Plan | Entrepreneur Magazine

Making a Business Plan: What 10 Experts Have to Say about Creating a Winning Plan | Entrepreneur Magazine | business plan template | Scoop.it


Top tips from professionals that have seen their fair share of business plans.

“Thank you, but we don’t believe this plan will work.” The dreaded words no entrepreneur wants to here after pitching their business plan. Many rejections and failures would be avoided if only entrepreneurs had a better grip on how a business plan should be made.

And what better way to understand what investors are looking for than to learn from business plan experts who see 100s of plans every year? Below are 10 expert tips and lessons you can use to create a stand-out business plan that screams success:

It’s the ‘business think’ that goes on behind the business plan that enables your business to fly. – Allon Raiz: Founder and CEO of Raizcorp (Africa’s leading business incubator) 

Why this matters:

It’s not enough to simply follow a template to the letter and not have an in-depth understanding of your industry, customers, team and potential challenges. Investors need to know that you have the best possible understanding of the workings behind your business as well as who you are as an entrepreneur.

What you should do about it:

Do your research and stress-test your assumptions to ensure your idea will be both viable and sustainable. Be involved with writing your business plan instead of getting someone to do it for you. Know your way around every part of your business.


Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km

 

Business plans that are all of five pages long, and terrible plans that are 50 pages long. Write it on a “need to know” basis. – Martin Feinstein: Chairman of Enablis (Entrepreneurial Development Network)

Why this matters:

If you think that making a business plan means spending hours on a thick and detailed document, you’re wrong. Ask yourself what the bare necessities are and build on those points but only if it’s truly necessary. Don’t go overboard with the design either. It’s ok to be creative but you’re there to talk business.

What you should do about it:

In business, clarity and focus are both powerful assets. Strive to embed these principles in your plan.  Ask yourself what the investor would gain from the information you want to add to your business plan and if it’s not something that you could rather elaborate on verbally if asked to.

 

The executive summary, all one page of it, is the most important part of a business plan. If it isn’t fantastic, eyeball-sucking, and pulse-altering, people won’t read beyond it. You should spend eighty percent of your effort on writing a great executive summary and twenty percent on the rest of the plan. – Guy Kawasaki, Best-selling author, speaker and investor

 

Why this matters:

Typically investors go directly to your executive summary, if you fail to capture their attention and interest there, you will have lost them.  Think of ways to pull your reader in immediately. Use strong wording that jumps out at you and keeps you enthralled. There are many ways to achieve this and still come across as professional.

What you should do about it:

Have trusted business-savvy acquanitences read your executive summary and invite honest criticism. If you are looking for funding test your plan out before submitting it. Make an appointment with funding agencies and organisations to pitch and invite feedback – use the input to improve your business plan.

Remind yourself about why you are passionate about your business, what you can bring to your customers and why you’re different. Now convey this powerfully and simplistically.


It is imperative to assess other business models in your industry. From this you need to extrapolate, devise and fine-tune a practical business model that will work for you. Individualize it with your own personal stamp that will differentiate it from others, while keeping in mind that it needs to be workable and not merely an impressive plan in theory. –  Andre Diederichs: SMME Specialist at Old Mutual (International Financial Services Group)

 

Why this matters:

One of the factors that contributes to start-up failure is a founder’s ignorance of the factors that influence their chosen industry. You need to understand how your business will function every day. In other words, how will you make money? Explain how you will reach and acquire customers, cost structures, profit margins and how you will generate revenue.

What you should do about it:

Research how other companies in your sector function. What processes do they follow to get their product to the right customers and what can you learn? You might even find ways that you can innovate and change things up.


Make it clear and concise and include hard facts. Think maximum impact and minimum fluff. Reveal your passion, drive and determination plus a clear snapshot of your business. Know your market, your figures and forecasts and the risks involved. Be aware of competition and be able to provide evidence to support your claims. Get to know your figures inside out. Peter Jones: Entrepreneur & Dragons’ Den Pannelist (Reality Business TV Show)

Why this matters:

If you are unable to convey your business idea clearly and conscisely it is unlikely that your target market will understand your message or value proposition.  Strive for simplicity when you convey your ideas in your business plan and be armed with the research to back up your claims and assumptions.

What you should do about it:

Do “the mom test”. Explain your business idea to your mom, if she doesn’t “get it” in 60 seconds go back and rework it until it is clear and easy to grasp.

Have a reason for all your facts and claims. List your sources in the plan to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the road ahead.

 

The financials can enhance or harm your business plan’s chances in the capital-raising process. By doing the research to develop realistic assumptions, based on actual results of your or other companies, the financials can bolster your firm’s chances of winning investors. – Nadine Todd: Editor Entrepreneur Magazine (SA’s top read business publication)

Why this matters:

Figures can seem a bit intimidating but they are very important when you make your business plan. Whether you are bootstrapping or approaching an investor you need to be able to plan, project and prepare for all expenses.

What you should do about it:

Don’t thumbsuck your numbers, investors have a good idea of what’s realistic. Dig deep so that you can answer any questions that are thrown at you. If you are not comfortable with spreadsheets and calculations, rope in the assistance of a professional accountant.

 

Writing a business plan isn’t that difficult. There are hundreds of templates around, and hundreds of others have been written that you can examine for reference. Once you’ve written it, you can hire an editor to help you clean it up so its easy to read and makes logical sense.  Doug Richards: Founder of School for Start Ups (Entrepreneurial Education Centre)

Why this matters:

There are loads of great templates you can use when creating a business plan. Just be sure to make it your own and specific to your business otherwise it’s not going to be much use to you.

What you should do about it:

Download a business plan template here, customise it and give it someone you trust to read in order to get feedback.

If you are making a plan specifically for funding, approach the funding organsation/s first and request their template – most funders have specific requirements for the contents and layout of the plans access.

 

The biggest mistake people make is to oversell – they want to tell the whole story in the first meeting. Don’t. Tell just enough of the story to show that you know what you’re talking about and are going to make it work, with or without the investor. When you’ve pitched enough to intrigue the listener, stop talking and let them think and ask questions. You want to be at an intersection, not going down a one-way street. – Martin Feinstein: Chairman of Enablis (Entrepreneurial Development Network)

Why this matters:

Many entrepreneurs tend to overthink things once they get a meeting with an investor. Let your business plan do the in-depth talking while you give the bullet points in an oral presentation. Effective selling is as much about listening as it is about speaking. Know when to talk, and when to be quiet and listen.

What you should do about it:

Prepare and practice your presentation! Show investors that you’re confident, passionate and knowledgeable but don’t ramble on about irrelevant details.

 

Your marketing plan should include a sales strategy, advertising strategy [pamphlets, signage, media advertising, PR etc], promotional strategy etc. Marketing represents a client or customer’s holistic view of your business. It is therefore of paramount importance not to ignore your marketing processes. – Andre Diedrichs: SMME Specialist at Old Mutual (International Financial Services Group)

Why this matters:

Sales means money and money is important to investors so they need to know what your projections are. Marketing is there to assist sales so it’s important to note what your plan is.

What you should do about it:

Give a brief explanation of how you will be pushing your marketing message and why so that potential investors have an understanding of how you will be backing up your sales efforts.

 

Set a schedule to review your business plan and revise it at least once a month. Understand that it becomes obsolete in weeks. – Tim Berry, Founder Paolo Alto Software (The world-leading business plan software company)

Why this matters:

Goals, markets and processes change and your plan should to.

What you should do about it:

Treat your business plan as a ‘living’ part of your company.



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Why You Should Write A Business Plan

Why You Should Write A Business Plan | business plan template | Scoop.it


While some businesses make it without a business plan, I’ve seen a TON of businesses close their doors because they never had a plan to begin with.

You’ve heard the old saying, “Few people plan to fail, but many fail to plan.” So have a plan!

For me, there are three main reasons to write a business plan. Ok, there’s a fourth, but you’ll see my response below.

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