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Writing a Business Plan – Is It Really Worth the Trouble?

I often get emails coming through that ask me to “do a business plan”. When I phone the business owner up, and ask what they are looking for, I get told that they have a business idea and have done some informal research and it seems like a good idea… please can I write them a great business plan so they can start or grow their business.

Now some people might say that it sounds like a good business opportunity. Charge them a fee, ask them to email me their thoughts and informal research, and whip up a business plan using a template that I’ve created. If they want changes, I charge them an editing fee until they are happy.

This would probably earn me a fairly nice fee but I don’t think that I would be doing them proper service in the long run. Here’s why I say that. A business plan has many functions:

• It can serve as a vehicle to approach finance houses for finance.

• It can be used to attract investors.

• It can be used to get business partners involved.

• It can give you a roadmap to move forward.

• It can help you think your way through your business idea.

For me, having a business owner write the business plan themselves initially helps immeasurably with the last 2 points. Most importantly for me is the last point. When an entrepreneur takes the time to work through the different areas of a business plan, it forces them to concretely think around the different areas that are important.

• This might be doing proper market research that is quantifiable.

• Who are their competition, what are they offering and how can you differentiate yourselves?

• Who is your ideal client, why do they buy and how can we find them?

• How much finance do we need to start off and what will our cash flow projections be going forward?

• Have we priced correctly taking the above into account?

• What resources will we require, in what order and when?

As new business owners are putting these items down on paper, it’s forcing them to pause and do the exercise. This will help them in many ways:

It forces them to get used to the idea that starting a business is hard work.

It shows them whether it’s a viable business idea.

It makes them come to terms with financial data, cashflow projections and financial systems.

It sharpens their business knowledge, terminology and acumen.

It teaches them how to type a proper business proposal for later on in their business growth cycle.

It allows them to become intimately involved with the whole idea so that they can rattle off a simple elevator pitch if asked what their new business it about.

These are important skills and areas that the new entrepreneur must come to grips with. Even if they produce this great business plan and afterwards stick it in a drawer, it would have allowed them to grow as a person and business owner. I’m not saying that it should be stuck in a drawer, but that it’s a good way to formalise a great idea.

This business plan can then be used as the basis for a 1 year strategic plan going forward, can be used and adapted for financial reasons such as applying for finance of investors, and can be a living document to form company values moving forward.

A business plan does need to be a living document going forward, and should be changed and adapted as the business grows and market conditions change, product lines expand, change and grow. It can also serve as a great retrospective tool, to look back after a year and see if you are in line with your dreams, what changed from your ideas and allow you to be introspective about the business journey.

If you’ve done this business plan, and are not comfortable with some of the sections or areas where you feel that you have weakness or you are uncomfortable with some of the language that you’ve used, then it would be an idea to contact a professional business plan writing company to polish your plan.

They’ll have something to work with and it will still show your personality and passion. When investors or financial institutions read your business plan, they quickly pick up whether you’ve had a hand in it or if it’s an off-the-shelf version. This may directly or indirectly influence how they think about you as the business owner and the type of person you are and how it reflects on the type of business you’ll run.

Got Business Backbone?

If you are new to your own business or come from a corporate or a therapeutic practice background, figuring out the “new rules of business” can be confusing.

*You want to be pragmatic and have a heart at the same time.

*You find yourself trying to give away too much.

*You watch how other people do their business and decide you don’t want to do it the way they do.

Confusing!

How do you figure out what to do, especially when you’re just beginning or are frustrated with the lack of income and clients in your business?

Step 1- Find a coach or mentor who has done what you want to do. Experienced people who are successfully doing what you want to do in your business already exist. Their experience can help you hop over potholes that will limit you and slow down your business growth.

A great place to start with low- or no-cost coaching and mentoring is SCORE (previously known as the Service Corps of Retired Executives, but is now recognized as “Counselors to America’s Small Business”) and your local Small Business Development Center. These centers are often associated with community or technical colleges or universities and have programs to help you in all aspects of business.

There are coaches who offer programs on everything from money management to marketing and sales to productivity. There may be one (or more) that are right for you. If you do invest with a coach, make sure that you share similar values. Your coach will be influencing you and your thinking. S/he will be asking you to take actions and risks that may feel uncomfortable at first. Trusting your coach is essential as you learn new business skills and take actions that lead to success.

Step 2 – Decide what’s most important to you in your business.

What’s ideal and what’s a deal breaker?

Maybe your Ideal is having a lot of referral business so that you don’t have to do a lot of marketing and sales. (Frankly, this is what everyone in small business dreams of, but happens rarely. Running a successful small business involves a lot of work. It will ask you to learn and to do things you don’t like doing or feel uncomfortable doing. But that’s the game of business and stretching past your comfort zone is why it’s such a great teacher, personal growth accelerator, and wealth builder.)

A Deal Breaker for you may be manipulating someone to give you money. Yes, it’s been done forever and happens in business every day. But that’s not the way business HAS to be done!

There’s a New Way of Business that involves the head and the heart and comes from service. Many small business owners got into a service business to SERVE. Learning smart business practices and applying them in alignment with your values will help you serve more people and be rewarded for it.

Step 3 – Aligning Your Head, Your Heart, and Your “Home” Center will give you a more balanced approach to your business. It will help you become a better problem-solver and become more valuable to your ideal clients.

Here’s a simple exercise for you to try from the Art of Feminine Presence™ created by Rachael Jayne Groover. (I am a licensed Art of Feminine Presence™ Teacher.)

You can try it on your own or with a friend.

First Position – Think about a business challenge with your awareness in your Head on your thoughts and mind.

Notice what comes to mind. If you are with a friend, talk to her about what you are thinking.

Notice if keeping your awareness in your Head helps you find a solution to your business challenge.

Second Position – Think about a business challenge with your awareness evenly assigned to your Head, your Heart, and your “Home” Center. Your “Home” Center is in your pelvis about 3 inches below your belly button and in the center of your body.

Notice what comes to mind. If you are with a friend, talk to her about what you are aware of.

Notice if spreading your awareness to your Head, Heart, and “Home” Center help you find a solution to your business challenge.

This second position is what I call your “Business Backbone” because all of you is involved – your brilliant mind, your caring heart, and your wise body. With all three aspects of you represented in the problem-solving process, you get a much better answer than if your mind is the only part of you contributing!

Business is a game with rules. Using your Business Backbone and aligning your energy between your Head, Heart, and “Home” will help you know how you want to play the game, what you value, and how to be a better problem-solver for your clients. And that will make you more valuable and attractive to the people who want to work with you.

This week, practice your “Business Backbone” and notice the differences you experience in your business.

The Mindset for Business Success or Failure

Why Businesses Fail

It’s a fact of business that businesses fail because of a lack of funding and investment, and a lack of skills and knowledge about your chosen industry.

Bloomberg state that a huge 80%, 8 out of 10 businesses fail as part of a general statistic, attributing failure to simply running out of cash. Surely given this huge statistic of business failure why do businesses keep on failing at such a high rate, and what can we do about it?

A vital area that many people fail to recognize, often when they become absorbed in their businesses. By the very nature of business it can be all-consuming and distract you from identifying some disparities with a profitable business success formula.

Between 80-90% of business owners don’t recognize the correlation or the relationship between two belief systems.

These belief systems consist of knowledge of themselves on a subconscious level, and knowledge of the fundamental areas in business. When these two belief systems work to compliment each other we become solution orientated and strive to achieve positive outcomes. Our motivations and goals are in equal alignment and work together harmoniously towards the goal of business success and profitability.

When these belief systems are in alignment success starts to happen and quite often it can be rapid. Business however is rarely smooth and business owners face daily challenges that can make us doubt the belief in ourselves, or our business intentions.

Situations can arise that can induce doubt or a lack of confidence. Different situation affect people in different ways, but confidence issues can cause a misalignment, even friction with these belief systems causing many people to question themselves and to question, perhaps even quit those intentions of achieving success regardless of how close they were to it, simply because those doubts have been left unmanaged and subconsciously they don’t see the potential in themselves.

A common challenge people face when developing an Internet business is information overload, raising doubt over their abilities to learn technical skills and apply Internet Marketing techniques, or dealing with the nay-sayers and negative people who enjoy casting doubt on your enthusiastic business plans.

If you allow these doubts to creep in and destabilize your knowledge and belief, alignment failure will be the result if left unchecked.

How To Succeed In Business

To succeed in business simply understand why businesses fail…

Success in business, hasn’t really got anything to do with business. Of course researching your market and supplying a solution to a specific problem, are the foundations of a potential business, but that’s not really business, that’s common sense!

… and common sense isn’t that common…

Success, has everything to do with being a successful person, and developing the success traits that you can adopt into any area of your life.

How many people do you know that have always earned the same level of income, or always had the same lifestyle? What about that person that’s always short of money (we all know them!).

And of course there are the stories of the bankrupt millionaire who made his money back from scratch within two years.

Businesses don’t really fail – people do…

The way you succeed in business, is to succeed in yourself. Develop your mindset into an unshakable system that won’t be effected by negative influences or daily challenges.

So how can you do this..?

Your mind is directly effected by the information you put into it, just like a computer. The trouble is we don’t realise what information is being put into it, until you start consciously taking control of the information.

Information such as books audio’s, video and the people you associate with has a big influence.

If you spend your downtime working on yourself with personal development training, the time you spend in your business will be more productive and your belief systems and knowledge will be in alignment for you to profit and succeed in your business.

I appreciate many people are busy, so I produced an audio podcast entitled Developing The Mind of a Champion designed for you to understand this process for yourself, how to recognise your own behaviour patterns thoughts and actions based upon your own belief system and how you can change your belief system by re-programming your mind. This Podcast is available on my website.