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The Company Business Plan – A Summary Guide and Road Map to Your Future Success

First off, a lot of people wonder why they even need a business plan. It is understood in the business community that it is a requirement for anyone seeking financing, wishing to attract investors or to pitch an idea to a partner or venture capitalist. As far as everyone else is concerned, it is more than a document that conveys the business idea; it helps shape the viability of a business. Future business owners need to understand, especially in rough economic times, that a business plan (or lack thereof) can determine success or failure.

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), only 50% of businesses actually succeed during their first five years. Additionally, approximately 75% of business failures are due to financial reasons. A business plan should not only tell a story about the business and how it will attract customers, generate income, achieve profitability, hire employees and gain market share, it also needs to include projected financial statements for a five year period. It is important for future business owners to understand the financial commitment needed to sustain their business and to be able to stay afloat during seasonality lows or hard times.

Now with all that said, the hard part is actually putting all of these ideas and plans on paper. To start, the business owner should outline realistic goals and answer some tough questions.

  • What does the owner and management of the business plan to achieve (other than profitability)?
  • What is the target market and how will this business differentiate itself from the competition?
  • How will the business react to changes in the market place?
  • Does the business have adequate cash flow?
  • What are the plans for future growth?

Writing a business plan can be a huge undertaking. However, if the owner focuses on one section at a time and keeps goals and ideas realistic, a great plan can be created. Most business owners need help with the process and look to consultants and other outside resources to help them put it all together. An ideal plan will be 25 to 35 pages and include attainable financial projections. Focusing on objectives, realistic and attainable goals and completing a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats) analysis will keep the document from becoming “marketing fluff”.

Once a business plan is completed, the owner can use this plan as a guide to success. As the business adapts to the marketplace and/or to achieve customer satisfaction, the owner can continue to modify the plan. Additionally, the new owner can track the financial results to compare actual financial data to the projected financial statements. Once again, the owner can make changes to these projections to meet the business needs. Without a business plan in place, the business owner and management would be lost, similar to that of a ship that is off course with no map or compass. You can just imagine how that would end, right?

So, instead of dreading the work that is involved in putting together a business plan, just jump right in and get those ideas down. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and understand that “Rome was not built in a day”.

The best time to start planning your business idea is now!

How to Give Your Home Based Business a Professional Look

You have finally started your home based business. Your success will depend on several factors no doubt but unfortunately one aspect that is often overlooked or neglected is to give a professional look to your home based business. Some entrepreneurs neglect this aspect knowingly thinking that it is a waste of time and money. There are others who neglect this aspect because of cash flow problems. Whatever your problems, it is extremely important that your business projects a professional image to your customers, competitors and to your well-wishers. More so if you have to meet your customers and clients regularly in your home office.

1. Professional looking Home Office.

The first step to make your home based business look professional is to have a good home office. You have to designate a room, a section of the house or even the garage for this purpose. Create a good working environment, choosing the proper colors for the walls. Equip your home office with essential furniture, equipment and fixtures to start with. You will require items such as, a table, two chairs, telephone, filing cabinet, computer, printer, trays and a table lamp.

2. Project a Bigger Image of Your Business.

Though all these equipments are necessary for your day to day work it is also important to impress your visitors. The first impression is the best impression. Your clients should get the impression that they are dealing with someone who is organized, knows his or her business and doing well. Your conversations with your clients should also convince them that your home based business is much larger and prosperous than what it appears to be.

3. Business Website.

Today with the development of the Internet and the availability of the computer in most homes, the website has become a necessity. A website can make your business appear big, professional and organized. With an attractive and informative website you can make your home business appear as big as or bigger than your million dollar competitors. You can give detailed information about your home business, your products, any specials and discounts available from time to time.

4. Business Cards.

Quite often most of us have made use of other peoples’ business cards to look for addresses or phone numbers but we do not have one of our own. Entrepreneurs new to business do not realize how effective a business card can be. A business card projects professionalism, your business image and credibility. They become very handy to promote your home business in seminars, conferences, trade fairs, and other functions.

5. Stationary.

Make your envelope and letterhead look professional with your logo and address printed attractively. Print the URL of your website, address and phone number on all printed material that goes out of your business. All this add up to give your business a professional look while at the same time promoting your business.

6. Avoid Interference by Family members.

One of the major problems faced by home based business entrepreneurs is family members popping in and out of their home office thus distracting them from their work. This must be discouraged right from the beginning. Customers and other businessmen who come to discuss business matters dislike this interference. This makes your business appear cheap and ordinary.

Conclusion.

The above mentioned ideas will help you to project a professional image for your home based business. The more professional you appear, the more confident your customers and clients will be in doing business with you.