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A business planViews: 6002
Jul 17, 2007 5:28 pmA business plan#

Paul Finkelstein



A business plan

Having one is the first step too often missed, my best guess, by so many biz owners.

Care to share some wisdom on business plans here.

Kindest regards,
Paul

http://autos.msn.com/everyday/GasStations.aspx?m=1&l=1&zip=33484&x=12&y=12
This link will take you to a really cool awesome link about gas
prices in my area. Use your zipcode for your area.
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Private Reply to Paul Finkelstein

Jul 17, 2007 6:25 pmre: A business plan#

Scott Wolpow
I do not believe in business plans for small business owners. Too many factors change for it to be effective. I do think you should have an action plan.

Let me elaborate.

A business plans states you will set a goal by doing the following steps. This means you need to be able to predict cash flow, sales and many otehr issues.



A plan of action is just methods you will do to stay on a current course. You may decide to call three new prospects a day until you have reached your capacity. That capacity can change almost daily.

Scott Wolpow
http://www.publiccto.com
http://www.myfilm.com a site for filmmakers
http://www.discountjewelry.com Use Promo ryze to save even more


Private Reply to Scott Wolpow

Jul 17, 2007 7:40 pmre: A business plan#

Steve Novak
Here's my take. A business plan is a startup or early stage plan that defines the business. Every individual or group starting a business should have one. It helps you define the business, gives you direction, provides talking points, and gets you organized from the start.

For an established organization (for-profit or non-profit), a Strategic Plan is desirable. Strategic planning carries negative connotations for many people, but that's because it's not often done right and is not effective. The scope and detail will depend on the nature and maturity of the organization, and it's not an annual event that results in words on paper.

Regarding the comment that business changes too fast to make business or strategic planning worthwhile, I think because business can change so fast you need a defined plan even more. Entrepreneurs are always thinking of new ideas and chasing new opportunities. This is a strength, but can also cause many problems. With a well defined plan, you can then evaluate new ideas and opportunites against your objectives and weigh their merit and odds of helping you reach your goals. Without a plan in place, you're just running around guessing.


Steve Novak
President
PPR Management Services
Improving Profits by Improving Performance
www.pprmanagementservices.com


Private Reply to Steve Novak

Jul 17, 2007 8:48 pmre: re: A business plan#

Scott Wolpow
If the parameters change how can you plan for them? You must improvise when that happens and compensate so the changes.



Scott Wolpow
http://www.publiccto.com
http://www.myfilm.com a site for filmmakers
http://www.discountjewelry.com Use Promo ryze to save even more


Private Reply to Scott Wolpow

Jul 18, 2007 1:09 amre: re: re: A business plan#

Steve Novak
How often does your business change? Do you wake up every morning wondering what business you'll be in today? I suspect that most people who argue that business changes too fast do far more planning then they realize. I would challange them to think for a minute about the planning they're already doing, and look at how far out they're already planning. Going to call that vendor tomorrow? That's planning. Got a schedule of sales prospects to contact over the next week? That's planning. Expect to increase revenues by 20% over the next 6 months? That's planning (or wishing if you don't know exactly how that will happen).

My point is it's better to put a little formality into planning, how much depends on your business. You can then monitor your progress, evaluate progress against defined goals, and evaluate opportunities in relation to whether they'll help you reach your defined objectives.


Steve Novak
PPR Management Services
Improving Profits by Improving Performance
www.pprmanagementservices.com


Private Reply to Steve Novak

Jul 18, 2007 3:02 amre: A business plan#

Reg Charie
Paul,
I firmly believe that a business plan is a necessity which should be treated as a living document, and updated at regular intervals.

A BP is something that will show you exactly how your projections are progressing vs reality.
It will point out your strong points as well as your weaknesses in your plans.

Used in conjunction with an action plan it can be an oft used part of your business.

Reg
http://DotCom-Productions.com


Private Reply to Reg Charie

Jul 18, 2007 4:33 amre: Whats the most important highlight in a biz plan?/A business plan#

Scott Wolpow
Depends on business.

I would set out and decide on my goals and how will you reach them.
Then each day set out to get closer to that goal. Then revaluate each day.

For instance two months ago I had one goal, then a major new project came into being. If this project moves ahead it could become a multi-million dollar business. So I changed my efforts.
Today I also may have gotten an investor for another project if I can meet goals. This investor has has very deep pockets and has doen first round on companies like stubhub.com
Each day things will change until your business grows to a certain size.


Scott Wolpow
http://www.publiccto.com
http://www.myfilm.com a site for filmmakers
http://www.discountjewelry.com Use Promo ryze to save even more


Private Reply to Scott Wolpow

Jul 18, 2007 5:09 amre: A business plan#

Kathleen Smart
Years ago, Peter Druker suggested a few essential questions for businesses:

“What business am I in?”

“What business should I be in?

When you create or update your business plan, by all means answer these questions

However, we believe the most important question for small businesses is “Do I have a business?” or am I playing hookie from work?


Cheers-Kathleen
President,CEO SmarterIdeas Inc.
Principal, International Business Academies Limited

Living Life by Design not Default
http://www.smarterideas.com
Connect Grow Profit Here
http://www.ibalnet.com


Private Reply to Kathleen Smart

Jul 18, 2007 8:13 amre: A business plan#

A on da bloc
This is some great material here frmo u guys...am a young media-preneur from Pune, INdia....still formulating my compact biz-plan for a media enterprise...its a tough activity 2 plan and implement...but i do feel re-assured by all ur sugeestions here....
Cheers!
aMoL.


Private Reply to A on da bloc

Jul 18, 2007 12:11 pmA business plan#

Mike Fesler BizHarmony
I have always used this saying for Business planning with any company that I’m involved with.

Today's entrepreneur must be a business architect.
For If you are going to build anything in today's business environment you must have a step-by-step blueprint or plan, on how to achieve success.

I would never consider thinking about a new venture with out a Strategic SWOT in place before doing the business plan.
You must first distinguish your target if you will, as to who will be using and reading the plan.

As they are a living instrument.
I have scheduled to review the plans on every one of the companies that I am involved with, and collectively make revisions at least 4 times per year, or more on troubled areas.
Some of the companies have 2 different plans.
And yes I do have 3 plans for my company as well!!

Not all plans are the same!!

There are 7 different types of business plans

There is a mistaken perspective that there is basically one type of business plan. In fact, there are as many as 7 different variations.
Each type of plan has one thing in common — it must motivate the intended target to move towards the desired outcome.
The targeted audience dictates the type of plan that should be written and any special inclusions.

BUSINESS PLAN AUDIENCE TARGETING
These are broken down to the following categories

Audience / Issues to emphasize / Issues to de-emphasize /Length

Banker / Cash flow, assets, solid growth / Fast growth, hot market / 10-20 pp.

Investor / Fast growth, potential large market, management team / Assets /20-40 pp.

Strategic Partner / Synergy, proprietary products / Sales force, assets /20-40 pp.

Large customer / Stability, service / Fast growth, hot market / 20-40 pp

Key employees / Security, opportunity / Technology / 20-40 pp.

Merger/Acquisition / Past accomplishments / Future outlook / 20-40 pp

Management team / “How to" action steps, teamwork, empowerment, achieve potential / Potential futility, ultimatum / 25-50 pp

The process of planning is perhaps more beneficial then the resultant plan. The camaraderie, analyses and conclusions, collaboration of different perspectives and the commitment of all participants to the plans successful implementation and achievement is the fuel that propels many company’s to the forefront of their industry group. Most companies benefit from these teamwork and empowerment attributes – important components for exceptional success. Proactive forward thinking companies also perform planning to facilitate continuing improvement initiatives to stay abreast of market trends, customer needs and enhance operational efficiency – increased productivity, cost reduction.

Business Planning For Enhancements
These are broken down to the following categories
Problem or Need / Provision or Objective
Company chaos, lost sense of direction; partner or middle manager conflict / Establishes common mission, purpose, direction and overcomes interpersonal conflict; stabilize company

Boss/top management makes decisions; coercive—autocratic management culture / Facilitates participatory management, teambuilding, initial culture change: re-energize people toward common goal

Business crises; company floundering; diminished profits, customer attrition / Re-focus market/customer wants, realign operations efficiently, find cash, attack market w/confidence

Succession and / or continuance of family business; maximize sales price for company / Find, integrate successor by deliberate plan to maximum sales price or assure profit enhancing continuity

Limited growth; growth not commensurate with industry group; need improved productivity / Find, plan to capture growth opportunities; know capital needs/risks; solve problems and mobilize resources

A company’s growth and long-term success does not happen by chance. It is a result of vision, clear direction and deliberate step-by-step design. The planning process promotes these success enhancing attributes.

Hope this helps!!

M.


Private Reply to Mike Fesler BizHarmony

Jul 18, 2007 1:26 pmre: A business plan#

Scott Wolpow
Mike,
Most of these are for companies above the micro level. Also most are being used to get money or win support.

In planning a house you have an exact goal in mind.

A small business owner changes what they do on a daily basis.

Often they have no idea what the profit center will be until they get there.

One of my business has a real simple plan for now. Myfilm.com is building traffic. Until I hit a certain level nothing else matters. Revenue will be less than effort put into generating it. What I mean by this is to go sell ad space with low traffic will not pay off. Adsense is worthless as it is content based not site based.



So my goal is to build traffic. Today that means posting content. Tomorrow that will be about expanding features. If a good opportunity knocks the whole dynamics can change.


In my turnkey hosting company I am just building different industry or niche specific sites.
In both cases I have action plans. I am not concerned about cash flow, key employee etc.

I think too many small business owners have no real way of predicting these factors or keeping key employees.


Now when the business goes from micro towards small business I would agree.
The vast majority of people on this list have sales of less than 2 million and are typically sole employees.

Therefore I think any formal planning is just a waste, too many changing factors.

Scott Wolpow
http://www.publiccto.com
http://www.myfilm.com a site for filmmakers
http://www.discountjewelry.com Use Promo ryze to save even more


Private Reply to Scott Wolpow

Jul 18, 2007 2:17 pmA business plan#

Mike Fesler BizHarmony
Scott,
I wholeheartedly agree.
The model stays the same just the size of the actions are scaled to the actual project.

Simply a successful model followed breeds success.

When you first learned to tie your shoes, you repeated it over and over again until proficient. Now that your shoes have gotten bigger from when you first learned? You are following the basics, but with finesse and personalization. Now it has become second nature, allowing you to focus on other tasks.

M.


Private Reply to Mike Fesler BizHarmony

Jul 18, 2007 2:25 pmre: A business plan#

Scott Wolpow
Who says I learned to tie my shoes.:)


Scott Wolpow
http://www.publiccto.com
http://www.myfilm.com a site for filmmakers
http://www.discountjewelry.com Use Promo ryze to save even more


Private Reply to Scott Wolpow

Jul 18, 2007 3:58 pmre: re: A business plan#

Tina Brooks
Knowing Scott W. He switched to velcro as soon as it became available in his size shoe... or... he simply wears loafers.

T


Private Reply to Tina Brooks

Jul 18, 2007 5:29 pmre: re: re: A business plan#

Scott Wolpow
Naw I am like people in AR, no shoes. LOL [Just kidding, I have my butler tie my shoes]

Scott Wolpow
http://www.publiccto.com
http://www.myfilm.com a site for filmmakers
http://www.discountjewelry.com Use Promo ryze to save even more


Private Reply to Scott Wolpow

Jul 19, 2007 8:55 amre: A business plan#

Inger V. Johannessen
Hi Mike,
I totally agree that one needs a business plan, and all the elements that you have listed; i.e. if you have a large business/cooperation.

As it is, I believe most of us here have smaller businesses. This does not mean that we can be without plans, on the contrary. Smaller businesses need very much plans.

These business plans should have actions plans implemented. And they should be reviewed at a monthly or weekly basis, depending on what kind of business one is in.

As Scott W has posted, things change quickly in some forms of business. This indicates that you Scott W should have plans that can be reviewed and easy to change on a weekly basis.

I use a monthly business plan/action plan; broken down to 4 weeks with a budget for what is to be achieved, and I review after the period to see if I have achieved budget, and use the results to plan for the next month/4 weeks.

As Reg has pointed out, a business plan used in conjunction with an action plan, will help us to see how we progress.

Warmly,

Inger V. Johannessen, Certified Independent Product Consultant
http://www.tahitian-juice.biz
http://www.NoniResearch.org
http://www.NoniHealthinfo.com


Private Reply to Inger V. Johannessen

Jul 19, 2007 11:20 amre: re: A business plan#

Sanjay Gadhalay
Business Plans are a customisation of ones intent to do something constructive both in the long and the medium term --while it allows you t survive in the short term .
So lets be very clear about the facts that there may be a genralistic template for all to refer from ..but the components that are relevant for you individually is a function of your
Capability /Attitude/Value system /Resources --time and money /and overall goal you have in mind -which brings in the element of subjectivity ....


Private Reply to Sanjay Gadhalay

Jul 19, 2007 1:32 pmre: A business plan#

Scott Wolpow
Paul,
is this about your business or a general question?

For your business there is no reason to keep it in a three ring binder except for historial reasons. You should remember what you wrote, not like dozens of people need to recall the same thoughts.

Scott Wolpow
http://www.publiccto.com
http://www.myfilm.com a site for filmmakers
http://www.discountjewelry.com Use Promo ryze to save even more


Private Reply to Scott Wolpow

Jul 19, 2007 3:58 pmre: A business plan#

Reg Charie
I seem to remember 3 ring binders from somewhere but cant quite place them.

< grin >

I use an Excel workbook for my business plan and it is of the road map variety, intended only for me.

Reg
http://DotCom-Productions.com


Private Reply to Reg Charie

Jul 19, 2007 4:20 pmre: re: A business plan#

Matt Geib
Hello Folks:

My mastermind & I have just been discussing this.

One of the best reasons to have a business plan is because since you are a business person & in business you NEED to have this for tax purposes (ie. the IRS)

Matt


Private Reply to Matt Geib

Jul 19, 2007 4:30 pmre: re: re: A business plan#

Scott Wolpow
The IRS does not require a business plan. Are you thinking about something else?

Scott Wolpow
http://www.publiccto.com
http://www.myfilm.com a site for filmmakers
http://www.discountjewelry.com Use Promo ryze to save even more


Private Reply to Scott Wolpow

Jul 19, 2007 10:21 pmre: A business plan#

Suzette Flemming
IRS requires business plan? Yes and no.

For most businesses the IRS doesn't require a business plan. However, if you are operating a business that could be classified as a hobby, having a business plan goes a long way toward verifying it as a legitimate business.

For example, if someone is running a horse operation and is audited, a business plan can be used to prove the operation is truly a business and not a hobby dressed up like a business. There was a trend (and still is in some areas) for backyard horse owners to claim they were operating a breeding, training, lesson or boarding business so that they could write off the expenses of having horses. The IRS caught on. In this type of business having a written, printed and bound business plan is the first step to keeping the business owner out of hot water.

One of the tests a business must pass as far as the IRS is concerned is that it must be operated with the intent to produce a profit (not discussing non profit organizations here, they have a totally different set of rules). A business plan goes a long way to proving your intent to make a profit.

Suzette
*****
http://www.FlemmingBusinessServices.com
Saving Money - Increasing Profits


Private Reply to Suzette Flemming

Jul 20, 2007 4:47 pmre: re: A business plan#

Tina Brooks
having the business plan won't go all the way, it's not a stand alone document for the IRS, one needs to have a legitimate set of books and records to go along with the business plan.

The best reason for a business plan is so that when you get up in the morning and a brilliant idea comes to you, you can add it to the pile of things to consider when you revamp the plan, but if it isn't in the plan already, it's not up for consideration... Thus your business is kept on track.

The founder of Medtronics wrote a 100 year business plan back in 1949 and the company has been going great gangbusters ever since... their numbers are fairly impressive and their R&D business concentrates on markets that don't even exist yet, but somehow it's a winning formula.

I pity the fool who doesn't have a business plan.


Private Reply to Tina Brooks

Aug 13, 2007 4:40 amre: A business plan#

Maria Marsala
IMO, you don't need a plan to be successful. I've met many business owners who are successful and never wrote a plan. Or they wrote one that is collecting dust.

However, there comes a day in the life of a business owner where they realize that they've come as far as they can and all they've been doing recently, or for a while, is putting out fires. They no longer do the things they enjoy doing and they're sick and tired of working that way.

I know. I work with plenty of folks in that state of mind ;) In fact, I just came back from a trip where I spent a day helping business owners create a plan they could live with.


Many solo, micro and small business owners are under the impression that business and marketing plans are just for start-ups. The truth is that plans are steering the growth business of all sizes, of companies, departments, employees internationally.


When I worked on Wall Street, I had a career plan and I had to plan daily. In fact, I was part of a team for a long time and we talked "plan" a few times a day.

But when I started my business I thought plans were for those who were going to need funding which was not me. I knew that my business would change, so why create something that would change?

I learned differently.

When I created my first plan all I did was take what was in rattling inside my head and put it down on paper. That was in 2000. I saw some things I didn't like about my business. And had I not written my plan, I'd not have the business I have now.

In fact, I liked the one-page plan process so much that later determined that I would no longer work with a client who wasn't willing to do one.

Before the plan when I worked with my clients, we did great things in piecemeal. Helped them grow their business and make money. However, when we create a plan together, since it contains the most critical things that will help them grow their business, and not "everything", I watched a shift occur. And as an extra bonus, I watched them catch some problems and mistakes before they caused $ problems. I watched them take out their plan and use it to help them make better decisions.

And I watch them change their plans, when they need to. Because they're monitoring their efforts online or in an MS Excel spreadsheet, like Paul is. The monitoring is what helps them catch things quicker -- the good, the bad and the ugly.

In 2003, when licensing became part of the one-page program, I jumped at the chance to become an affiliate.

Business Plans do change. However, what I've found is that if you create a plan today, based on what's critical to your success, and looking at the big and small picture, you'll fine tune it for about a year on a usual basis. Then after that, in most cases, it becomes a question of updating the numbers yearly and making minor changes based on where your business is at the time.

The process I use is called The One Page Business Plan. I don't use the book with my clients, they use software with templates instead. However, anyone who sees this post can go to amazon and purchase the right edition of book for them. There is a general creative entrepreneur edition, a consultants edition, a non profit edition and at the end of the year there will be a financial services edition.

S0...

Plan today and prosper tomorrow,

Maria Marsala
Business Operations Therapist

http://www.ElevatingYourBusiness.com


Private Reply to Maria Marsala

Aug 19, 2007 3:49 pmre: A business plan#

Debbie Elicksen
A business plan is your map to where you want to go in your business. Regardless of the size of your company, every facet of your business needs its own separate business plan, such as your Website, book, and other products and services.

That said, it's easy to get intimidated doing one, particularly if you Google samples and see how elaborate they can be. They probably do need to be that elaborate if you're using it to garner funding, but for your personal use, here's a quick and easy tip. If you have PowerPoint, you have a whack of templates that walk you through everything you want to do (fire someone, marketing plans...) and specifically, there is a business plan template. You can make it as simple or complicated as you want. I do one for each book (my own) and my company overall (which includes my Website, new ventures, etc.).


Private Reply to Debbie Elicksen

Nov 14, 2007 7:23 amre: A business plan - keep same subject - just reply please#

Drew Poland
There are exceptions from time to time but really everyone should have something on paper. It doesn't need to be a 100 page monster. Most of us probably couldnt write that much anyway, either lack of wanting to or it's just such a small operation it doesnt demand it. It can be 5 to 10 pages. Hell, one or a few pages might work for you. Whatever it is though, you should have a plan and it should remain an active part of your business. It needs to change and be updated.

That said, how often are things going to change besides marketing and financials? after the first month are you going to replace your whole team and switch everything around? probably not.

Because of that, I have my own little system. I have a 3 ring binder and it serves as my "business/marketing toolkit." The contents change almost daily.. additions, subtractions. Because in my experience marketing is what changes the most and what I have to keep up to speed with. If something isn't working, it needs to go and a replacement needs to come in ASAP. It's sectioned off with dividers, and each divider serves its own purpose, either to be hardcopys of mailing lists/email lists or just house sample letters I send out often (refferals, sales, thank yous, etc). In the front, being of importance I have all my "planning" aspects. timelines, goals, budget. Things like that.

If you aren't into a business plan, that might be something that works better for you. It's more interactive.

I run a blog, http://www.businessplansblog.com if anyone wants to check it out. I just started it so there isn't a ton of content, but there are some helpful posts about business plans.

I'm certainly no expert, but from a small operation standpoint I think I'm qualified. I've won several business plan competitions (on the college level) and am learning more everyday. So if anyone has any questions, I will try to my best to answer them! :)

Drew


Private Reply to Drew Poland

Nov 19, 2007 10:52 pmre: A business plan#

Teri Ann Di Giovanna (Coleman)
The business plan keeps me focused. Mine is fluid. It has to be revisited for growth.
Thank you for the post and comments.
Respectfully, Teri Ann


Private Reply to Teri Ann Di Giovanna (Coleman)

Nov 20, 2007 5:05 amre: re: A business plan#

Denise
The question was asked earlier about some important facets of the business plan. I have been told and trained that the most critical part is the Executive Summary, especially if you are seeking funding. It's still a necessary document even if you aren't seeking funds because it gives an overall snapshot view of the entirety of your whole BP, but covers the specific points that are of great interest to investors. What should go into one is the who, what, where, when and a summary of the how...as well as how much you're looking for, how soon it will be paid back, and your exit strategy, are among the most important aspects of the ES.

The BP, as was stated earlier, is a road map giving you a direction. Why it is important for EVERYONE who owns a business to have one is to ensure they follow the steps. All too often, business owners who do not have a BP, will make costly mistakes by not doing things in the right sequence. The mistakes not only cost money, but waste time. Sure, you may gain some lessons learned, but is it a cost you can afford. If you've never started up a business before, it is also wise to get advice onto what should be done first, and next, and next. Too often business owners think one thing should be done, and instead they should be concentrating their efforts on something more important that should be done first.

I've written dozens of business plans. I use a template that seems to work well. Mike Fesler will tell you about several of his clients for whom I wrote their initial plans and where they are today. As was stated earlier, a BP needs to grow and evolve with the company, so periodic reviews are necessary. Another reason it is important for a business to have one is so that the employees know and understand the company's mission and how it will be accomplished. Mike stated there are different kinds of BPs, and he's right...you wouldn't want to give your banker the same BP you show to your employees. Besides, a banker won't read much of it...he/she will focus on the ES and financials...they want to see a cash flow analysis and break-even analysis, besides the typical P&L statements.

A board member for a bank that also was on the advisory board of a company I've been working with said that he felt the best document to show the bank was a Marketing Plan and the ES. Why? The marketing plan takes the BP to the highest level of planning. It gives a detailed summary of where, when, who gets the money your company is spending on advertising and marketing, and how you plan to promote and distribute your products. It's a detailed analysis of your customer base and their wants and needs and how you will provide for them. Most businesses cannot survive without some form of advertising...or at least some kind of promotional efforts (whether they cost or you use free methods of promotion). They still need to be delineated so that everyone in the company knows the deadlines, where the money will be spent, and who the customer is and what are their hot buttons. If you can't make sales, your company isn't going anywhere.

As for length of the documents...they need to be as long as necessary to cover the topic well enough that it's clearly understood by the audience the BP/Marketing Plan was intended for. Can you have too much information...not likely. Will it all be read, not by everyone who picks it up...but it should be used by the owner and his/her managers/directors on a regular basis whether or not you're looking for funding or not.

If anyone has specific questions about business or marketing plans, please feel free to send me a private message or direct it to my email. I'd be glad to help you out.

Denise Minacapelli, MBA
As You Wish
Your Extra Hands When Needed
www.asyouwished.net


Private Reply to Denise

Dec 19, 2007 10:34 pmre: A business plan#

Doug Van Riper
I like the PROCESS of doing a business plan. It helps people think through things, in their own way. While having a clear roadmap of where you're headed is valuable, having a process to help you think through your business idea is even more valuable.

My $.02,

Doug


Private Reply to Doug Van Riper

Dec 20, 2007 4:17 amre: re: A business plan#

Marilyn Jenett


Of course you know I will be the "maverick" here :-)

I don't believe in business plans (for me). I created and grew a business that attracted the world's largest corporate clients for two decades without any selling, networking, advertising, marketing, cold calling, etc. In fact, I never made a sales call in all those years. I loved and still do love the idea of magnetizing success with the power of our thoughts and feelings. I love the seeming magical results. It's the difference between going through the motions and "being" the motion.

I then created an entirely new business/career practically overnight - with the same abandon.

My way is to apply the mental and spiritual laws and allow success to manifest spontaneously and naturally. That's the only kind of success that's really meaningful to me.

I don't believe the key is necessarily in business plans although they are probably required if you seek venture capital, funding, grants, etc. And if they give you a sense of structure and a feeling of success (the feeling of success creates success), then it's worth the effort.

But for me, the real key is in opening yourself up to the guidance and wisdom that is much more powerful than any man made plan. I have done in days or months what many others "plan" to do in years and now my students/mentees are doing the same thing.

I realize that everyone is not in that place and I respect whatever path a business takes - but the final proof is in the results.

There is a place for our rational mind and intellect, of course. But we must learn to access our wisdom and intuitive guidance - the major part of the process. That is what success is really made of.


~ Marilyn

The perfect gift for yourself or someone you care about...
http://www.feelfreetoprosper.com/products.html


Marilyn Jenett, Founder and Mentor, the Feel Free to Prosper Program
Website: http://www.FeelFreetoProsper.com
Ryze Network: http://prosper-network.ryze.com
Programs and Products: http://www.feelfreetoprosper.com/products.html


Private Reply to Marilyn Jenett

Dec 20, 2007 10:59 pmre: re: re: re: A business plan#

Roslyn Beaumont
Scott, me and you think so much a like. I believe in the number game in the plan. Everyone else excellant idea is great to put in my mind, but Scott you are so right . Because I did the number game-- I have 400 business in organization today.
If you do your business like if you were going to work 9-5 for your business you can explored one day. You won't even know it. One person can make you flat out wealthy .
So it I get 3 prospect a day that 90 contacts a month, then right there you have a big hugh organization growing with out you. Alway remember in anything someone else thoughts,and idea add to your plan can make you millions. It is a team works. Remember no one got rich on their own.
They had a plan, and everyone follow it, and then they add their talents, and they explored. But you do have to have a plan so you know what direction to go to get there. Then we can just follow it. Happy Holiday Everyone. Let make a plan for 2008.

Roslyn J Beaumont
www.exitrealtyplus.com
www.rr.acnrep.com or www.wealthbuildersplan.info/
voip# 508-436-4939


Private Reply to Roslyn Beaumont

Dec 21, 2007 12:29 amre: A business plan#

Anthony Jones
I think business plans are essential for providing a "visual" basis for your planned business activities. Granted alot of them are created and never followed for whatever reasons, but just like going to the doctor to get a check up...even if you feel you are in good health...its good to have one.

Anthony Jones - Business Development Consultant, Facilitator
Build A Business WORKShop
www.buildabusinessworkshop.com


Private Reply to Anthony Jones

Dec 30, 2007 11:40 pmBusiness plan outline, step-by-step (re: A business plan)#

Scott Allen
Well, for those of you who do want to do a business plan, I've just recently finished posting a complete business plan outline: My take on it? If you're a micro-business, self-funded, you don't need a formal written business plan. On the other hand, at least going through the thought exercise outlined above is invaluable. If you don't, you're very likely to have gaps in your business model.

Having a business plan does NOT mean that you lose flexibility -- in fact, I think quite the opposite. It means that you've anticipated possible risks and are prepared for them. And if you're prepared for possible outcomes A, B, C and D, as opposed to just winging it, then you're likely to be more prepared in the event of E or F, as well.

- Scott -


Private Reply to Scott Allen

Jan 23, 2008 1:28 amre: Business plan outline, step-by-step (re: A business plan)#

freeman fields
Although not needed, I agree with most of you about the need for a business plan. I don't think it prevents flexibility in how you're able to do business. Like mentioned prior, it serves as road map to where you are trying to go. Its the same as a contract. The contract not only keeps both parties bond as agreed, (more importantly) it keeps the terms, conditions & expectations clear and both parties on one accord.

This is what a business plan does for a group, or individual, keeps everyone on one accord with the goal and intent of that business. How can two walk together except they agree. It also provides a check list, if you will, for the business. In the business plan that i write, there is an actual check list of what's needed. In the process of developing the business, you're simply taking it one check at a time, with the hopes of getting "one check at a time". Feel free to use that one, but the next one will cost ya LOL.

None the less, it is, as stated before, a living, breathing document. It evolves as the business does. As it does, you're able to compare and physically see the stages. I looked back on my first business plan and could see why i wasn't able to get it off the ground. Although the business concept was great, the plan was horrible. But after implementing my new ideas, it was a master piece. (did i mention i was an artist also)

Just something to think about. Wasn't sure about writing, being the new kid on the block. Enjoyed you all comments.

God Bless
Freeman
freeman_fields@yahoo.com


Private Reply to freeman fields

Jan 26, 2008 1:08 amre: re: A business plan#

P. Gillespie
Our website actually helps people build their business plan and we link them with investors. perfectbusiness.com

i would love all of ya'lls feedback.


Private Reply to P. Gillespie

Jan 26, 2008 8:14 amre: re: A business plan#

Shivram Ravi
Dear All,

Business is about Planning!!!

Both have to co exist and have to be looked at right from the blue print stage to finish line>>>> short term as well as long term.

Orionexpo International our family concern (www.brandlifeline.com) are now busy with an English feature film project Destination Horizon- Right from PIN to Piano has to planned on a 24 x 7 mode!! Well- at the end of the day the bottom line is revenue generated against the money spent.

I agree that business module and a revenue module has to be in place, and closely mapped and accounted for.

Cheers

Ravi Shivram


Private Reply to Shivram Ravi

Jan 26, 2008 5:10 pmre: re: re: A business plan#

howard lee
Hello everyone,

I have read all tyour post about business plans. Since I am in the middle of writing one. I like to tell you about my experiences so far. This is my second attemp at writing a plan my first time I went to so called experts in writing business plans and I got four diffrent plans written that didn't even make sense to me and it was my business. Now I am writing a plan only because I have had investors and government agencies looking to fund my concept. So what I am doing is wrtting a plan that I can understand about what my business does. It will take time but at least when someone ask mr about my plan I can pitch it in less than 30 seconds. Also I can change as I need to. So all I want to know is there a simple plan for micro business that doesn't take aMBA to read it or understand it.

Best Regards,

Howard Lee
CIO
Wirehead Technology


Private Reply to howard lee

Jul 09, 2008 4:40 pmre: A business plan - Where are YOU in your business cycle, marketing activities, etc.???#

Natalie Clegg
Thanks Paul - I thought I would reply. You sounded a bit desperate! :)

I enjoyed reading this post about whether or not to have a plan etc etc. I am glad it was a sticky if only for a few days as I have not been a member of this network for very long. (Now I see it is not a sticky anymore.)

I think a Business Plan is critical to the success of any business. Just because some people did not write it down did not mean they did not have one. And yes, of course, business is flexible - it changes all the time, but it you're not careful your business can suddenly be in the "wrong" business.

This happened to me - despite the fact I had a plan, it was written more for the bank. Suddenly I had an order book full of clients that were wrong for my business and which we were not geared to deliver to properly. The order book was great, but it was chaos in the business and ultimately not very profitable. (The 80/20 rule began to apply - 80% effort and 20% turnover.)

I think any business plan should have at its heart - the clients you want to attract and the delivery mechanism to service these. I have since found a way to meet the need in the market for this type of client but through an entirely different way and through a separate delivery mechanism. But it was a hard lesson to learn and it took ages for me to "see" the problem. Duh!

There needs to be flexibility in any plan, but the business plan contains at the core the reasons for the business being there. Just getting that great mega contract could ruin the rest of the business. A Plan gives you balance, and gives you a clear head to sit back and contemplate where you are going.

Looking back at old plans, it is wonderful to see how much of what I had planned has happened. So it is important too to put a bit of a dream in there - as you can stretch to reach it. A plan is not for what you know is certain, but it is certainly where you want to go.

Also I keep an entirely separate Marketing Plan - as I believe the marketplace is moving very rapidly in a different way to what we have seen before and it needs a separate focus. I need to review that plan on a monthly basis and revise our approach.

I also think us business owners should have our own personal business plan - so that we retain some balance of input between business, self, relationships, values, behaviour, finances, homes, possessions and other interests etc etc.



Natalie

p.s. my websites are down if anyone is looking.


Private Reply to Natalie Clegg

Jul 10, 2008 3:27 pmre: re: A business plan - Where are YOU in your business cycle, marketing activities, etc.???#

Michael Lemm
This website has lots of resources and info on business plans (with samples).....

http://www.businessownersideacafe.com/

God Bless,
Michael Lemm
FreedomFire Communication
"Helping YOUR Business....DO Business"
http://mscprez.ld.net
http://Broadband-Nation.blogspot.com


Private Reply to Michael Lemm

Aug 03, 2008 4:58 pmInteresting/A business plan - Where are YOU in your business cycle, marketing activities, etc.???#

Paul Finkelstein


Thanks Mike L for this:
http://www.businessownersideacafe.com/starting_business/sample_plans.php?IC=c64c8fa8e3c6058f3ec3d1c2c21c5228
Several Samples of Biz plans.
:)


"Put Your BEST Face Forward! BIG SMILE :) HUGE!"
"Live Where The Sun Spends The Winter On The Beaches Of The World!"
* http://paulstevenphotography.com/ "Pictures Are Forever!"
* Double XX-TRA-ORDINARY!


Private Reply to Paul Finkelstein

Dec 27, 2008 11:15 pmre: A business plan changed my business...#

Maria Marsala
Even though I taught business plan classes at a local college, I didn't do one formally because I didnt' need funding.

It wasn't until I moved 3000 miles from home that I found a plan I was willing to do. I attended a one day event, and left with a bunch of pieces of paper. Just taking what was in my head and writing it down on scrap paper made me realize that what I was doing; although excellent advice for others, wasn't working for me.

So I redid my plan, and a few years later, I became a consultant for their program. It's called the One Page Business Plan.

There are books (resources on business plans are at http://www.TheResourceQueen.com/businessplans.html ) which is the least expensive way to do it on your own if you can't afford to hire a consultant to help you.

Consultants provide their clients with software that helps them create a draft of their plan in less than 2 hours. To create an excellent business plan takes 5-12 hours depending on your business knowledge, complexity of your business and a few other variables. The first year, you'll find yourself critiquing your plan each quarter. Then updating your plan yearly takes about 90 minutes.

Why create a plan? focused and accountable are two keys.

Creating a plan, any plan isn't enough, but it's a good first step.

The process looks something like this.
Assess where your company is at.
Create your vision for 1 year and exit strategy.
Create your ideal client profile
Do your mission, then..
Marketing plan (objectives, strategies, action plan)
Then monitor your objectives weekly
Create any sort of project managment form or system to monitor and execute your action plans.


View samples of the One Page Business Plan at http://www.BusinessAndMarketingPlan.com

OH... even OPRAH uses the One Page Planning process!


Private Reply to Maria Marsala

Dec 30, 2008 12:25 pmre: A business plan#

James Possible
Since I've recently been putting together a business plan for 2009 and looking back at what got me to this point and my results up to this point. This brings me to this post.

Opinions are great, yet, like Marilyn said it's the "RESULTS" that tell the truth.

T. Harv Eker says it like this "If you've lived it, you know it!" Everything else is just an opinion.

As I read this thread, from top to bottom, I did in fact take time to browse the many links as posted. Some are no longer active...RESULTS!

I know the thing that got me into technology was more about what Marilyn calls intuitive guidance, others might call inner wisdom. Either way doesn't really matter, the fact is once I acted on my intuition I jumped in with everything I was and went deep fast.

The results, well, I ended up with my own technology business. A business that actually paid the bills and then some.

One focus, technology. I studied everything I could, I practiced, I accepted the biggest challenges and because of it I have a background the most "techs" will never have.

Was there a plan, yes...

1. Master the skill, the craft
2. Learn how to apply the skill
3. Grow my career
4. Build my own business

Nothing fancy, yet it's what powered me.

Between steps 1 to 4 there was no other thing that could distract me. I had one vision.

One focus!

What happened once I got number 4? The focus was lost, no clear vision, no real goals.

Having a direction was "HUGE"!

Here we are 1 1/2 years later and I wonder if the million dollar possibilities happened or if there's a new million dollar possibility in the works.

Plans are not confining, rather they are freeing. This is what I see as the biggest misunderstanding about having a plan. It doesn't limit you, rather it frees you up to focus on "WHAT REALLY MATTERS".

Opportunity isn't opportunity if it's not aligned with your vision or values, rather it is distraction. A resource drain. Is this an opinion, hell no, it's based on my observations and my personal experience.

I use to chase everything that had even a hint of potential, even if it took me in a completely different direction. Even within this thread I see it, the idea that the home run is the goal.

I'm curious...

Who among the original posters in this thread would be willing to share how having a plan worked or not or how not having a plan worked or not?

Anyone interested?

No blah, blah, blah, just the results and what worked and what didn't...

Talk soon,

James

Possibility is not an accident, it's a choice!


Private Reply to James Possible

Dec 30, 2008 12:47 pmA business plan#

Paul Finkelstein


Havent wrote out a long plan as I havent had to ask for money from a venure capital source at the moment.
But, I do follow a guideline and certain market niches to grow my business.
I know my competition big and small, know what technology to integrate, know
what procuderes to implement etc...

Biggest challenge is going from the manpower of 1 person to leveraging to 3-5 to handle more workloads. As of 2 yrs into my plan, I outsource much of the work to other photographers, designers etc that are willing to partner up and not steal my earned clients and do quality work a paying client with be very satifisfied to want to refer me or recommend me.

I suppose this issue of employees soliciting your clients is not a new thing in business. Yes?

What challenges do you face now?

Besides a s l o w economy, which I believe you have to actively and intuitively
transition or reposition to not participate in the R word-WHAT are you doing
to develop your business?

Kindest regards,
P
:)
Put your best FACE forward!


Private Reply to Paul Finkelstein

Dec 30, 2008 8:53 pmre: A business plan#

Yvonne Wu
I also have not had to make a business plan because I have not applied for any business loans.

I find it hard being just one person to handle the sales, marketing, accounting and providing the services as well. I do refer clients to other business contacts when needed.

Challenges: Keeping up the education that is required for me to have the tools do provide my customers with quality work.

Regards,

YvonneW


Private Reply to Yvonne Wu

Dec 31, 2008 6:41 pmre: A business plan#

James Possible
Hi YvonneW,

Don't let your business plan be about anyone else but you...wink!

This isn't about getting money, proving yourself or anything like that. I work with people everyday that miss the magic of this thing we call a "business plan".

As a matter of fact, I just got off my weekly call, the discussion we had today is what I call...

Big Ass Dream!

If you don't understand how your business impacts your life your business will continue to be about surviving versus thriving.

Being an sales, marketing, accounting and professional all at the same time isn't fun! Only a solo-professional would torture self like that.

Anyways, I kept asking the callers to go further and the end result for one of the callers was this...

Current income $30k a year, her an I were looking at the possibility of $110k a year. As we talked and looked at "WHAT WOULD BE DIFFERENT" she suddenly recognized that she already had the potential to create a $110k income and that possibility existed not with a potential client...rather with a current client.

She was totally surprised and really couldn't understand how she missed it.

Another caller and I were looking at the difference of having 15 clients versus 1,000 clients. Remember "BIG ASS DREAMS"!

Well, after some discussion I asked her what's the first thing that comes to mind when you consider having 1,000 clients versus 15? Immediately she said "LEVERAGE".

So, I asked her "If all you focused on was 15 clients would you ever have considered leverage?" She said "No!"

Yvonne, I would encourage you to forget about making a formal business plan and then begin to create a "Big Ass Dream"! A dream so outrageous and impractical that you could never in a hundred years (being realistic) see it as a possibility.

Once you've started to write down your "Big Ass Dream" then start to look ask yourself "how long?" 5 years, 10 years, 15 years or more...just write down the number that comes to mind. Don't question it "JUST WRITE"!

Here's something to consider...

What would be different in your business if you didn't have to be the Sales/Marketing/Accounting/Professional all in one?

What would change?

Write it down...don't doubt, don't question, just write. Write simply, keep it simple, you can fill-in the details later. Details aren't important at this point.

To your success,

James Possible (Mr. Possible)

Possibility is not an accident, it's a choice!


Private Reply to James Possible

Dec 31, 2008 9:04 pmre: re: A business plan..been working for 55 years#

Marketing ManagerChuck & Shirley Bartok
Great discussion above.

I was fortunate to be assigned some reading
as a freshman in college, fall of 1960.

The books were so easy to assimilate,
I immediately applied the Knowledge
and started my
Comfortable Business career.

First Thing I did I established MY
Definite Major Purpose.

The Mission Statement of MY BUSINESS,

Then hired some professors to supply
the Knowledge
I was not privy to

I was just a dumb Farm boy, so I believed
these Old Masters, the Authors of the three Books
I now call my Trilogy.

From There I wrote Down where I expected to be
at a certain Time, Masterminded with
like-minded people, and Applied
Immediate Massive Action.

These simple steps have been applied to all of the Businesses I have been and currently involved in.

The only Outcome is a SELF Defined comfortable
lifestyle of being able to be Where I want to be,
When I want to Be, with Whom I want to be With and
Not Pay and Dummy Tax of Interest
and enjoy a Blessed Lifestyle.

For Scott, IRS does not require a Business Plan,
but for those HBB persons who want to enjoy Maximum Deduction
and if there is any question, the
Written business Plan goes a long way to
substantiate your position especially in the
early Years and your posting Negative Numbers.

Remember you must PROVE you are In Business to
enjoy the benefits of the over 150 deductions
granted by Congress.

All of our Community Members who follow these
simple steps have enjoyed Tremendous INCREASE
in a relatively short Time.

Any persons who believes Success occurs with
a detailed Plan of Action are just deluding themselves.


Each of the businesses are first conceived,
then PLANNED, with cash Flow Projections
and realistic Budgets.

Funny, only missed plans Twice, and both
were caused by Weather conditions.

Economic conditions, Parties in Office, or Government in general,
have NEVER affected My control of Business or Cash Flow...

Because Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

James Possible said it well
The Business Plan, the Definite Major Purpose IS YOU!

Anyone interested in knowing more about
our Two Strong and successful Communities Download
any of all of our past 183 Talk Show broadcasts

Chuck & Shirley Bartok
My Business Card http://chuckbartok.com
Follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/cjbart
Use Your Own Personal Trainer 24/7 http://focus40now.com


Private Reply to Marketing ManagerChuck & Shirley Bartok

Jan 12, 2009 3:55 pmre: A business plan..Do YOU focus on 1-2 niches or just one?#

Paul Finkelstein


curious...
I have 3 main areas...social events, business portraits and children/families/babies/pets (family related)


Would you focus on marketing 1 area or all three??

Thanks,
Paul
:)


Private Reply to Paul Finkelstein

Jan 12, 2009 5:10 pmre: re: A business plan..Do YOU focus on 1-2 niches or just one?#

S Z
There is a posting by a sydney blogger on

"One page business plan: Time effective business planning for SME business owners"

I found it quite informative : Read it here http://www.hasnainzaheer.com/2008/12/one-page-business-plan-for-sme-business-owners/


Private Reply to S Z

Jan 13, 2009 3:56 amre: A business plan#

Maria Marsala
Here is my take on business plans. Every business owner needs a plan. It "puts the boss back into our businesses" otherwise all we have working are employees (self-employers send up employees otherwise, too)

I've taught classes on the longer plans. Never did a complete one myself because I didn't need funding. BUT teaching helped me determine which parts of the longer plan would be helpful.

Back in 2000, I found a plan I was willing to do. The author, Jim Horan, came to Seattle and did an all day class (four years later I'd do a class for others in the same place!) Planning important but nothing is as important as execution.

I have planning resources at http://www.TheResourceQueen.com/businessplans.html

Samples of the one page plan at http://www.BusinessAndMarketingPlan.com

And a few weeks ago, I started a planning blog at http://theonepagebusinessplan.wordpress.com/

Enjoy the resources...

Maria


Private Reply to Maria Marsala

Jan 13, 2009 4:23 amre: re: A business plan changed my business...#

Maria Marsala
My favorite subject is planning, and yes, your plans will change. Busienss plans are not made in stone. They are guides.

First you take what's in your head and put it down on paper where it can do you some good. Then you critique it and sue it. You'll find yourself updating it every now and again; and thats good. That shows that the process is working.


Here are some additional planning resources: http://www.TheResourceQueen.com/businessplans.html

Samples of the one page plan at http://www.BusinessAndMarketingPlan.com

And a few weeks ago, I started a planning blog at http://theonepagebusinessplan.wordpress.com/


Private Reply to Maria Marsala

Jan 14, 2009 11:10 pmre: re: re: A business plan changed my business...#

Lana Vivant
I agree with a lot of you that even small businesses need a business plan, or some kind of an outline of their goals and actions.

When I first started my business, I did not write a business plan because I had only a vague idea of what to do and what to expect. I learned as I went along. And I am still learning.

However, now, a year later, I have a much better idea of what to expect and how to prepare for it. And I think that now I can write a much better business plan than I would have a year ago.
Of course, like most of you said, nothing is written in stone. I consider business plan a living, breathing, evolving creation :)

Lana Vivant


Private Reply to Lana Vivant

Jan 15, 2009 5:19 pmre: A business plan..Do YOU focus on 1-2 niches or just one?#

James Possible
Hi Paul,

I have more questions than answers at this point...

1. Beyond the income what is your goal with your business? Why does it matter that you even have a business? (most entrepreneurs never take the time to answer this question)

2. Of the three areas you shared which of them do you enjoy most and seem to have greater ease with?

3. Which of the three areas is most profitable at this point?

4. Why is the one area more profitable than the others?

5. Do you measure the life time value of your clients, if so in which area is the value the highest?

6. In which area do you receive more feedback?

7. How do you market right now?

There are no right or wrong answers here, yet by taking the time to answer those seven questions you will come a lot closer to answering your question of...

Should I focus on one of the three areas or all three when marketing?

On a general note...more choices can mean a confused visitor i.e., browsing a website, reading a brochure. People scan first, then the read further if they can understand why it matters to them.

James

Possibility is not an accident, it's a choice!


Private Reply to James Possible

Jan 16, 2009 12:05 amre: A business plan#

Gary Largent
Here are some excellent resources that describe and display effective business plans:

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Writing+a+business+plan.-a0141751239

http://www.bplans.com/free_business_plans.cfm

http://www.sequoyahassociates.com/uploads/Biz_Plan_Questionaire.doc


Private Reply to Gary Largent

Jan 27, 2009 6:40 pmre: re: A business plan#

Mikelina West
Scott,

I could not have said it better myself.

http://www.crookedbrook.com/custom-t-shirts.htm
http://www.crookedbrook.com/custom-embroidered-hats-caps.htm
http://www.crookedbrook.com/custom-embroidered-fleece-blankets.htm
http://www.crookedbrook.com/custom-embroidered-hooded-sweatshirts-hoodies.htm


Private Reply to Mikelina West

Feb 13, 2009 3:05 pmre: A business plan#

Mirdza Hayden

A business plan is like a road map. If we know where we are headed, but do not look at any maps to help us arrive there in an easy way, we will never arrive. Just at it is important to get out our maps and plan our trips when we take a car trip across country, or simply to another city or state, it is important to map out our road to success. If not, it will be very hard to arrive to our desired destination.

Mirdza
Helping people get fit, healthy and energetic in 2009
http://www.MirdzasHealthSite.com


Private Reply to Mirdza Hayden

Apr 23, 2009 1:23 pmanswers for james/A business plan..Do YOU focus on 1-2 niches or just one?#

Paul Finkelstein


I have more answers for James...(or anyone)

1. Beyond the income what is your goal with your business? Why does it matter that you even have a business? (most entrepreneurs never take the time to answer this question)

-You asked...provide a solution for households and business communities to get professional images for their business and photographic memories in a snap by bringing a mobile photo studio to every home globally.

2. Of the three areas you shared which of them do you enjoy most and seem to have greater ease with?

I personally love business people and kids and families.
Other photographers might prefer kids over business and vice versa.

3. Which of the three areas is most profitable at this point?
Either area is equally profitable as long as their is a group buy vs a 1 client sale. (but, there is always repeat purchases over life or annually for biz and household)

4. Why is the one area more profitable than the others?

ok..answered in #3. ;) <--wink wink.

5. Do you measure the life time value of your clients, if so in which area is the value the highest?

-same for me...or do you see any suggestion here...?

6. In which area do you receive more feedback?

-all. biz, kids, weddings, family.

7. How do you market right now?
-word of mouth, current clients, local business groups, sales and marketing directors...(incentive based programs)

-------

So, would you think I focus on one campaign at one time or all 3???
Business image, photographic memory for kids and family, Parties and memories like weddings...??

~Paul :) <--smiling here.
Put your best FACE forward and HEART forward too!
http://www.active.com/donate/teamfusion_seattle09/seepaulrun
got $25? (thx in advance)


Private Reply to Paul Finkelstein

Apr 24, 2009 5:05 pmre: re: A business plan#

Ken Lee
Scott,

While I agree that a small business owner has to be flexible and think on his/her feet, I also believe that if you don't know where you're going you are not going to be happy with where you arrive.

My thoughts are have long, medium and short range goals and adjust as necessary. In this economy particularly, there is little room for error by small business owners. If they can look and see what they projected and what actually happened, this will show them if they need to adjust but it will also motivate them with the success they see from what they have done.

Thoughts?

Ken Lee
kenlee46@yahoo.com


Private Reply to Ken Lee

Apr 27, 2009 12:23 pmmarketing/as it relates to biz plan/A business plan#

Paul Finkelstein


Would you say **marketing** your business is how much of business plan???

10%
40%
70%

or is it a separate item from a business plan???

How much marketing do you do with your business???

Time marketing vs time seeing clients, admin etc...????

Things that come to mind...reviewing....

Thanks Entrepreneur gang!
:)
Paul


Private Reply to Paul Finkelstein

Apr 27, 2009 3:43 pmre: marketing/as it relates to biz plan/A business plan#

Ken Lee
Paul,

One of the things that makes me return to a business is service. There is a Mediterranean restaurant here I love for the food and the service. I have not been there in years because of inconvenience but if I walked in today, they know me and even if I were new, they would treat me as part of the family.

Another place is an ice cream parlor where the ice cream is hand packed daily and the management not only remembers you but your family members who may not have been there in years.

I believe in these cases, service is marketing.

Ken Lee

kenlee46@yahoo.com


Private Reply to Ken Lee

Apr 27, 2009 4:19 pmservice/marketing/as it relates to biz plan/A business plan#

Paul Finkelstein


Of course servicing your client IS marketing.
100% of our time we are always marketing.
:)
Yes or yes?


Private Reply to Paul Finkelstein

May 11, 2009 8:06 pmre: service/marketing/as it relates to biz plan/A business plan#

Ken Lee
Paul,

I would say that maybe 80% of my time is spent on marketing but there is a matter of administration and planning. To know where I want to go is great but I also have to know where I am and create a flexible plan that keeps me on track. We tend to do these things during down time but time is a nonrefundable commodity. I have come to realize that I have to budget my time and take time off on purpose. That means that the admin stuff needs to be done on the clock so it occupies a slice of the workday and off time is just that.

Ken
kenlee46@yahoo.com


Private Reply to Ken Lee

May 19, 2009 3:51 pmre: A business plan#

Samuel Peters

Mike,

This information you have given is priceless!! Invaluable!!

Many thanks.


Private Reply to Samuel Peters

Jun 01, 2009 6:22 pmre: A business plan#

Dannye Williamsen
Do you need a business plan? The simple answer to that question is YES!

In order to achieve success, you need to know where you are and where you want to be. This is crucial. It's the bare bones of your plan. It is the element that creates polarity in your life. Knowing this is what sets the Law of Attraction in motion. Once you determine what your end game is, then you start to build the foundation to support it. This involves developing a business plan that may not follow the track you would if you're focused on meeting the needs of a bank.

This 12-step Business Plan For The Creative Entrepreneur pinpoints the important issues by asking the right questions to clarify your goal.

The 12 steps in this process will help you develop a clear vision for your business. It is not a traditional business plan used only for start-ups. It is designed to start-up or to jump-start your business if it is stalling out. Even if your business is going well, a mental check-up can sometimes take it to new heights of success!

All the best,
Dannye

www.MindSlapOnline.com
www.TweakingYourLifeEzine.com
www.TweakingYourLifeBlog.com


Private Reply to Dannye Williamsen

Jun 01, 2009 7:51 pmre: re: A business plan#

John Snyder
Hope that this FREE Templet will be of Help. I and others have found it very beneficial, Check it out and if you can use it, feel free to do so: BUSINESS PLAN


___[Title of Business Plan--per ME #00]

___[Name your company]

___[Date]


Copy # ___ of ___

THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL AND PRIVILEGED
INFORMATION INTENDED ONLY FOR USE BY:

___[Name reviewer]
___[Title]
___[Company]


CONTACT:

___[Name yourself]
___[Your title]
Telephone:
Fax:
Email:
Address:



TABLE OF CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Introduction
The Company
Concept and Market Niche
Marketing and Management
Vision
Milestones
Financial History & Outlook

I - MANAGEMENT & OPERATIONS
Management Philosophy
Management Team
Professional Advisors
Strategic Partners
Table of Organization
Support Staff
Sales Force
Operations & Production

II - MARKETING
The Product
Market Niche (The Customer)
Market & Competitive Analysis
Positioning
Pricing
Packaging
Retail Outlet Strategy
Sales & Distribution Strategy
Market Development Strategy
Customer Service Strategy
Market Research & Product Development
Marketing Task Force
Critical Path
Production/Manufacturing

III - MONEY
Notes & Assumptions Re: Financial Projections:
Pro Forma Income & Expense Statement
Projected Cash Flows
Pro Forma Balance Sheet & Ratios
Projected Financing Requirements

APPENDIX:
A: Financial Projections
B: Research Reports? Articles? Competitive Ads? ___?
C: Product Photos? Brochure? Ads? ___?
D: Personal Financial Statement? Resumes? ___?
E: ___?

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


Introduction

This business plan was developed to introduce ___[Name your company] to ___[Name the firm or individual from which you are seeking capital or other resources] and assist in raising ___[equity capital? debt capital? a combination of equity and debt structure? bridge financing? resources and skills? Yours?] in the amount of $___. The funds/resources would be used to ___[start-up and become operational? build the business to the next level? acquire a business? restructure for greater efficiency and earnings? complete product development and implement the marketing plan detailed in this document? Yours?].


The Company

___[Name your company] was founded in 19___ in ___[Name state or country or province] as a ___[corporation? “S” corporation? partnership? limited partnership? sole proprietorship? Yours?]. The principal(s), ___[Name your founder(s)], own(s) ___% of the ___[original stock issue? assets?]. Other contributors hold ___% of the assets/equity.

The company is headquartered in ___[Name town or city and state or province]. The business operates/will operate as a ___[manufacturer? provider? practitioner? developer? distributor? retailer? Yours?] of ___[Define your product, service, or concept--per ME #1], which is/will be marketed under the brand name of ___[Name your product or service brand] (referred to as The Product).


The principals believe that ___[Summarize the philosophy that is demonstrated by your product/service--per ME #2].

Concept & Market Niche

The Product will satisfy market demand in ___[Identify your global, regional or local marketplace] for ___[Summarize what it is the customer needs, wants or values that your product/service uniquely satisfies--per ME #3].

The Product consists of ___[Briefly describe what you will market and why it will satisfy market demand--per ME #4].

Our market niche consists of ___[Identify your market niche--per ME #5-- after using the targeting tool in Section II--MARKETING].

This market currently is ___[without recourse to? underserved by? dissatisfied with? limited in its choice of? overcharged by? neglected by? Yours?] other companies/ providers/ brands/ alternatives.

___[Name your company]'s closest competition is ___[Identify competitors and your competitive position--per ME #6--after completing Market & Competitive Analysis in Section II].

Our market represents ___% of ___[Quantify and qualify the overall industry, sector or market in which you compete--per ME #7].


According to ___[Identify your source of market trend information--per ME #8], ___[Describe the trend--per ME #9].


Our market potential is enhanced by the existence of complementary products/services, namely ___[Identify complementary products/services and explain how they extend your opportunity--per ME #10].

Marketing

Most of our sales will come from ___[Highlight your sales and distribution strategy--per ME #11-- after completing the Sales & Distribution topic in Section II--MARKETING].


We have been marketing/operating the following ___[product(s)? sizes? service(s)? retail location(s)? Yours?] since the dates shown.

PRODUCT(S)/SERVICE(S) SINCE:
__________________________________________________
A: ___[Identify product A] ___[MM/YY]
B: ___[Identify product B] ___[MM/YY]
C: ___[Identify product C] ___[MM/YY]
D: ___?
__________________________________________________


We are currently prepared/preparing to ___[complete development of? launch/release/open? Yours?] the following products/services/ locations.

PRODUCT(S)/SERVICE(S): PLANNED LAUNCH:
__________________________________________________
A: ___[Identify product/loc. A] ___[MM/YY]
B: ___[Identify product/loc. B] ___[MM/YY]
C: ___[Identify product/loc. C] ___[MM/YY]
D: ___?
__________________________________________________

We will invest in market research and product development to continually improve The Product and launch follow-on products. Follow-ons will be introduced into developed markets before existing products enter the declining stage of their life cycles.

We expect to have ___ products/locations in the market within the next two/three/five years.


The following table shows our product development strategy in terms of product life cycles.

STAGES OF PRODUCT LIFE CYCLES PROJECTED 5 YEARS
__________________________________________________
YEAR INTRO GROWTH MATURE DECLINE
1 A
__________________________________________________
2 A
__________________________________________________
3 B A
__________________________________________________
4 B A
__________________________________________________
5 C B

A: ___[Identify product A]
B: ___[Identify product B]
C: ___[Identify product C]
D: ___?



The Product meets/will comply with ___[FDA? USDA? EPA? FCC? SEC? CAB? CAFE? ATF? CRTC? Yours?]. regulations/standards with respect to ___[Briefly describe the standards you must meet--per ME #12].


Due to the seasonal nature of our industry/product, we have developed strategies in our marketing plan to minimize excess inventory and maximize our selling season. We do/do not anticipate the need for short-term debt to carry us over the slack season(s).

The main thrust of our marketing plan is to ___[complete product development? complete pilot production to prove feasibility? ramp-up manufacturing? get the Product into stores? develop existing sales leads? educate the market and gain brand awareness? attract first-time customers to our establishment and convert them into steady clientele? Yours?].

Management

The principal(s) is/are uniquely qualified to manage this opportunity, and we will seek the advice of ___[an outside board of directors? professional advisors? Yours?] to assist in management decisions and other decisions requiring specialized competence.

Our near-term business objective is to operate at a minimum loss until the business reaches ___[positive cash flow? breakeven sales? Yours?], which is projected to occur ___[in Month-3/-4/-5/? of Year-1-2-?? Yours?].



So as not to jeopardize cash flow during the infancy of the business, the principal(s) will limit/forego our own salaries.

Also, we will ___[work from home? barter services for office space? rent space in a business center, which eliminates our need for office infrastructure? subcontract manufacturing/production rather than invest in plant and equipment? operate as a virtual corporation through strategic partnerships, which will largely eliminate our need for production infrastructure and reduce our trade accounts payable? Yours?].

Vision

Looking further ahead, we envision the business as being ___[Describe your personal vision of your business in a few years--per ME #13].

Mandate

We plan to reach this goal, within ___ years, by diligently pursuing our corporate mandate: ___[Define your mandate--per ME #14].


Milestones


We have made good/excellent/remarkable progress over the past ___ weeks/months/years, as follows.

o Completed product development of our initial product/service line.

o Obtained/Applied for the ___[patent? manufacturing license? copyright? trademark? Yours?], which protects our exclusivity throughout the ___[Identify the market in which your proprietary concept is protected] marketplace.

o Completed focus group research to verify market demand and acceptance of our new ___[concept? features? taste? pricing? brand name? packaging? promotions? Yours?].

o Completed pilot production and verified manufacturing feasibility.

o Acquired manufacturing facilities and equipment.

o Arranged for subcontractors to manufacture our products.

o Located/Hired personnel necessary to meet the anticipated demand created by implementing our marketing plan.

o Introduced the Product at trade shows, including ___[Name trade shows].

o Demonstrated the Product to ___ prospective customers, including ___[Identify prospective customers, if relevant].

o Opened ___ store(s) in ___[Locate your sales outlet(s)] and built walk-in traffic up to ___ per week.

o Directly sold ___ units ___[through own sales force? through direct response marketing? at craft shows? with door-to-door sales? Yours?].

o Obtained verbal/signed agreements from distributors/dealers including ___[Identify distributors, retailers or other resellers] to provide retail exposure/distribution].

o Gained retail exposure at ___ stores.

o Supplied demonstration units/samples for evaluation by ___[Identify prospective customers, original equipment manufacturers or resellers].

o Launched a PR campaign including ___[Identify PR activities, per ADPUB].

o Launched an advertising campaign in ___?

o Appeared on talk shows in ___?

o Made public appearances at ___?

o Yours: ___?


We are now poised to take the following steps:

o Complete market research to verify market demand and acceptance of ___[our product concept? new features? taste? pricing? brand name? packaging? promotions? Yours?].

o Obtain/Apply for the ___[patent? manufacturing license? copyright? franchise? trademark? Yours?], which will protect our proprietary concept throughout the ___[Identify the market in which your rights are protected] marketplace.

o Complete the final phase of product development, including ___[tooling? packaging? testing? verifying manufacturing feasibility? Yours?], and advance immediately into the ___[manufacturing? production? selling? Yours?] phase of our marketing plan.

o Open/Expand/Equip our office/ showroom/ store to handle the pace and volume of business generated by implementing our marketing plan.

o Hire/Augment our team of quality and results oriented people needed to handle market demand, and train them in the use of productivity systems/selling tools.

o Put together a strategic partnership of ___[researchers? consultants? designers? engineers? subcontractors? distributors? dealers? customers?], and set up an information network that allows the partnership to function as a virtual corporation under ___[Name your company]'s management.

o Ramp-up manufacturing and produce sufficient inventory to meet initial orders/anticipated demand resulting from our planned marketing activities.

o Aggressively develop sales to ___ retail outlets via ___[direct approach by company sales personnel? manufacturers representatives? wholesale distributors? jobbers? a telemarketing campaign to the top ___ retail stores? high quality mailers to the top ___ chains? trade ads? participation at leading trade shows?].

o Attract walk-in customers and build traffic up to ___ per day/week/month.

o Launch a PR campaign including ___[Identify PR activities, per ADPUB].

o Launch an advertising campaign including ___[Identify advertising activities, per ADPUB].

o Appear on talk shows ___?

o Make personal appearances at ___?

o Get signed contracts from ___ customer accounts via ___[personal approach by sales personnel? key distributors? direct response marketing? Yours?].

o Generate sales/sales leads through the use of direct response marketing to a rented database/our existing database of ___ prospective customers.

o Launch follow-on products, including ___[Describe any planned upgrades and new products you plan to introduce, or new business activities you plan to get into].

o Establish computer-links to the top ___ customers' premises to facilitate ordering and preclude competition. This will also reduce our sales and service payroll.

o Develop export marketing opportunities by language/ climate/ export grant opportunity/Yours?.

Within ___ months/ quarters/ years, ___[Name your company] plans to:

o Launch new products/ ventures/ diversify?

o Franchise/ License manufacturing rights to our proprietary technology/ formula/ process.

o Open/Acquire additional ___[branch offices? companies? profit centers? sales outlets? service centers? clinics? Yours?] to advance the company's growth plans, at which time an initial public offering/sale of the business would be appropriate.

Financial History & Outlook



The cash/sweat equity/cash and sweat equity the principals have invested in the business during the past ___ months/years has directly contributed to the present opportunity.

Since ___[Date], we have operated ___[at a small loss? at breakeven? at a modest profit? Yours?], primarily using ___[owner's equity capital? shareholders’ loans? loans from family and friends? personal credit? capital invested by minority shareholders? asset-secured loans? receivables/inventory financing? government grants? Yours?].


(A) Total revenues from sales since 199__ has amounted to $___ on ___ orders/units. (Average revenue per sale: $___.)

(B) The company earned $___ in 199__ , $___ in 199__ , and $___ in 199__ [Add or subtract years as appropriate] on revenues of $___ , $___, and $___ respectively; average orders/units per year were ___. (Average revenue per sale: $___.)


(A) Based on detailed financial projections* (summarized below), the principals are confident that, combined with our cash contribution of $___ in the form of ___[owners’ equity investment? a shareholders’ loan with no fixed terms? Yours?], an infusion of $___ at this time would enable ___[Name your company] to ___[be viable? operate profitably? Yours?] by the second/third/fourth quarter of Year-1/by Year-2?.

*Financial projections are ___[attached as “Appendix A”? available on request?].

(A) Based on detailed financial projections* (summarized below), the principals are confident that, combined with our resources and competence, a contribution of the specified complementary resources and competence would enable the strategic partnership to operate profitably by the second/third/fourth quarter of Year-1/by Year-2.

*Financial projections are ___[attached as “Appendix A”? available on request?].



SUMMARY OF FINANCIAL PROJECTIONS:
__________________________________________________
Year -1 -2 -3 -4 -5
__________________________________________________
Net sales $___
__________________________________________________
Gross profit $___
__________________________________________________
Gross margin ___%
__________________________________________________
Net income
after tax $___
__________________________________________________
Profit margin
after tax ___%
__________________________________________________
Return on
equity ___%
__________________________________________________
Return on assets ___%
__________________________________________________
Current Ratio __ : 1
__________________________________________________
Quick Ratio __ : 1
__________________________________________________
Debt-to-Equity Ratio __ : 1
__________________________________________________
Debt Ratio __ : 1
__________________________________________________


USE OF FUNDS:
__________________________________________________
Acquisition of business $___
Professional fees, consultants $___
Marketing campaign for launch $___
Working capital (incl. cash reserve) $___
Plant and equipment $___
Yours ___? $___
Total $___
__________________________________________________




Our most likely case projections describe a vigorous growth business from which the investor can quickly derive excellent returns. The initial infusion of $___, assumed from the first month of Year-1, is based on ___ shares of capital stock/preferred stock/convertible preferred stock at $___ per share, which represents ___% of equity. Directorships are available/ optional. The infusion includes working capital and a reserve to meet unexpected demands on cash and maintain some flexibility. The principals are confident that these funds are adequate for the business to ___[reach positive cash flow in the first/ second/ third/ fourth quarter of Year-1/in Year-2? reach breakeven sales by the first/ second/ third/ fourth quarter of Year-1/in Year-2 and operate at a profit from that point forward? reach its near-/mid-term objectives, at which point a second-round infusion of $___ will boost the business to the next level? Yours?]. Cash flow should be sufficient to ___[meet the costs of an IPO? fund expansion? yield dividends? acquire businesses? Yours?] at the beginning of Year-2/-3/-4?



Our most likely case projections describe a vigorous business with excellent growth potential. The initial infusion of $___, assumed from the first month of Year-1, is based on ___[a loan and shares? a loan? convertible debentures? Yours?]. The loan/debentures can be repaid/converted to common shares in one/ two/ three years. Annual interest of ___% on the loan will be paid monthly/at that time. The investor would immediately/then own ___ shares valued at $___ per share, representing ___ percent of equity. A directorship is available/optional. The cash infusion includes working capital with a reserve to meet unexpected demands on cash and maintain some flexibility. These funds are adequate for the business to ___[reach positive cash flow in the first/ second/ third/ fourth quarter of Year-1/in Year-2? reach its near-/mid-term objectives, at which point a second-round infusion of $___ will boost the business to the next level? Yours?]. Cash flow will be sufficient to ___[pay the costs of an IPO? fund expansion? declare dividends? acquire new businesses? Yours?] at the start of Year-2/-3/-4?


Our most likely case projections describe a viable growth business which can service its obligations and quickly reward investment. The initial infusion of $___ is assumed from the first month of Year-1. It includes working capital and a reserve to meet unexpected demands on cash and maintain some flexibility. These funds are adequate for the business to ___[reach positive cash flow in the first/ second/ third/ fourth quarter of Year-1/in Year-2? reach its near-/mid-term objectives, at which point a second-round infusion of $___ will boost the business to the next level? Yours?]. Deal structure is open and negotiable.


Our most likely case projections describe a viable business fully capable of servicing its obligations, which are assumed from the first month of Year-1. The long-term component of $___, secured by ___[the tangible assets of the business? an SBA guarantee? the personal assets of the borrower? Yours?], is assumed for ___ years at approximately ___ percent interest. A short-term debt balance of $___ secured by accounts receivable /inventory is assumed for working capital, which includes a reserve to meet unexpected demands on cash. These funds are seen to be adequate for the business to ___[reach positive cash flow? reach breakeven sales? operate at a profit?] by ___[the first/ second/ third/ fourth quarter of Year-1? by Year-2? by Year-3? Yours?]. Additional long-term debt of $___ is assumed in Year-2/-3/-4? ___[to capitalize expansion? Yours?].


Our sales projections show that the strategic partnership can expect to be mutually rewarding in a fairly short time. We are open to discussion of revenue-sharing terms.


I - MANAGEMENT & OPERATIONS


Management Philosophy

The principal(s) believe(s) that, next to our customers, information is our most valuable asset. Hence, information gathering will be Job #1 for our management team and every ___[Name your company] employee/strategic partner.

Information processing and communications systems will integrate all components of our internal and external operation.

We will share information in “Quality Circles.” Groups consisting of management, staff, strategic partners will meet regularly to review operations and discuss ways to improve the quality of our current products/services; develop new products/services; streamline our manufacturing/production/delivery processes; control costs; improve relationships with suppliers, distributors, dealers, and above all with customers.

We believe that our information-integrated operation will result in the following benefits to the company:

o Independent decision-making on the line; minimum supervision.
o Highly involved and motivated people; minimum staff turnover.
o Maximum productivity and cost efficiency.
o Maximum inventory and receivables turnovers; positive cash flow.
o “Perfect” product quality.
o Total customer satisfaction.
o Maximum profitability.

Management Team

___[Name your principals] bring excellent managerial and technical skills to this venture.

___[Summarize the curricula vitae of your principals. Indicate a balance between their managerial and technical qualifications. Highlight their academic and professional accomplishments. Give the reviewer a glimpse of your principals' personal interests and character. If appropriate, reference the way in which the principals got together--per ME #15].


Professional Advisors

To help us make the best management, marketing and money decisions, we will take expert advice from ___[professional advisors? an outside board of directors? Yours?], as follows.

Management Consultant
Name:
Address:
Phone:

Financial Consultant
Name:
Address:
Phone:

Marketing Consultant
Name:
Address:
Phone:

Accountant
Name:
Address:
Phone:

Legal Counsel
Name:
Address:
Phone:

Yours: ___?

Compensation will be ___[on a project basis? at hourly rates? through revenue-sharing? through equity ownership? on a salary basis? Yours?].


Strategic Partners

We plan to operate, ___[on an ongoing basis? at least initially? for special projects? Yours?], in strategic partnerships with ___[Identify types of companies needed to operate your business and market your product--professional advisors? creative consultants? engineering companies? component suppliers? manufacturing subcontractors? printers? publishers? sales representatives? agents? brokers? distributors? retailers? customers?--Yours?] .

By leveraging the resources and skills of strategic partners we will reduce our use of debt/equity capital, improve our cash flow, maximize our flexibility, and reduce product development time.

Four principles will guide our strategic partnerships.

(1) Trust. In addition to contributing physical and human resources, each partner will contribute knowledge and information to the venture. To eliminate constraint, all partners will sign non-disclosure and non-circumvent agreements.

(2) Information-Integration. A feature of our partnerships will be network communications and Quality Circles. Partners will meet regularly to measure progress and develop product and process improvements. Between meetings, partners will network via ___[telephone? fax? pagers? computer link? modem? cell-phones? notebook computers? mobile radios? Yours?].

(3) “Perfect Product Quality.” We will establish zero-defects standards on all goods or services contributed by partners as well as on promptness of delivery. Pursuing perfection will reduce rejects, save time and directly impact customer satisfaction. ___[Name your company]'s equation for success is: Zero Defects = Perfect Product Quality + Maximum Cost and Time Efficiency = Total Customer Satisfaction = Profitability.

(4) Co-destiny. Each Partner's remuneration will be tied to the success of the venture. They will agree to ___[revenue-sharing? royalty? profit-sharing? cost plus a percentage of the gross? deferred terms? Yours?]. Agreements will include an escape clause whereby we can immediately terminate the contract of any Partner that fails to honor their commitments.

___[Name your company] has formed/ is finalizing agreements with/ plans to form the following strategic partnership(s):

Title of project or alliance: ___?
Purpose of alliance: ___?
Number of Partners: ___?

Partners:.

Name of company:
Address:
Phone:
Contribution: ___[Specify competence/resources]

Terms of arrangement: ___[per ME #16].



Table of Organization

All/Most/Some of the company's key posts have been filled. Those remaining are so indicated in the following table. Based on our business-development plans, these posts will need to be filled on the dates indicated in the table.


MANAGEMENT

President (and/or) Chief Executive Officer (also Chairman of the Board?)
___[Name your top executive]
Ownership: ___%
Salary: $___

CEO TASKS: Gather, organize and direct the use of any and all information that can advance the company's success in all areas of operations.

Chief Information Officer (also Executive Vice President or Vice President and/or Director?)
Name/To be filled by ___[Date]
Ownership: ___%
Salary: $___

CIO TASKS: Implement the successful evaluation, installation, integration, and maintenance of the company's information-gathering, -processing and -communications network. Train management, staff, strategic partners, and customers in the use of our information technology.

Chief Operations Officer (also Exec. VP or VP and/or Director)
Name/To be filled by ___[Date]
Ownership: ___%
Salary: $___

TASKS: Coordinate all aspects of operations: R&D, manufacturing, production, distribution, sales, customer service.

Vice President Human Resources
Name/To be filled by ___[Date]
Ownership: ___%
Salary: $___

TASKS: Develop criteria and systems for attracting, evaluating, hiring, training, motivating, and compensating employees. Specify and manage employee benefits programs and retirement-investment funds. Organize “extra-curricular” activities. Foster good relationships with labor unions.

Vice President Public Affairs
Name/To be filled by ___[Date]
Ownership: ___%
Salary: $___

TASKS: Further the company's interests by keeping informed of all government and industry regulations affecting the company's operation. Stay in touch with regulating bodies and action groups. Work with lobbyists. Participate in industry association conferences. Keep abreast of all relevant journals, studies, and forecasts, both domestic and global.

Environmental Engineering Officer
Name/To be filled by ___[Date]
Ownership: ___%
Salary: $___

TASKS: Evaluate and recommend ways to manage waste, control energy use, reduce and reuse resources. Supervise environmental impact studies. Stay abreast of all environmental regulations impacting the company's operations.

Chief Operating Officer
Name/To be filled by ___[Date]
Ownership: ___%
Salary: $___

TASKS: Coordinate all aspects of operations: R&D, manufacturing, production, distribution, sales, customer service.


MARKETING

Vice President Marketing
Name/To be filled by ___[Date]
Ownership: ___%
Salary: $___

TASKS: Identify customers and distribution channels. Identify new markets, including export markets, and perform research studies to see which markets should be developed. Continually monitor the successful implementation of the company's marketing plan and adjust marketing goals and strategies as appropriate.

Vice President Market Research
Name/To be filled by ___[Date]
Ownership: ___%
Salary: $___

TASKS: Establish research parameters and institute systems for obtaining and processing market information. Develop mailing lists and manage the company's database. Continually monitor customers for information needed to improve product and service performance and improve marketing communications.

Vice President Research & Development
Name/To be filled by ___[Date]
Ownership: ___%
Salary: $___

TASKS: Continually improve products and develop follow-on products for market. Specify all aspects of product development including: materials, components, design, features and packaging. Verify manufacturing feasibility. Specify quality standards and quality control procedures.

Vice President Manufacturing (or Production)
Name/To be filled by ___[Date]
Ownership: ___%
Salary: $___

TASKS: Coordinate and supervise all aspects of the manufacturing and/or production process: plant layout, work cell design, materials sourcing, handling and just-in-time supply. Train work teams and integrate all human and technological aspects of manufacturing and/or production. Set work schedules and manage quality control.

Vice President Domestic Sales
Name/To be filled by ___[Date]
Ownership: ___%
Salary: $___

TASKS: Develop sales in the home market. Develop selling tools. Train and supervise sales personnel in the effective use of selling tools. Establish sales goals and incentives programs. Evaluate and hire manufacturers representatives. Constantly monitor customer satisfaction and supervise customer service performance. Develop systems to measure and improve sales performance.

Vice President International Sales
Name/To be filled by ___[Date]
Ownership: ___%
Salary: $___

TASKS: Identify potential export markets. Develop an export marketing plan. Manage the company's overseas branch office(s)/export agents. Keep informed of foreign market and political news. Stay abreast of trade treaties.

Advertising and Promotions Manager
Name/To be filled by ___[Date]
Ownership: ___%
Salary: $___

TASKS: Supervise the implementation of ___[Name your company]'s advertising and publicity plan. Work with marketing communications suppliers to create a corporate identity and brand image, and develop information interface with the media and our customers. Develop all relevant free and paid advertising opportunities and materials.

Technical Service Manager
Name/To be filled by ___[Date]
Ownership: ___%
Salary: $___

TASKS: Manage our customer service operation. This will include product installation, operator training, maintenance, repairs, trouble shooting on the phone, sales and shipment of spare parts, managing parts inventory, supervising returns and adjustments.

MONEY

Chief Financial Officer
Name/To be filled by ___[Date]
Ownership: ___%
Salary: $___

CFO TASKS: Manage the company's financial affairs including inventory control and cash management. Set up accounting and billing procedures. Continuously track financial progress and update financial forecasts and budgets. Make sure we have the proper insurance coverage at the best price.

STAFF

Initially, we will need a staff of ___ people to support our operation. Staff will be expanded only as justified by growth. Staff will be remunerated on a salary basis/ salary plus profit-sharing basis.


Profit-sharing is intended to reduce fixed costs and help to optimize productivity.

PROJECTED STAFF STRENGTH PER YEAR
__________________________________________________
Year -1 -2 -3 -4 -5
Office manager
__________________________________________________
Receptionist
__________________________________________________
Yours: ___?
__________________________________________________
ANNUAL STAFF PAYROLL: $___ $___ $___ $___ $___



Direct labor is detailed in Section II of this document, under “Manufacturing.”


Labor belongs/will belong to ___[Name labor union(s)].

SALES FORCE

Sales to ___[key distributors? new accounts? OEMs? Yours?] will be handled directly by our management team.

The following table shows our projected sales force strength for five years. Sales personnel will be remunerated on the basis of ___[salary? commission? base salary plus commission? salary plus revenue-sharing? salary plus profit-sharing? Yours?].

PROJECTED SALES FORCE STRENGTH PER YEAR
__________________________________________________
Year -1 -2 -3 -4 -5
__________________________________________________
Technical sales
__________________________________________________
Field personnel
__________________________________________________
Yours: ___?
__________________________________________________

Average salary $___ $___ $___ $___ $___
Average commission $___ $___ $___ $___ $___
__________________________________________________


Field personnel will use their own cars instead company-leased cars.

We plan to minimize sales and service payroll by installing computer links at customers' premises within ___ months/years. This will transfer to the customer the tasks of order taking and billing/ trouble-shooting/ shipment-tracking/ Yours?.

Total projected payroll for management, operations, and sales
__________________________________________________
Year -1 2 -3 -4 -5
$___

Payroll taxes and benefits are estimated at ___%.
Annual salary raises are estimated at ___% per year.

Operations & Production

Consistent with our management philosophy, ___[Name your company] will operate with a flat, flexible structure. Strategic decisions will be taken by the management team with the assistance of our think tank/professional advisors/strategic partners. Emphasis will be on marketing, which includes product development and production/manufacturing (our manufacturing plan is detailed at the end of Section II). Day-to-day decisions will be taken by the individuals responsible for our marketing operation, which integrates the following activities:

(1) Market Research & Product Development (R&D)

o Information gathering. We will rely on ___[focus groups? telephone surveys? in-pack questionnaires? point-of-sale interviews? Yours?] to learn what products/services and features or improvements the market wants. Based on this information, we will continually improve our products so we can introduce the right follow-ons at the right times and reduce the risk of substitute products eroding our franchise.

o Design/ engineer/ source upgrades, new products/services, and new customer support products/services.

o Verify marketing feasibility with respect to cost of manufacturing/inventory, availability of distribution channels, impact of government regulations, likelihood of competitive response, likelihood of substitute products/technologies being introduced.

o Design packaging, merchandising and promotional materials.

o Conduct focus group research to verify market acceptance of the Product and promotional strategies.

o Identify reliable sources of supply for materials/ components/ merchandise, and set up just-in-time delivery schedules with suppliers.

o Design work cells for manufacturing, including selection of production equipment

o Determine production cycles to meet market demand.

o Design sales promotions to move outdated inventory.

o Conduct market research to learn what products/services and product features or improvements the market wants

o Yours: ___?

(2) Production/Manufacturing*:



*Our manufacturing plan is detailed in Section II of this document.

o Purchase raw materials/ components/ ingredients/ merchandise.

o Hire labor/ work teams/ floor staff

o Train work teams/ floor staff

o Manufacture /Process/ Package/ Display merchandise to specifications provided by R&D.

o Prepare to distribute goods/services to the customer.

o Yours: ___?

(3) Order Fulfillment:

o Design and implement sales, merchandising and promotions strategies and campaigns.

o Develop sales to distributors/ retailers/ end users ___?

o Develop and implement customer service and aftercare programs.

o Track customer satisfaction and feed information to R&D.

o Yours: ___?

4) Total Quality Control:

o Establish zero-defect standards for all goods/services produced for sale under our brand.

o Establish achievable just-in-time schedules with suppliers.

o Design and implement training programs to facilitate quick and informed decision-making and optimize productivity.

o Develop diagnostic systems for locating and eliminating problems in the production process.

o Continuously monitor customer satisfaction and recommend improvements to product/service quality, manufacturing/processing, and customer service.

o Yours: ___?

We will use the following methods to minimize the risk of excess inventory at the end of the selling season:

o Purchase/Produce inventory on a just-in-time basis?

o Purchase inventory from suppliers that agree to take back unused/unsold stocks?

o Move excess inventory at clearance prices to discount outlets?

o Move excess inventory at clearance prices at our own factory outlet?

o Use sales promotions to move excess inventory?

o Restrict our markets to warm/cold climates where we can market year-round?

o Launch new products/ open new outlets/ diversify into other businesses that extend our seasonal opportunity?

o Yours: ___?


II - MARKETING

The Product


A photo/ technical diagram/ sample/ brochure of ___[Name your product/service] is attached in Appendix/Exhibit B/C/?.

___[Describe your product, service or merchandising concept in detail--what it is, how it is priced, what it substitutes for, why it’s needed, how it works, what its features are, how it is used, how it comes, etc.--per ME #17]

Market Niche (The Customer)

CONSUMER SEGMENT(S)


Our consumer market fits the following profile.

DEMOGRAPHIC INDICATORS:

SEX: ___[female? male? male and female? alternative lifestyle?]

AGE: ___[pre-teen? teen? young adult? adult? seniors? age ___ - ___ years? Yours?]

OCCUPATION: ___[students? housewives? blue collar? white collar? professionals? self-employed? unemployed? retired? Yours?]

INCOME: ___[fixed income? lower-middle income? middle income? upper-middle income? wealthy? $___-$___K annually? Yours?]

EDUCATION: ___[high school? better educated? Yours?]

MARITAL STATUS: ___[single? divorced? planning marriage? newlyweds? parents? single parents? Yours?]

HOUSEHOLD: ___[no children? expecting? small children? extended family? Yours?]

DWELLING: ___[own high value home? own modest older home? highrise apartment? retirement home? Yours?]

NEIGHBORHOOD: ___[inner city? urban? suburban? rural? seaside? desert? Yours?]

FAMILY ROLE: ___[decision-maker? head of household? spouse? dependent? Yours?]

PSYCHOGRAPHIC INDICATORS:

ATTITUDE/ PERSONALITY: ___[businesslike? assertive? self-confident? insecure? risk-taker? passive-conformist? free and independent? joiner? trend-setter? passive conformist? self-reliant? rebellious? iconoclastic? seeks approval? early adapter? late adapter? Yours?]

MOTIVATION TO BUY: ___[quality? price? convenience? service? security? brand recognition? exclusivity? prestige? satisfies aspirations? Yours?]

VALUES: ___[materialistic? wholesome/natural? hedonistic? nurturing? Yours?]

POLITICS: ___[liberal? moderate? conservative? independent? undecided? Yours?]

ENVIRONMENTAL CONSCIOUSNESS: ___[concerned? involved? activist? Yours?]]

WORK ETHIC: ___[diligent? loyal? overachiever? underachiever? Yours?]

CHARACTER: ___[youthful? free spirited? friendly and outgoing? fun to be with? a good friend? a concerned parent? a born leader? a loner? “good folks”? wholesome and natural? active and in control of his/her life? Yours?].

SOCIOGRAPHIC INDICATORS:

ASSOCIATIONS: ___[country club? yacht club? garden club? community council? chamber of commerce? business associations? professional associations? PTA? Yours?]

RECREATION: ___[fitness clubs? boating? fishing? team sports? golf? racquet sports? skateboarding? swimming? jogging? fitness? biking? motorbiking? equestrian? camping? hunting? surfing? surfboarding? ice sailing? roller skating? ice skating? rollerblading? skiing? snowmobiling? motorsports? flying? bowling? dancing? Yours?]

HOBBIES: ___[stamp collecting? coin collecting? cooking? sewing? handicrafts? gardening? carpentry? home decorating? antique restoration? arts? reading? model building? photography? video? arcade games? brewing or wine making? quilting? Yours?]

MEDIA HABITS: ___[View TV ___ hours per day between the hours of ___ a.m./p.m. and ___ a.m./p.m.; read business magazines such as ___?; read specialized magazines such as ___? read periodicals including ___? Yours?]

BUSINESS TRAVEL: ___[frequent flyer? occasional flyer? drives company car? drives personal car? takes the train? Yours?]

DRIVES: ___[new car? older car? American car? European car? Japanese car? luxury car? economy car? sports car? family hauler? pickup? SUV? muscle car? Yours?]

WEARS: ___[designer labels? off the rack? trendy? conservative? casual wear? jeans? Yours?]

EATS: ___[meat and potatoes? health foods? diet foods? convenience foods? junk food? gourmet foods? ethnic foods? frequents fast food restaurants? fine restaurants? Yours?]

IMBIBES: ___[tobacco? white spirits? dark spirits? imported/domestic wines? imported/domestic beers? light beers? dry beers? strong beers? alcohol-free beer? coffee? decaffeinated coffee? soft drinks? tea? sweets? Yours?]

HEALTH & BEAUTY: ___[chronic pain? anxiety? physically challenged? heavy user of: analgesics? tranquilizers? antacids? laxatives? vitamins? antihistamines? therapeutic skin care products? cosmetic skin care products? hair coloring? baby products? fragrance? Yours?]

PETS: ___[dog lovers? cat fanciers? equestrians? Yours?]



Our consumer market fits the following profile: ___[Define your customer demographically, psychographically and sociographically--per ME #21].

CHARACTERIZATION/BADGING:


Our typical customer can be characterized/badged as follows:

o “Madonna” (self-determined, free and independent females age 12 to 19 years)

o “Armani” (trendy, status-conscious upper-middle-income urban and suburban males age 39 to 55)

o “L.L. Bean” (natural, quality conscious higher-income adults age 35-49)

o “Topsider” (practical, active, value-conscious sailors)

o Yours: ___?

BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS SEGMENT(S)

Our target market will be businesses which meet the following criteria:

TYPE: ___[Classify targeted organization(s)--per ME #22]

SIC CODE: ___[See “SIC” in Glossary]

SIZE: ___[Indicate the size of the targeted organization--in terms of annual sales, number of employees, number of offices or factories, annual appropriations for your type of product, or annual costs if your product is intended to reduce their costs--per ME #23]

LOCATION: ___[Indicate cities or regions. If you are targeting distributors, dealers or other resellers, quantify their markets in terms of the number of customers they serve, or the population of the region they serve--per ME #24]

We will direct our approach to the following decision maker(s):

TITLE: ___[Identify the level at which you will target sales--President? CEO (Chief Executive Officer)? COO (Chief Operating Officer)? CFO (Chief Financial Officer)? CIO (Chief Information Officer)? VP Sales and Marketing? VP Engineering? VP Manufacturing? VP Human Resources? VP Research and Development? Chief Designer? Office Manager? Product Manager? Advertising & Promotions Manager? Head Buyer? Assistant Buyer? Minister of ___? Commissioner of ___? Production Manager? Purchasing Agent? Meetings & Conventions Planner? Project Director? Maintenance Engineer? Environmental Engineer? Yours?]

RESPONSIBILITIES: ___[Briefly describe decision maker’s duties-- runs the whole show? coordinates manufacturing and marketing? supervises product development? purchases office equipment? plans meetings and conventions? Yours?].

POWERS/AUTHORITY: ___[Decision maker? Influences decision making? Yours?]

SCOPE: ___[Global? Corporate? Departmental? Yours?]

PERSONAL MOTIVATION: ___[Achievement? Pride? Duty? Status? Approval? Advancement? Yours?]

PROFESSIONAL MOTIVATION: ___[Quality Enhancement? Cost Reduction? Increased Productivity? Safety? Security? Morale? Compliance with Regulations? Yours?]

LIMITATIONS: ___[Geographical? Departmental? Requires purchasing approval: specify from whom, if you know or can find out]

PROSPECTIVE CUSTOMERS:

___[Name your company] has already begun/will immediately begin to develop sales among the following prospects.

PROSPECT LIST:

Name of organization:
Location:
Size:
Sales potential: $___ per month/year
Name & title of person to contact:
Status: ___[Indicate whether prospect already has been contacted or is currently evaluating or using your product]


CUSTOMER CASE HISTORIES:


Customer case histories are attached as Appendix C/D?.

Customer Case History #1.

___[Name your customer] has been our satisfied customer/client since 19___. They first heard about us ___[through personal visits by our sales representatives? at the Name of Trade Show? through our ad in the ___[Name the media]? through PR in the ___[Name the media]? through referral by ___[Name the contact]? through our telemarketing campaign? Yours?].

They chose us primarily for reasons of ___[our unique product/service? our product quality? price? style? selection? location? service? guarantee? attitude? reputation? performance record? Yours?].

Their first order was for ___[Describe the products or services they bought and the size of the order]. Since that time they have maintained/ increased/ decreased volume, largely due to ___[cost savings? improved productivity? personal service? competitive activity? Yours?].

We are/are not this customer’s only supplier for our type of product. We estimate that their business with us accounts for ___% of their overall appropriations for similar products.

They are currently spending about $____ per week/month/quarter/year with us and our relationship is excellent/ good/ at risk.


Next year's sales goal for this client is $___. This will be achieved by ___[adding value to the Product? developing additional products? improving our service? offering additional services? installing a computer link for direct ordering and service? lowering our prices? Yours?].


Their problem(s) is/are mainly in the area(s) of ___[price? service? variety? availability? quality? value? location? competitive activity? people? Yours?]. We are addressing this situation by ___[adding value to the Product? developing additional products? improving our service? offering additional services? installing a computer link for direct ordering and service? lowering our prices? Yours?].


Market & Competitive Analysis

Our market is based on ___[Identify products/services which define your market--per ME #25].

This segment is in the introductory/growth/mature/declining phase of its life cycle.

The ___[Identify your industry or market--per ME #26] as a whole is ___[growing steadily/strong? experiencing a boom? evidencing a dramatic shift in values? enjoying a resurgence? attracting many new customers/participants? Yours?].

___[Identify your source of market information--i.e., Industry experts? Yours?] attribute this trend to ___[per ME #27].

According to industry reports, total sales in this market were $___ in 199___[Last year]. Sales are expected to ___[accelerate rapidly? rise steadily? stabilize? Yours?] over the next few years.

This trend is attributed to ___[Explain reason(s)--i.e., the fact that this is a young industry just entering its growth cycle? the vigorous economy? relaxing of trade barriers? increasing demand from developing nations? changes in tax laws? changing lifestyles? changing work styles? growing environmental concerns? aging population? technology breakthroughs? the “information superhighway”? the “Peace Dividend”? the new budget? new legislative programs? Yours?].

The market is served by a small/ growing/ large number of small /large foreign/ mature companies. The key participants are identified in the following table.
__________________________________________________
NAME OF COMPETITOR/BRAND

#1: ___[Name #1 competitor or competing brand]
#2: ___[Name #2 competitor or competing brand]
#3: ___[Name #3 competitor or competing brand]

Successful new participants in this market, notably ___[Name company], have demonstrated that customers will buy/switch in response to ___[better performance? innovative features/technology? better quality for the price? more responsive customer service? wider choice or variety? better guarantees/warrantees? enhanced shopping convenience? environmental values? imagery/advertising? Yours?].

DISTRIBUTION:

All/Most/Some successful participants sell direct to the customer, via ___[a company sales force? direct response marketing? their own showrooms/stores? crafts fairs? auctions? Yours?].

All/Most/Some leading companies sell through resellers, including ___[manufacturers representatives? key distributors? wholesale distributors? jobbers? agents? brokers? in-home (“party”) sales? catalog marketers? retail outlets? value added resellers? systems integrators? Yours?].

The most successful companies sell direct/ through resellers/ through a combination of direct sales and resellers.

The following is a list of the types of distributors and retail outlets typically used in this sector.

__________________________________________________
TYPES OF DISTRIBUTORS & RETAILERS SIC CODE

Yours: ___?
__________________________________________________

PRICING:

Prices vary widely/ very little among the major participants, as shown below.

__________________________________________________
NAME OF COMPETITOR/BRAND PRICE RANGE
#1: $___ to $___ per ___ unit
#2:
#3:

Yours: ___?
__________________________________________________



COMPETITORS' STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
__________________________________________________
COMPANY: ___[Name your competitor]

TARGET MARKET: ___[Identify your competitor’s target market]

BRAND NAME: ___?

POSITIONING: ___[See ME #20]

PRODUCT QUALITY: ___[Do competing brands perform better, worse, at parity with yours?]

PRICE: ___[Do competitors have a price advantage or disadvantage?]

EMPLOYEE SKILLS: ___[Are their employees better or worse trained, more or less conscientious, than yours?]

CUSTOMER SERVICE: ___[How does your competitors’ responsiveness to the customers’ needs compare with yours?]

PRODUCT RANGE: ___[Do competitors offer more or less variety than you do?]

FEATURES/ OPTIONS: ___[Do they offer more, better, different, fewer product features and options?]

FREQUENCY OF FOLLOW-ONS: ___[Do they introduce new products more or less frequently?]

PRODUCTION COSTS: ___[Do they have an advantage in terms of lower production costs--due to their location or the size of their operation?]

CONGRUENCE: ___[How closely do competing manufacturers of industrial components meet the customer’s original specifications]

AESTHETICS: ___[look, touch, feel, sound, fragrance, style, fit and finish]

ENVIRONMENTAL FRIENDLINESS: ___[Do competitors meet the customer’s, and the government’s, environmental standards?]

PAYBACK: ___[How quickly do competing products or technologies repay the customer’s financial investment--through increased productivity, reduced rejects, improved quality, time savings?]

RELIABILITY: ___[How trouble-free are competing brands? Do they deliver on time?]

DURABILITY/RETAINED VALUE: ___[How long before they need repair or replacement? How long do they hold their value? Do they have good resale value?]

EASE OF MAINTENANCE/ REPAIR/ AFTERCARE: ___[Evaluate the ease of maintaining and/or repairing product; the availability, speed, quality and friendliness of service]

DISTRIBUTION/ AVAILABILITY: ___[Do competitors have a distribution advantage or disadvantage--are their products easy or hard to find? Is it convenient for the customer to buy?]

R&D INVESTMENT: ___[Do they spend more or less money on product upgrades?]

BRAND AWARENESS/ CUSTOMER LOYALTY: ___[Are your competitors better known than you are? Must you win over their customers to succeed? (To penetrate a market dominated by famous brands, you might need to spend a lot on advertising or lower your selling price.)]

ADVERTISING & BUDGET: ___[Are competitors weak in their advertising? Can they outspend you? Will your promotions be more on target, more creative?]

Yours: ___?

Our analysis of the competition's strengths and weaknesses reveals that ___[Summarize your competitive analysis and qualify your competitive opportunity--per ME #29].



COMPETITIVE COMPARISON CHART
__________________________________________________
COMPARISON CRITERIA “Your Brand” “Brand X”

__________________________________________________
(Product)
__________________________________________________
Quality/performance
__________________________________________________
Customer service
__________________________________________________
Responsiveness to customers
__________________________________________________
Employee skills
__________________________________________________
Product range
__________________________________________________
Price
__________________________________________________
Features/options
__________________________________________________
Reliability/durability
__________________________________________________
Yours: ___?
__________________________________________________
(Marketing)
__________________________________________________
Positioning
__________________________________________________
Location/availability
__________________________________________________
R&D spending
__________________________________________________
Frequency of follow-ons
__________________________________________________
Environmental responsibility
__________________________________________________
Advertising Budget
__________________________________________________
Brand awareness
__________________________________________________
Yours: ___?
__________________________________________________
(Corporate)
__________________________________________________
Financial resources
__________________________________________________
Stability
__________________________________________________
Flexibility
__________________________________________________
Production costs
__________________________________________________
Commitment to total quality
__________________________________________________
Commitment to customer satisfaction
__________________________________________________
Purchasing leverage
__________________________________________________
Political leverage
__________________________________________________
Yours: ___?
__________________________________________________


Positioning

Our product/service/brand can be differentiated in the marketplace on the basis of ___[Define your product’s strongest point(s) of differentiation, based on the above analysis].

Our unique positioning will be: ___[Write a sentence that communicates your positioning--per ME #30].

Pricing


___[Name your company]'s pricing strategy satisfies the following prerequisites:

o Optimize the perceived value of the Product, thus fostering market acceptance
o Ensure maximum gross margin.
o Foster high volume sales.
o Yours?

Our pricing structure, shown in the following table, is based on ___[direct sales to the end user? lot sales to wholesalers/retailers? over-the-counter sales? Yours?].



__________________________________________________
AVERAGE UNIT PRICE (PER PRODUCT SEGMENT):

Product Segment A
___[Define product segment]
Average Unit Price: $___


AVERAGE REVENUE PER SALE (ALL PRODUCT SEGMENTS) YEAR-1:

$___.

The following table shows our sliding scale for wholesale prices
.
1-499 UNITS 500-2000 UNITS OVER 2000 UNITS
$___/unit $___/unit $___/unit

Our selling price will/will not include freight/S&H. This policy is/is not standard practice in our industry. Hence, our policy will ___[be consistent with the customer's expectations? exceed the customer's expectations thus adding perceived value and helping to foster market acceptance? Yours?].


Our average gross margin in Year-1 is estimated at ___%

We are confident that our pricing strategy is realistic, for the following reasons:


o We are creating a new market segment. No other companies offer similar products to ours: there is no pricing precedent. We tested a variety of price points in focus groups. The suggested price is the highest at which The Product was generally perceived to be an excellent value.

o We are introducing a new product/brand in a growing market. Growing competition is resulting in more choices for customers, and lower prices. We don't need to undersell the incumbents so much as we need to compete at the same level in order to get our share of the many new customers entering this market.

o We are entering a growing/mature/declining market. Competitors' prices range from $___ to $___ per unit/average order. The low end starts at $___ and reaches $___. The high end ranges from $___ up to $___. We feel that a price of $___ per unit/average order will give us a competitive advantage.

o We have received strong support for our price point from distributors/dealers/prospective customers.

o Yours?


o The low price allows us to penetrate this mature market by going in at $___/___% under the ___[major brand? leading competitor? industry average? Yours?].

o The low price will help to overcome retailer resistance and foster rapid distribution.

o The low price is smart, since most of our future revenue will result from sales of accessories and options. Our projected ratio of option-sales to initial sales is expected to be ___ :1 by Year-1/2/?.

o The parity price adds perceived value since our price includes ___[extra features? extended warrantee? bonus components/ quantities/ ingredients? Yours?] that competitors either do not include or charge extra for.

o Yours: ___?

Packaging

A picture/sample of our package is attached as Appendix/Exhibit ?.

Our package will be a major contributor to our marketing success, in that it will help the Product sell itself at point-of-sale.

A key consideration in our package design is that it communicate the right brand image.

The image is defined as follows:

___[Define the brand or corporate image that your package must project--wholesome? pure and natural? environmentally safe? chic? leading edge? traditional? trendy? friendly? fun? familiar? unconventional? powerful? gentle? loving? caring? accessible? helpful? high value? high quality? sophisticated? naughty? Yours?]

We tested several designs in focus groups. Our current package design, shown in Appendix ?, is the clear winner in all of the key attributes.

Other considerations contributing to the package design: ___[cost? sturdiness? stackability? freshness? federally mandated information? consistency with other products in our line? flexibility in using the same photo elements to produce other promotional materials? Yours?].


Retail Outlet Strategy


SITE:

Our ___[store? restaurant? service center? Yours?] occupies/will occupy ___ square feet in a ___[Describe the type of building or mall], situated in ___[an urban commercial? a suburban residential? Yours?] neighborhood. Demographically, the area is ___[upscale? blue-collar? under development? undergoing renewal? Yours?]. The location is visible. Most traffic will be walk-in/ drive-in/ by appointment only. There is ample parking in the mall/on the street. The location is close to public transportation.


The major source of traffic will be from ___[shoppers at the mall? office workers in the building? spectators at the sports arena? conventioneers at the hotel? Yours?].

Our store hours are/will be from ___ a.m. to ___ p.m. weekdays and from ___ a.m. to ___ p.m. Saturday/Sunday. Traffic flow in the immediate vicinity averages ___ per hour during the week. Traffic is heaviest from ___ a.m./p.m. to ___ p.m./a.m. on ___[Name busiest days of the week], during which we will be open.

MEDIA:

Customers will be attracted to our store by ___[Describe the “media dimension” of your store --i.e., storefront and window display].

PHYSICAL:

The floor plan is/will be designed for maximum circulation throughout the space.

Merchandise is/will be displayed in ___[Describe your merchandising system--i.e., showcases, pegboards, aisle displays, etc.].

PEOPLE:

The store will be managed by ___[Name manager]. There will be ___ people on the floor for every ___ customers.


Sales and Distribution Strategy


SALES THROUGH DEALER NETWORK/FRANCHISEES:

___[Name your company] plans to organize a regional/ national/ international network of dealerships/ franchisees. We plan to attract candidates ___[by advertising in our industry media? at trade shows? Yours?]. Territorial rights will be sold for between $___ and $___ according to population density of the territory. The franchise selling price will include ___[architectural plans? our secret recipe? marketing support? P.O.P. materials and advertising support on a cooperative basis? Yours?].

SALES THROUGH KEY DISTRIBUTORS:

___[Name your company] has become familiar with the leading distributors serving our prospective end users throughout the ___[Identify geographic marketplace]. We hope to develop some these into key distributors. Sales to prospective distributors/key distributors will be handled directly by senior management.

PROSPECTIVE KEY DISTRIBUTORS
(Projected sales $)
__________________________________________________
NAME Year -1 -2 -3 -4 -5

Yours: ___? $___
Yours: ___?
Yours: ___?
__________________________________________________

Distributors will learn about ___[Name your company] as follows:


o Direct approach by senior management?
o At trade shows?
o Telemarketing to set up appointments?
o PR in trade media?
o Trade ads?
o Yours: ___?

We will provide distributors with selling tools, including ___[price and specification sheets? brochures? samples? demonstrators? Yours?].

We will provide technical training to distributors and institute customer support programs which will be actively promoted in advertising. The following products are being considered:

o Financing assistance: ___[Name and explain product--per ME #31].
o Guaranteed spare parts shipment: ___[Name and explain product--per ME #32].
o Rent-to-buy plan ___[Name and explain product--per ME #33].
o Yours: ___?

DIRECT SALES TO END USER ACCOUNTS:

Approximately ___% of ___[Name your company]'s sales will be direct to end users.

Horizontal end user accounts include ___[Identify prospective end users].

Individual accounts in this segment would have applications for a range of our products, including: ___[Identify product types, models or sizes]. They also represent potential sales of follow-on products ___[Identify follow-on types or sizes].

Vertical end users include ___[Identify prospective vertical end users].

Individual accounts in this segment have specific applications for a limited segment of our product line, including: ___[Identify product types, models or sizes].

The company has targeted the following prospects in the ___[Name geographic market(s)] market(s).
__________________________________________________
Year -1 -2 -3 -4 -5

PROSPECT NAME (Projected sales $)

Yours: ___? $___
Yours: ___?
Yours: ___?
__________________________________________________

___[Describe one or two typical applications for your product in this segment--per ME #34].

Sales to end users will be handled by ___[our senior management, our sales force? technical sales personnel? manufacturers representatives? Yours?].

Prospects will learn about ___[Name your company] as follows.

o Direct approach by ___[top management? sales personnel? manufacturers representatives? Yours?].


o PR: Advance press releases will go out to editors of ___[Name media targeted for PR]. Our press kit will include our press release as well a


Private Reply to John Snyder

Jun 01, 2009 8:49 pmre: re: A business plan#

Daniel & Julie Harned
It depends on the business.
I walked in to get loans for a semi and trailer when we first started out.
Our second truck and 53 dry van, the finance company didn't want to finance us because we were not even 6 months old.

In my plan I showed the customers and dedicated runs as a young company that I already had and what is made per week month and year just with the dedicated runs.

They agreed once we proved we could pay for the monthly loans.

I also show my future plans for how I was planning on growing the company and what type of income I was shooting for, we not only financed those but 2 hopper trailers in the first year. Year 3 All is paid off and only thing we owe on is the refer trailer we just bought.

It looked good to walk in and say we owe nothing on any piece of equipment, that helped this time as well.

My take is impress the people you want to impress the banks for those loans, showing you actually gave this new company some thought and know where you want to go.


Private Reply to Daniel & Julie Harned

Jun 02, 2009 1:38 pmA business plan#

Mike Fesler BizHarmony
A damn fool with a plan beats a wondering genius
a hundred times out of a hundred.
--Michael Levine

M.


Private Reply to Mike Fesler BizHarmony

Jun 02, 2009 2:52 pmre: A business plan#

Shira Lady Psychic
I loved doing my Business Plan. I needed to find my target market niche. My BP helped me to find my strengths and weaknesses as compared to my competition. And I was very fortunate. Pace University Students in Marketing decided to do their research paper on my business. Their project was to find out what motivates a person to purchase a product/service that they could never imagine buying. And they chose my Pet Communication Service. In the end, they did a 14 page report that is now the marketing plan for my business. The New York Times did an article on my skills as well. And they mentioned the Pace Univerity report in the article too.

So, for me, a Business Plan was an amazing vehicle. It has given me opportunties that I never would have imagined.

Shira
www.shiraplace.com


Private Reply to Shira Lady Psychic

Jun 02, 2009 3:14 pmre: re: A business plan#

Scott Wolpow
Just Curious why a Psychic needs a business plan? You shoudl already know the outcome.


Private Reply to Scott Wolpow

Jun 02, 2009 3:33 pmpsychic business plan#

Paul Finkelstein


good one Scott.
quite funny. lol
:)
maybe we'll here an elaboration from the psychic???
~P
Put your best FACE forward!!!

"Put Your BEST Face Forward! BIG SMILE :) HUGE!"
"Live Where The Sun Spends The Winter On The Beaches Of The World!"
* http://paulstevenphotography.com/ "Pictures Are Forever!"
* Double XX-TRA-ORDINARY!


Private Reply to Paul Finkelstein

Jun 02, 2009 4:40 pmre: A business plan#

Bill Joyce
This has been a wonderful conversation and one that is filled with thought and even passion.

Business Plan vs. Free Spirit Entrepreneur - no maybe that is a bit much. I know many great Business owners and Founders who can keep their entire enterprise in their mind and see the landscape of internal and external challenges without any plan.

I know a restaurant owner who can walk in the door at 2:00pm and tell you exactly how well the evening will go. He can feel the energy of his staff and the room. He don't need no stink'n BP.

But let me ask this. If I could show you the pathway from Business Plan to Everlasting Quality Management where both executive and employee feel fully empowered and the goals of the organization are constantly centered on the Added Value we provide our customers, would you rethink you petty annoyance about spending time documenting your core focus?

If you still have no time then all the best. If you finally get it. Then embrace the Business Plan for what it truly is - the first of a series of maps to the treasure we call customer satisfaction and therefore profit.

Think you're too small. Or is it your idea that is too small...

I respect creative people who can envision their future without a plan but if you ask one other soul (one of us normal beings) to join in your quest it behooves you to provide a plan.

Did you ever see a banker read a business plan. I know I enjoyed the opportunity. It gave me a sense of the core drive of the executive which I made a part of the lending process' non-technical measurement. Want a loan from my bank you will provide a BP and I will read it to see both product life cycle and management attitude.

Yes indeed you can start a company without a BP. You can climb a mountain without crampons. You can do many things. The real question is why would you do it?

I have seeded a few reasons for a BP buried deep in my sarcasm. After you digested these gems. Give me ONE GOOD reason not to - then I believe you will have your answer.

Have a great day
Bill


Private Reply to Bill Joyce

Jun 02, 2009 6:18 pmre: re: A business plan#

Sean Hoare
Anita Rodick, founder of the Body Shop describes how she set about opening her original shop, in one of her books.

She painted the shop green and proceeded to sprinkle lavander oil all the way from the local tube station to the front door of her shop.

So much for MBA's and BP's!

She was later to be found, together withd Richard Branson, dying laughing at the thought of such a structured and mechanical approach to business.Richard Branson started his business, as a student, from a telephone box.

It is the maverick's and the pole jumpers (Leonardo Da Vinci)who make the advances on this earth. If that is what you infer by a creative approach, then you are getting closer to understanding what vision is!

It isn't rocket science!


Private Reply to Sean Hoare

Jun 06, 2009 8:22 pmre: re: re: A business plan#

Shira Lady Psychic
As a Psychic, I am not a mind reader, nor was I business saavy. With a Business Plan, I let the experts lead the way, allowing me to use my precious time to the best advantage. And as I worked my BP, my business and I both flourished. I am now a business and shop owner. I don't think I could have accomplished either without a good BP first.

Thank you for asking me this question. My mentor told me it is questions like this that will really prepare me for FAME.

So, thank you Scott for preparing me for FAME.

With or without a BP, I wish you tremendous success!

Shira


Private Reply to Shira Lady Psychic

Jun 11, 2009 2:17 amre: re: A business plan#

Richard Ackermann
Any and every business ought to have a business plan. A plan is just that simply what you intend to do with the business.

It is understood that you will probably not meet every goal, etc. If you want financing from even a family member and you show up with no business plan, good luck.

It is easier than you think to get this done just use the software that SBA recommends: the Palo Alto business planning software.

We found it to be comparable to results of plans costing thousands of dollars and it is intuitive.

How can you get somewhere unless you plan. I don't want to be low-browed but if you fail to plan you plan to fail.


Private Reply to Richard Ackermann

Jun 11, 2009 10:06 pmre: re: re: A business plan#

Brij Lal
I am Interested in some business plan
which works. Please give details.
Please check out my Ryze page.
Please add as Ryze friend.
All te best.
Bij B. Lal
brijblal@comcast.net


Private Reply to Brij Lal

Jun 11, 2009 10:16 pmre: re: re: re: A business plan#

John Snyder
Brij,
Check up above, there is a format already laid out and it is easy to follow. Just copy and print it out.
John
Prof Wordsearch


Private Reply to John Snyder

Apr 06, 2022 4:58 pmre: re: re: re: re: A business plan#

Paul Finkelstein


we already know how the psychic turned out...

or he she does...

how you doing?

how ARE YOU doing?

been a while since last heard from you...

wish the BEST for all...

new thoughts???



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Private Reply to Paul Finkelstein

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