Remember writing term papers in high school or college? You had to prove a point using evidence provided by your research of the topic. In many ways, a business plan is proving the following thesis: “I can successfully operate a sustainable business.” So what research do you need to prove this idea?
- Market Research – Who are your competitors in the area? What are their prices for comparable services? How will you differentiate your product/service from theirs?
- Financials – Create realistic projections for the money you will make and lose over the next 3 years. Explain how you came up with these figures, and how they will figure in to the growth of your company. Also include the amount of money you, your partners, and your investors (if applicable) are contributing to the start up.
- Biographies – Who’s who in the organization? What skills, experience, and talent does each of the business owners/partners bring to the proverbial table? Understand how each person will make the business successful.
- What are the duties of each person employed by the company?
- Each person should provide a personal financial statement
- How will matters be resolved if the partners cannot agree on an issue?
- Marketing Plan – How will your potential patrons know about your business? How much of your budget is devoted to marketing? Depending on the type of business, will you do traditional advertising, or organic word of mouth marketing?
- The Company Itself – What product or service are you providing, and how will you be doing this? How did you originally get involved in the industry? What makes this industry a worthwhile use of your time, energy, and money?
These are only a few of the aspects to consider when creating a business plan. You can find many seminars on how to write a business plan for little to no cost at local libraries, local community colleges – particularly Brookdale Community College, and of course at First Financial Federal Credit Union. Formal templates can be found at www.SBA.gov or www.SCORE.org. Use these questions provided, along with one of their templates, to prove your thesis – you can, in fact, operate a successful business…once you have the right plan!
For more information about any of First Financial’s business accounts and services, you can contact Business Development by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Jack Gottlieb, President of the Total Solutions Group, Inc., recently held an interactive and inspirational business seminar to help attendees put their business ideas on paper and start thinking about the long-term goals they have not only for their businesses, but for themselves. Jack explained that there is more to planning a business than just your business proposal, and it starts with you — what you want to accomplish as an entrepreneur and how you can stand out from other business owners.
Check out some of the important information that was covered during part one of this series:
- One of the first questions you should ask yourself is – “What is your business reallyabout?” If you don’t know, think about it then write it down – you will constantly refer back to this.
The core of a business: purpose and value, what need is being resolved and what value is your business offering?
Your ultimate goal: Getting your business to work for you and not you working for your business.
- Establish the product(s) that you want to offer and what will it do. Figure out what your key products are.
- Establish the service you want to provide — how you support it and ensure it.
- Establish the type of experience you want for your customers — how you deliver it and how they use it. Everything is an experience. Build your community around your business.
- Establish your community – the connection, pride and referrability is imperative to your business. In the long run, you want to have your company grow, impact people and expand.
- Create a real passion – see it, feel it and live it.
- If you’re spending money that isn’t helping your business grow, you must re-evaluate your spending patterns.
- The 3 cornerstones of having a successful business are: want vs. need, value you offer and making a profit.
- Jack recommended this book for all entrepreneurs: “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki.
- Another question to ask yourself: How does your business attract money, and how are you spending the money coming in?
- An effective business plan: The way you think, should be the same way you plan, build, and communicate your business.
- For inspiration, research successful companies such as Disney, Microsoft and Apple and see how they got started.
Jack Gottlieb is the President of The Total Solutions Group, Inc. a strategic consulting, training and coaching firm committed to driving a sustainable increase to an organization’s results, value proposition and culture. Jack brings 14 years of proven high level success along with the collective capability of his team and advisory board. Jack has also been one of the highest ranked speakers at various state wide SHRM (Society of Human Resource Managers) Annual Conferences as well as the New Jersey Organizational Development Annual Conferences for the past 7 years. Jack also serves on the Executive Board Collegiate Empowerment which is an educational firm committed to driving systemic change and impact for Colleges and Universities. Jack also is actively involved with two universities. The first is Kutztown University where he is one of the key leaders of the College of Business Advisory Board to support their efforts in further development and expansion. The second is with Rider University with their Center for the Development of Leadership Skills.