siding calculator replace siding siding calculator lakemoor painting aluminum siding siding replacement beach park .. Chicago Drug testing

Do You Really Need a Business Plan?

"I don't need a business plan."

Neither did Alice in Wonderland.

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"

"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.

"I don't much care where," said Alice.

"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.

As a consultant, I have people ask me "How can I increase my business?" The answer is often easier than they think. But before figuring out how, they must decide where they want to take their business. This is why everyone in business should have a business plan, not just the people seeking venture capital.

Your business plan will be the "road map" of your enterprise. It will show you how to get to where you want to go. To develop a good plan, you need to write down the answers to quite a few questions.

To get you thinking, let's jump twenty years into the future. Describe your life. Are you still working or are you retired? Are you worth a lot of money? If so, how is your wealth distributed? Stocks? Bonds? Equity in your business? Other businesses? Are you an independent consultant or do you have a company? How large is your practice/company? What is your annual revenue (in today's dollars)? How many hours per week do you work? Do you work on weekends? Do you travel? And most importantly, are you happy?

Tough questions? Maybe. But they need to be answered honestly and realistically. I know that life can hit you with some unwelcome surprises that might change the way you want things to be. It is because of these changes, however, that you should re-evaluate your plan every two years -- about as often as you replace a pair of daily-wear shoes.

After defining your long range goals, break them down into ten year and five year goals. Make sure they are consistent with your twenty year plan. The next step is to determine what you need to do to achieve your goals.

Here are some short-term questions you should think about: Do you want more customers or steady customers? What is your competition doing? Will advertising help increase your profit? If so, what kind of advertising and what media should be used? Think of your own questions.

Your specific marketing strategies will depend on your individual goals (once you have an idea of where you want to take your business). Put your answers down on paper! Organize your thoughts, questions, and concerns. If you have financial data, use it. You don't have to take your plan to the bank, but by recording your income and expenditure you will have a benchmark to use when you review your goals and accomplishments. Business plans often follow a general format. You can modify this one to suit your exact needs.

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Profile (including mission statement that describes your business and why you are in it)
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Staff Qualifications
  • Financial Information
  • Appendices (containing any additional information you would like to include)

    Review your plan for consistency. Is it coherent? Is it realistic? This is your guide to your business. It will help you get what you want. Keep it updated. Change it as your goals change or as the market changes. Remember, a little planning will take you a long way.

    Raj Khera is a partner in MoreBusiness.com, a comprehensive resource for small businesses. Find tips, articles, ideas, templates, worksheets, sample business plans, tools, financial benchmarks, sample contracts, and much more to help grow your business.

    Copyright 2005 Raj Khera. All rights reserved.

    In The News:

  • Describing Intellectual Property in Your Business Plan

    Most companies that are worthy of raising venture capital have... Read More

    3 Undercover Ways to Make Big Profits from Your Competition

    You have heard that there is extra money on the... Read More

    Have You Identified the Enemy?

    One of the most powerful driving forces in human nature... Read More

    Making a Decision to Outsource: Strategic Constraints

    Many companies are reluctant to dive into outsourcing ocean because... Read More

    How To Get More Business During The Winter Months

    Business seems to drop, slow or even stop during the... Read More

    Strategic Planning and Total Quality Management

    No matter what product or service you provide you will... Read More

    10 Ways To Make Your Business Unique

    1. Largest Selection -One way that you can make your... Read More

    Do You Really Need a Business Plan?

    "I don't need a business plan."Neither did Alice in Wonderland."Would... Read More

    Resilience

    I. INTRODUCTIONThe term resilience, which is of frequent use in... Read More

    Business Ideas: 3 Smart Ways To Generate Profitable Business Ideas Anytime

    Creativity is one of the greatest tools for success in... Read More

    Laying It Out On Paper

    You might be thinking to yourself, "Why should I waste... Read More

    City of Cortez and South Western Colorado Market Survey

    We have been spending many hours surveying the market for... Read More

    Elite Positioning Brings Higher Profits

    Imagine spending the same amount of money on marketing and... Read More

    Art of Succession Planning

    Succession planning, like any business acumen, is both an art... Read More

    How To Prepare A Business Plan That Guarantees Big Profits

    It is always said "If you Fail to Plan, you... Read More

    Planning For The Slow Season Of Your Business To Increase Sales

    Every business experiences slower periods. For some, they sell more... Read More

    The Best Entity to Hold Real Estate

    Possibly THE most frequently asked question of me is "What... Read More

    Rules to Setting Business Goals and Objectives: Why and How to be SMART

    We all know that nothing runs without a plan, and... Read More

    Corporate Venturing For Emerging Growth Companies

    The boom of the dot-com era in 1999 brought the... Read More

    SWOT Analysis Is No Magic 8 Ball

    Q: A key investor in my business has suggested that... Read More

    Succession Planning for Business - 10 Key Points You Must Know

    By cranking up others development to meet your business needs,... Read More

    Be Like Bill - Think!

    Twice a year, Bill Gates goes to a remote island... Read More

    Idaho Market for Automotive Businesses; Doing it Right

    Anyone who has been watching the Idaho Market Carefully for... Read More

    Sony?s PSI Project

    In 1989, Sony founded its Institute of Wisdom at the... Read More

    How to Develop a Successful Board of Advisors (...and Why You Should!)

    In today's rapidly changing and highly competitive markets, many privately... Read More

    led light manufacturers in usa led lighting savings Pete's produce ..
    led light manufacturers in usa led lighting savings Pete's produce ..