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Business Plan and Start Up Newsletter Issue #1030-Design Your Plan To Fit Your Business
May 18, 2006

Business Plan And Start Up Newsletter

May 2006
Written by Shaunta Pleasant
President, TL Manage Inc.

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********Table of Content********

Design Your Plan To Fit Your Business ...

How To Turn Regrets Into Opportunities...

A Few Cool Helpful Notes...


Design Your Plan To Fit Your Business
By Palo Alto Software, Inc.

Business planning is about results. For every business plan, you need to make the contents of your plan match your purpose. Don't accept a standard outline just because it's there.

In the United States business market there is a standardization about business plans. You can find dozens of books on the subject, about as many Web sites, two or three serious software products, and courses in hundreds of business schools, night schools, and community colleges. Although there are many variations on the theme, a lot of it still falls into the same standard.

What is a Business Plan?
A business plan is any plan that works for a business to look ahead, allocate resources, focus on key points, and prepare for problems and opportunities. Business existed long before computers, spreadsheets, and detailed projections. So did business plans.

Unfortunately, people think of business plans first for starting a new business or applying for business loans. But they are also vital for running a business, whether or not the business needs new loans or new investments. Businesses need plans to optimize growth and development according to priorities.

What's a Start-up Plan?
A very simple start-up plan includes a summary, mission statement, keys to success, market analysis, and break-even analysis. This kind of plan is good for deciding whether or not to proceed with a plan, to tell if there is a business worth pursuing, but it is not enough to run a business with.

Is There a Standard Business Plan?
A normal business plan, one that follows the advice of business experts, includes a standard set of elements. Plan formats and outlines vary, of course, but generally, a plan will include standard components such as descriptions of the company, product or service, market, forecasts, management team, and financial analysis.

Your plan depends on your specific situation. For example, if you're developing a plan for internal use only (not for sending out to banks or investors), you may not need to include all the background details that you already know. Description of the management team is very important for investors, while financial history is most important for banks. Make your plan match its purpose.

What's Most Important in a Plan?
It depends on the case, but usually it's the cash flow analysis and specific implementation details.

  • Cash flow is both vital to a company and hard to follow. Cash is usually misunderstood as profits, and they are different. Profits don't guarantee cash in the bank. Lots of profitable companies go under because of cash flow problems. It just isn't intuitive.
  • Implementation details are what make things happen. Your brilliant strategies and beautifully formatted planning documents are just theory unless you assign responsibilities, with dates and budgets, follow up with those responsible, and track results. Business plans are really about getting results and improving your company.

Can you Suggest a Standard Outline?
If you have the main components, the order doesn't matter that much, but here's the outline order we suggest in Business Plan Pro software:

  1. Executive Summary: Write this last. It's just a page or two of highlights.
  2. Company Description: Legal establishment, history, start-up plans, etc.
  3. Product or Service: Describe what you're selling. Focus on customer benefits.
  4. Market Analysis: You need to know your market, customer needs, where they are, how to reach them, etc.
  5. Strategy and Implementation: Be specific. Include management responsibilities with dates and budget.
  6. Management Team: Include backgrounds of key members of the team, personnel strategy, and details.
  7. Financial Plan: Include profit and loss, cash flow, balance sheet, break-even analysis, assumptions, business ratios, etc.

We don't recommend developing the plan in the same order you present it as a finished document. For example, although the Executive Summary comes as the first section of a business plan, we recommend writing it after everything else is done. It will appear first, but you write it last.


How To Turn Regrets Into Opportunities
By Jim Meisenheimer

It's time to take inventory. What worked for you and what didn't work for you throughout 2005?

When you think about last year what are the things you regret not doing? Will you also regret not doing these things in 2006?

The best way to turn regrets into opportunities is to set them up as personal goals. It's always worked for me and I'm sure it can work for you.

For example, write down five things you regret not doing last year. With this in mind create another list. What are the five things you'd like to accomplish in 2006 personally and professionally?

Putting your list on paper is very important. You see, most people don't do this and it's the biggest reason why 92.5% of all New Year's resolutions never get done. 92.5% of all New Year's resolutions become individual regrets. That's no way to start the New year, especially if you're in sales.

There's a little space in your mind and it's called - imagination. Everyone has one but so few people engage it.

The more vivid you can imagine yourself achieving something the more likely you will be able to achieve it. Pretty simple stuff huh?

If you can't see yourself (Clearly) doing something why in the world would you expect to achieve it. The plain truth is if you can't see it you won't do it.

It all starts with you. Crank up your imagination! The world is waiting for you to claim your share of the available abundance.

It's not so easy to imagine yourself being very successful and wealthy. It's even more difficult trying to imagine a new life for you and your family.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Everyone has an inner voice that speaks to him, but very few people listen to it." I'm paraphrasing this based on my memory of it from 20 years ago. After reading that quote 75 times I began listening to what my inner voice was saying.

I turned my life upside down. I walked away from a six-figure income, a big job, a corner office, a big bonus, a company car, stock options, and at the time, all the security that came with a corporate job.

The decision to leave my job and start my sales training company was the most courageous decision I ever made - including the decision to volunteer to go to Vietnam.

It doesn't take courage to fire up your imagination. It takes courage to live the life you imagine. You and I are here only temporarily. Why not make the most of it?

Dream big!

Imagine vividly!

Establish goals that will light the way for the life you deserve to live.

The only acceptable place you'll find people with no problems and no goals is a cemetery.

Some people die early (Mentally and attitudinally) and get buried later.

Take hold of your life. Grab the wheel. Establish goals to eliminate future regrets.

I don't think it's the person with the most toys who wins.

I believe it's the person who dies with the fewest regrets.

You have my best wishes for a healthy, happy, and deliriously successful 2006.

If you're at a crossroads in your life and would like to talk to someone (Me) who has been there and done that successfully take a quick look at this link. I have enough wiggle room in my calendar to talk one-on-one with only 15 people.

Here's the link:

Let's go sell something . . .

Jim Meisenheimer publishes The No-Brainer Selling Tips Newsletter, a fresh and high content newsletter dedicated to helping you grow your business and multiply your income.

Use this link to sign-up for Jim's F-R-E-E No-Brainer Selling Tips Newsletter and to get your copy of his Special Report titled, "The 12 Dumbest Things Salespeople Do."

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A Few Cool Helpful Notes

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