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A Simple Plan for Starting a Business

Starting a business, whether it is a ‘small business’
where you work out of an office or a ‘home based
business’ you run out of a corner of your bedroom, you
can drastically change your life through a very simple
plan.

Starting a business is not something you jump into.
When you are working a simple plan, starting a
business is something you GROW into.

How do you make a simple plan for growth when
starting a business?

1. Groundwork of your simple plan is crucial when
starting a business.

Find someone that was successful in starting a
business in your industry, watch them, interview them,
find out everything you can about what they did when
they were starting a business. Then, write a simple
plan outlining what they do all day.

In order to have what they have, you must do what
they do, so find out what percentage of their day is
spent, for instance, on the telephone making calls,
receiving calls and the type of calls.

2. Divide your time.

The next step in your simple plan as you are starting a
business is to divide your time like your mentor. Use
the same percentage of the total hours, as you will not
work the same hours they do.

The ‘secret to success’ is not in the hours, it is how you
spend them! By following the simple plan outlined
here, you make the most of your hours, and get the
most out of everything as you are starting a business
with a simple plan of success.

3. Set your Goals.

A vital piece of success when starting a business is
that you have a goal in mind and work your simple plan
to get there.

Without a destination (a specific income amount, a
personal item like a car or boat, or simply an amount
set aside in savings), how will you know you arrived?

4. Track your progress.

Divide your goal into days, weeks, months and/or
years to quickly know what is required to reach your
destination.

Check your progress often. You will know quickly if you
are sticking to your original goal or if you are ahead or
behind schedule.

Just like a road trip, as you are starting a business,
you will likely come across some detours, that’s OK. On
vacation, just as in starting a business, if you find a
road blocked or a path impassible, you simply find
another way.

And, just as on vacation, include in your simple plan a
few hours here/there for such ‘emergencies’. If you find
you have no emergencies, simply choose something
else that will get you closer to your destination, or just
relax and enjoy where you are.

5. Work ON your business, not only IN your business.

In starting a business, you must set aside part of your
time to plan, set goals, promote and advertise your
business, not simply work along in your business,
doing the things you do.

When starting a business, a simple form of advertising
is a website. The more people that see what you have
to offer, the quicker your business will grow.

You could go door-to-door, telling everyone about your
website (not a simple plan!), or maximize your time by
posting articles online where many people see them.

This is overlooked by many as they are starting a
business, and one of the reasons they fail…

As your business grows, you will do less advertising
and begin to work your simple plan toward the ‘IN your
business’ phase.

6. Give excellent Customer Service.

Upset customers kill more business than you can
imagine. Find a way to work with them, or simply give
them their money back. Losing customers is something
you cannot afford when you are just starting a
business!

So many people simply do not make the time to
provide quality service to their customers. Do not let
that happen to you!

With a little planning and goal setting, follow through
each week and simply repeating the process, you can
change your business from flat to cash in a short
amount of time.

When starting a business, if you follow the simple plan
we have outlined here, you are already a success!

Business Start Up Loan – Script Your Own Success Story With the Right Finance Method

If you thought generating ideas for your business was a difficult task, then arranging necessary finance in the form of business start up loans would seem even more difficult. Many entrepreneurs succumb at this stage, only to lead their idea to dumps. Entrepreneurs, who withstand the challenges of the process, continue to shine in the world of business.

Capital has been rightly referred to as the lifeblood of any business. Business starved of capital during the initial stages of its formation, would be similar to malnourished children who were not fed properly during their childhood. The growth of the business will be stunted, often affecting negatively its productivity and efficiency.

Entrepreneurs no longer have to depend solely on their own resources for purposes of capital. Many loan providers are ready to finance promising business ventures. The loan is referred to as business start up loan. Amounts on business start up loan ranges from £30,000 to £250,000. Entrepreneurs can qualify for more loan amount, provided the business plan is very attractive. Loan proceeds will primarily be used for purchasing the necessary machine and equipments, paying for legal documentation, maintaining office and any other expenses that crop up during the initial formative period. Moreover, business start up loan contributes towards the working capital.

Borrowing through business start up loan is fraught with a number of challenges. The very first task in the process will be to generate faith in loan providers that the amount lent on account of business start up loan will be safely returned. Preconceived notions about new entrepreneurs make the task difficult. The negative notions are further strengthened through two factors:

  • Firstly, borrowing entrepreneur has zero or very less credibility in the market at the particular point of time. Loan providers fear risking the loan amount on borrowers with low credibility.
  • Secondly, the borrowing entrepreneur is still to form business or the business is still to show results. Lending at this stage, without having knowledge about how the business fares in the long run, is perilous for the loan provider.

The borrowing entrepreneur is thrown into a dilemmatic situation wherein they cannot prove their worth till they start business. They cannot start business until they get the necessary finance. And they cannot get the necessary finance till they are able to prove their worth.

However, not all loan providers look at new venturists with suspicion. New venturists are considered a unique group of people who have a unique set of characteristics. A sound and foolproof business plan works well for new entrepreneurs. Bankers study the plan well and then decide if it will be viable to lend.

Guaranteeing payback through collateral is another important method of getting good deals in business start up loans. These are referred to as secured business start up loans. As a part of this method, the borrower will have to offer lien on certain asset/assets to the loan provider. This process is also referred to as hypothecation. Though the asset will continue to be in possession of the borrower, loan provider has every right to claim the asset in case of non-payment of loan.

Loan terms for business start up loan ranges from 5 to 25 years. Given the unique income structure of businesses and self-employed individuals, wherein income is not guaranteed, flexible repayment schedule will be especially helpful. Under a flexible repayment schedule, the borrower gets to repay in the manner that he chooses. Monthly repayments can be increased, reduced and discontinued altogether depending on the entrepreneurs finances. The arrangement will have to be accepted by the loan provider. Sometimes, regular payments for a certain period may be the prerequisite for flexible repayment schedule.

Business start up loans may exceed personal loans in terms of interest rate. The typical APR on a business start up loan will be anywhere between 7-13%. Online comparison and searching loan providers will ease the process, besides improving the quality of deals. Rates may go upwards depending on the presence and value of collateral and the credit status of the borrower.

Business loans will not suit borrowers who want full control over their business. Some loan providers would like to dictate terms and thus curb the control of the entrepreneur over his business. The borrowing decision must be made only after an impartial and impatient study of the pros and cons of the method.

Scrap the Big Business Plan – Here’s a Better Idea

Out of 300 people polled, 72% said they did NOT have a written business plan.

The truth is that most of you reading this article do not have a written plan.

Why?

Let’s see. You know you need a business plan. You’ve heard it from many sources, “Write your business plan!” So, you sit down and begin. Hmmm… bios, sales and growth projections, competition, graphs, marketing. It all seems so overwhelming. You realize this is going to take longer than you thought. You put it down to continue another night. That night doesn’t come.

Sound familiar?

How about this scenario: you actually finish your business plan. One year later, you realize you have not accomplished your goals, your finances are not where they were projected. You feel like you are failing.

Can anyone relate?

Relax, it’s okay. The big business plan gig is really not for us small, home-based owners. So, scrap the big business plan.

Here’s a better idea.

It’s not that big business plans don’t work for us, rather, they can’t work.

The traditional business plan is really only for one reason — to sell your business idea to investors. If you’re looking for venture capital, you have to put together a big business plan, and a very good one at that. While a very small sampling of you may wish to go this direction, the reality is that most home-based business owners are simply wanting to make a decent living at home.

In a poll of 300 online home-based business owners, 64% said they work part-time on their online business and receive part-time income from it. A pretty big chunk of online home-based businesses. These are people who are simply looking for a little extra cash, or they look at their business as a hobby.

In contrast, a paltry 16% of home business owners works full-time at home and receives full-time income. I would venture to say that an extremely small percentage of this group is actually looking for serious venture capital to take their business to another level.

Don’t get me wrong, we could all use a little extra funding, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. A few thousand dollars to start up your business doesn’t usually come from investors.

Keeping this in mind, if we put together a traditional business plan (to impress investors), generally, what we put into the plan, will be the wrong things for the wrong reasons. If impressing the investors is not your intent, you can’t succeed in this kind of plan. It’s that simple.

So, do you actually need a business plan?

Oh, yes! You simply don’t need the traditional business plan. Rather, what you need is a plan that will help you (and only you) take control of our own business. Think of it as a guide that will give you direction and keep you on track.

Ask yourself these questions:

1) Why am I doing this business? What are my motives?

2) What do I personally want to do with this business? What do I want to gain?

3) What are my personal strengths to offer to the business? What are my weaknesses?

4) What new knowledge will I need?

5) What parts of my business can I outsource?

6) Where do I want to be in six months from now? One year? Five years?

See the difference? These questions are you-based. Write down your answers as a preface to your plan. Refer to these questions often and adjust your answers as your perspectives change over time and as your knowledge grows.

Now, with the above in mind, go ahead and pencil in your thoughts on the following. Your answers won’t have to be terribly involved. This gives you a roadmap, nothing more. And, it will change and evolve over time. Remember, you’re not answering to anyone but yourself. You’re not trying to impress anyone.

  • Business Mission Define it as YOU see it.
  • Evaluate the Past Take stock in what your business has done in the past year. Summarize your business’ strengths and weaknesses. Ask yourself, “Is my business profitable or does it indicate that it will be?” “Have I attracted new customers?” “Have I maintained customers?” “Am I happy with where my business is going?”
  • Your Personal Competitive Edge This is not about your great domain, nor what great products you have, rather, this is what YOU, personally offer… your own innovation, what powers your business. YOU are your small business’ brand, its greatest asset. You must think in these terms.
  • Your Business Competitive Edge This is where you list your products/services. Separately list those you have and those you plan to add. Include any patents, logos, designs, licenses, domains, any kind of intellectual property.
  • Customer Relationships As a small, home-based business owner, your marketing is very different from big or even mid-sized companies. Your marketing heavily relies on relationships. Write down the ways you make or plan on making relationships with your customers. Think innovatively in terms making relationships. Don’t simply jot down a laundry list of ways you will advertise.
  • Business Relationships List your partners (your spouse?), strategic partnerships you have made or plan to make, mentors, industry experts. Who generally and specifically will help you grow and develop your business? List external and management relationships such as your banker, your CPA, your attorney. List your suppliers. Think about how involved you want your family and friends to be involved in your business.
  • Finances This should identify a clear plan for quantifying results. Develop landmarks and goals. Yes, forecast, budget and project. This is something you need to do to keep your focus. Review this from time to time and set yourself back on course if you begin to stray, or re-evaluate to make more realistic changes.

Phew! Now, take a deep breath and you will find that this exercise will actually do more to help you focus and grow your business the way YOU choose than any other traditional business plan ever could.

Why not sit down and give it a try. And, if you have any ideas to add to the above, by all means, give me some feedback.