Monday, December 17, 2012

Business Plans and Planning

"You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there." - Yogi Berra

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher.

A successful business plan is one that focuses your thinking, helps you establish a realistic business strategy, improves your operations, and wins for your company the financing and other support it needs.

Written business plans, broadly speaking, are usually put together for either of two purposes: to prepare for a significant event, such as obtaining financing, or to guide the company’s operations for a particular period, usually a year.

Keep in mind, in writing the plan, you’ll invariably take two steps forward and one step back. It’s an uneven path, fraught with unforeseen frustrations and difficulties. Thrashing out those difficulties is a key part of the planning process.

Being in business is a journey, not a destination -- with NO made roads or freeways, despite what some franchisers would have you believe. Every business travels into the uncharted territory of the future. But, no matter how good a driver you may be, how well you know the route, or how quickly you can load and unload the vehicle, if you fail to put fuel in the tank, air in the tires, oil in the engine, water in the radiator, or otherwise adequately maintain and service the vehicle, it will soon grind to a halt.

You'll go nowhere. Sadly, this is the case with most small business owners. They're good drivers -- plumbers, hairdressers, retailers, lawyers, accountants, printers or whatever their trade or profession may be -- but they haven't a clue what's required to maintain and manage their vehicles. So they rarely make it to their chosen destinations.
To complete the journey to your chosen destination you need a suitable business vehicle.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Expert Business Advisors Will Help You Grow Your Business

Expert Business Advisors Will Help You Grow Your Business

Many otherwise talented business owners, especially those who are inexperienced at running a business (they don’t know what they don’t know), call on outside experts only when they have already lost control of their sales, cash flow, profitability… and their dreams..

It is unfortunate that there are still business owners who make the mistake of thinking that the use of a professional business advisor is a troubleshooting exercise that a company undertakes only to manage crisis. This can be a fatal mistake for the business because by the time a company is in crisis it may well be too late for even the best and most qualified of advisors to help.

The fact is professional business advisors should be used when a business is successful because they are third party experts who can insure a business makes the right decisions that lead to continued and heightened profitability.

Professional business advisors should be used to look at issues related to business in a broad perspective. Helped by their expertise and business acumen, as well as by being from outside the company, professional advisors can see things from a point of view which the owner may fail to see them because of the owners deep and passionate involvement in the business. Professional business advisors can often identify fresh ideas and approaches to issues and opportunities and help ownership weigh the pros and cons of each strategy and the situation, again with a fresh perspective.

Professional business advisors should be used to supply resources (and time) which the clients may not be in a position to provide for themselves because they do not have the staff or personal expertise to do so. Usually, the key resource needed is expertise… experience, knowledge, creativity and special skills. Time and people are other resources, which the client might not be able to spare, which can be provided by professional business advisors.

A key aspect of what the professional advisors also bring to their clients is their team of experts, technical advisors with expertise in specific areas. The professional business advisors main personal strength is that they have broad skills in multitude of areas such as marketing; sales; finance; corporate strategy; and human resources but when needed have specialized expert sources they can call on for items like e-commerce; manufacturing processes; IT; and other non-management activities, including compliance with various safety and health regulations, technology application to name a few.

Our point?

Small and medium sized businesses benefit from professional business advisors and there are many advisors who specialize in small to medium sized entrepreneurial businesses who know the challenges business owners face and recognize the cost-value relationships that needs to be created and leveraged. These small business orient advisors become trusted and valued resources because they have only the owner and the business in mind and focus on items that directly improve the bottom line of the company.

So, instead of shying away from hiring professional business advisors, what is required is to identify the right advisor so that the owner and the company can focus on their core activities that will ensure smooth operations and which will ultimately reflect on the profits as well as the overall growth of the company.

Prepared by the Organization for Entrepreneurial Development Editorial Staff

OED is a 501(c)(3) public charity that, through its Local Business Assistance Program, assists business owners identify qualified and Certified experts to assist them with their business needs. Visit OED at

Monday, December 10, 2012

Networking Master

Why Network? Study after study has been released showing that owners of small businesses consider networking as THE number one way for new business development.


The word conjures up all sorts of interesting pictures. Men in recliners smoking cigars and making deals in back rooms. MLM distributors cheering at training sessions and trying to recruit everyone who comes within 3 feet of them when they're done. Even computer wizards doing arcane things behind the scenes to make your Internet connection work.

Networking is about connections. For your purposes in business, it's making connections that bring you customers.

WHAT IS NETWORKING? Networking is cultivating mutually beneficial, give-and-take, win-win relationships.

Networking is the process of developing and nurturing professional contacts to obtain:

1. Referrals

2. Advice

3. Information

4. Support Networking is the ability to relate to and talk to anyone ... anytime ... anywhere, with honesty.

Those who know how to use a network realize:

We are not dependent on each other; nor are we independent of each other ... we are interdependent with each other! The strength ... excitement of networking/networks is that all the people who are part of your network are parts of other networks and their own! Remember ... the "Law of 250" ... Each of us has a sphere of influence of 250 people. (The people who would attend our wedding or funeral). The more people you meet (network) the larger your sphere ... they all have 250 also! A couple of basic working definitions are in order.

Contact A person with whom you have developed, or are developing, an ongoing relationship of trust and mutual respect, SPECIFICALLY REGARDING BUSINESS MATTERS.

To read this complete article & download the complete resource document, visit the OED Community!