|Strategic Planning Information|
Could You Be Setting Your Business Plan Up For Failure?
David E. Gumpert, author of Burn Your Business Plan, often tells the story about how he and his partner failed to raise money after sending their business plan around to venture capitalists and meeting with several others to make presentations. Disappointed by the fruits of their labor, they considered giving up on their venture in 1995. Fortunately, on the advice of their board of advisors, they chose to divert their time from massaging the business plan to making sales. The financing, they were told, would come later.
Turns out, they sold enough to stay afloat through 1996. In 1997, sales failed to grow as quickly as they expected, so they decided to seek financing again. This time, they expected positive results would be easier to obtain, after all they were fairly well established now. The board, however, told them to get out there and promote their business and make more sales.
If At First You Don't Succeed?
Gumpert and his partner instead decided to dust off their old business plan, spend many hours rewriting and updating the plan, and to set out once again to seek financing. And, once again they were turned down. How could this be? In the late 90's, it seemed like every new Internet-related venture in the world was obtaining financing. In fact, according to the MoneyTree Survey, sponsored by Price Waterhouse Coopers, Venture Economics, and the National Venture Capital Association, the amount of venture capital - $7.7 billion in 1995 -- had grown to $16.4 billion by 1997.
Nonetheless, the failed financing left Gumpert and his partner with two stark choices at this stage: Find ways to grow the business without financing or call it quits. They took the first choice. They also engaged public-relations professionals, and succeeded in getting several of their most successful corporate clients written up in business and industry trade publications - with their agency mentioned as the key force behind their clients' success. This publicity got the agency's phones ringing with new prospects, several of which converted into additional sales.
As the business grew, they remained on guard about monitoring their expenses and aggressively collecting receivables. By 1999, they were operating profitably at $2 million in annual revenues, with nearly 20 employees. Also, the amount of venture capital being invested nationally had soared to an astounding $55.5 billion. But, Gumpert and his partner paid little attention to this; their interest in outside financing had dropped significantly. (By 2000, Venture capital availability peaked at $85.5 billion.)
The Power Of Publicity
As Gumpert and his partner carried their success into 1998 and 1999, their promotional efforts eventually attracted the attention of a publicly held company that was seeking the expertise they offered in developing and managing online content. In December 1999 this company acquired Gumpert's company, NetMarquee. To Gumpert's surprise, the acquirer never asked to see their business plan; it only wanted to see their financial projections under several different scenarios.
In recounting his financing experience, Gumpert makes two points: First, even during good times, the venture capital route is closed to the vast majority of businesses that seek it out. While it might have seemed back then that nearly every business that asked was receiving venture capital, the reality is most carefully crafted business plans are rejected out of hand by venture capitalists. Second, you'll be surprised what you can accomplish without the financing you think you so desperately need to stave off failure.
The truth is that it's unlikely a business plan by itself will bring funding in the door, unless it is part of an overall marketing strategy.
Four Tools To Help Market Your Business Plan To Investors
The famous motivational speaker Jim Rohn says there are three steps to successful communications: "Have something good to say, say it well, and say it often." These three steps form the foundation of the Business Plan Secrets Revealed manual. They are essential to marketing your business plan with the intent of attracting investors and selling your business plan to them. Here are four tools to help you "say it often" so you can attract investors and sell your business plan to them.
One, a concise, well written twenty-five page business memorandum or "business plan" that builds a case to separate your venture from your competition. You don't need a two-inch thick business plan. Plans this long often lack aim; instead of building a case that leads investors to decide whether the business is the right investment for them, they "fire away" in hopes that some of the shots will take effect.
Two, an effective elevator pitch?-a 60-second, to-the-point verbal pitch for your business-that communicates to your customers and investors what you do in an exciting and engaging way. The ability to separate your business from your competitors and get an investor's interest in the short time it takes to ride up an elevator is critical.
Three, an investor relation Web page to build credibility and help investors quickly get the information they need, when they need it. Of all the communications media available, the Web is particularly important. It's fast and available 24/7. With it, you can capture leads and automatically keep in touch with those who are interested in your business.
Finally, press releases to help you get your word out. A press release is the basic tool for gaining the attention of the media. The public's desire for interesting, relevant news remains strong, as does the importance of carefully selecting relevant target audiences. You are dealing with much more skepticism on the part of the public now than there has been in the past, which makes the evidence and objectivity in your press release paramount.
The process of raising money and attracting investors isn't easy. If it were, every business idea would get funded. You have to use all the tools that are available to you, and start looking at this process as a marketing process backed by hard, verifiable evidence. You just don't know when the plums-investors, on the tree will become ripe-ready to invest. But, you do know that if you do everything you can to take care of the tree-water it, fertilize it, and so on?-it will ultimately bear fruit-raise money for your business.
Mike Elia is a chief financial officer and an advisor to venture capitalists and leverage buyout specialists. For more information about business plans and raising capital for your business or to review his business plan manual, visit Business Plan Secrets Revealed.
Scheduling of Additional Auto Detailing or Mobile Car Wash Units
If you own a mobile car wash business or auto detailing business then you realize that when you are parked working you are making money and when you are stuck in traffic you are losing money. Sure you can say when you are in traffic people see you and write down the phone number, but you are not making money, that is potential future income, which is work you still must do in the future. Many auto detailers do not schedule properly and therefore get into trouble in that they attempt to expand before they have maximized their schedules.
Seasonality: Whats the Big Deal?
Do you work in or own a business that's affected by seasonal cycles? Do you live in a community whose population changes significantly during the year (e.g., tourist influx, students returning to college)? Do you ever feel stressed out or frustrated by the seemingly constant changes or the extreme highs and lows of your life or your business?
Sony?s PSI Project
In 1989, Sony founded its Institute of Wisdom at the request of its founder Masaharu Ibuka and former chairman Akio Morita.
Restaurant Startup - Part 1: Market Research ? What are Potential Competitors Doing?
The first step in starting a restaurant is proper planning. One must lay out a plan complete with goals, priorities, and the tasks that he will need to complete in order to achieve these goals. The biggest mistake first time restaurant owners make is improper planning. Ambition, while absolutely required, is simply not enough to succeed in the highly competitive food service industry.
Mining Market Data
With a heightened awareness of opportunity, ideas can often be generated by market research. The National Women's Business Center (NWBC) defines market research as "a systematic, objective collection and analysis of data about your target market, competition, and/or environment with the goal being increased understanding. Through the market research process, you can take data?a variety of related or non-related facts?and create useful information to guide your business decisions.
How To Get More Business During The Winter Months
Business seems to drop, slow or even stop during the winter months. As tourist traffic slows or stops during the winter months so does the incomes of many local business owners. The first step in overcoming this problem begins in your brain (don't they all?)
Top Ten Traits of Strategic Thinkers
Want to become more strategic? Add these traits to your collection of skills and watch your success soar!
Shortening Product Life Cycle!
The current state of the available technology at the disposal of designer is the most limiting determinant to what is technically and economically feasible to develop, therefore research into metatechnology such as computer science, whereby interdisciplinary spin off provides advances that both directly increase capabilities, and affects other technologies to dramatically improve system performance, is a necessity, the implication being that despite many of the basic principles being relatively static, the technology used is essentially in a state of constant development.
Sales Planning and Business Plans
Writing a business plan can be tricky when all the books on the subject fail to keep updating their editions. One significant factor is the sales planning in business plans, yet few books show examples of how to explain online sales which will contribute to your over all stores sales in your retail outlet. Additionally many service companies take orders online and dispatch their units from there. Even Dominoes Pizza often takes credit cards over the phone, many companies now allow online ordering.
Top 10 Tips to Create A Business Plan! (For People Who Hate Business Plans)
One of the key challenges for any business is to remain focused and invest resources for maximum pay-off. It's said that 80% of a business's activity accounts for only 20% of total profits. In plain language, most of the work we do is unfocused, poorly designed and ineffective. In today's competitive world, no business, whether it's an individual professional or a large manufacturing operation, can survive with that much lost time and wasted effort. A business plan can help, but most small business owners (and some managers/supervisors) hate doing them! In the spirit that any map is better than no map, here are my top ten keys to creating your own map to success:
Abstract Thought; Business Strategies and Biological Systems
To stop a computer virus you must understand how it works, grows and what it's innate purpose is? What is its program, evolution and future vectors. The fastest way to expand a business or exploit a competitor on a sports team is to use the organizational patterns of nature like swarms, ants, and viruses. The human body is has a good defense mechanism against an organic virus, it is bigger with a strong immune system
Questions to Ask Yourself When Starting a New Home Business
I love the excitement of starting up a new home based business. I enjoy trying out new ideas and approaches with the new venture. I dream the big dreams and hope to obtain some of them (if not all of them). I am sure you have those same feelings as well. Organization is imperative when starting any business. Some say that a well funded business has the best chance to sustain losses until it's profitable. However, if you are on a shoe string budget like me, money management is the key.
Content Management: Wise Investment for Business Prosperity
Many movies have been made about the tragic story of the Titanic. Arrogance and ignorance was definitely present during its maiden voyage, which was Titanic's last voyage.
For Business Owners Only - You Can?t Be Fired But Neither Can You Quit
The decision to sell, or not to sell your business is a difficult one. There are many questions that need to be answered before an informed decision can be made. Is selling your best alternative? Will one of the kids want to take over the business? Timing is everything. Is now the right time? You do not have to sell or decide right now. You are quite busy so maybe you will look into it after. . .
Corporate Contingency Planning
What Every Service Provider Ought To Know About Writing A Business Plan
It's easy to lose sight of what needs to be communicated to prospective investors when writing the various sections of a business plan. Successful business owners/entrepreneurs use each section of their business plan to work up interest, to present arguments and, most important, to build trust and confidence.
Call in the SWOT Team: Produce More Opportunities to Expand Your Business
Have you ever done a SWOT analysis? No, it's not some dangerous military maneuver. It's actually a fun and incredibly helpful business development exercise that will give your company focused direction and great marketing ideas -- whether your business is brand new or has been around for years. This SWOT exercise will show you where your business is flourishing and where it needs to grow to gain clients and produce more sales. I recommend getting someone else (such as a friend, family member, or trusted business advisor) to brainstorm with you. You'll be determining your strengths and weaknesses, which are *internal* influences on your company. These factors are under your control. Opportunities and threats are *external* influences, things you cannot control, but you can respond to. After you read a short description of each of the four categories, take time to list as many of yours as possible.
How to Achieve E-commerce Success ?You Gotta Plan!
Before becoming a netpreneaur, I was an entrepreneur. First, I owned a successful child care center which grew to capacity in less than two years. When I sold that, I bought a little flower shop that had less than 300 customers and grew it to what it is today, one of the most successful, award winning companies in South Florida with more than 7,000 customers who purchase from us on a regular business. To better serve our customers, we took our business to the Internet. We still have a brick and mortar storefront, yet everyday we receive more and more customers via the Internet.
Don?t Just Talk About the Weather, Use It to Advantage
A well known, national chain of restaurants discovered that certain weather patterns substantially impacts their business. They have studied it and found that more people go out to eat dinner when there is a series of beautiful days. So they measure the weather quality at their stores across the country. Managers report the weather quality daily. A weather predicting system is then employed to determine the quality of subsequent days. When the model predicts a higher customer count they reduce or eliminate sale items and include higher priced or higher margin specials on the changing daily menu. While they can't control the weather, they know that their customers respond to it. Knowing that, they work to take advantage of factors that can predict changes in business activity.
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