|Strategic Planning Information|
Business Plan Long Term Goals
Writing a business plan is not an easy endeavor, nor is predicting the future. You will need to spent adequate time in preparing your long-term goals and objectives. This will help you understand what you are doing and where you wish to be. Martin Luther King in is most famous speech said; "I have a dream" which is noble indeed, but had he had a "Strategic Plan" with quarterly objectives he may have seen that dream come true in his lifetime.
In preparing your Long Term Goals and Objectives for your business plan you will need to communicate this to the investor, banker or your partners. It also helps you stay on course and keep your plan strategic rather than merely a dream. Below I have provided you with a sample "long term goal" section for a business plan so you can see how best to do this. This sample was written from the perspective of a franchisee of a mobile car wash business, a very simple business indeed, yet it will help you sort thru all your own objectives to determine what is best for the future or your next entrepreneurial endeavor. Please feel free to print this and make notes in the margin and then prepare some paragraphs for your own business. This will help you verbalize your plan when talking to investors and assist you in writing your business plan. Think on this.
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Long Term Goals
Our long-term goal is to expand our service achieving a 10% market penetration and operate ten mobile car wash trucks in our exclusive territory.
We also plan to renew our Franchise Agreement for two terms. At the end of five years we plan to operate these trucks without physically doing the labor. We will occasionally wash cars, attend community events and fundraisers. We will at that point be providing more of a managerial role. After the second renewal in ten years, we plan to have a general manager running our company, go into semi-retirement and possibly do a little traveling.
"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs
Expanding your business in a franchise system
If you are a successful franchise of a large franchise brand or chain, chances are you will wish to expand. The most important thing to do is make sure you are on the most positive terms with your franchisor. You should tell your franchisor at the earliest point of your plan to expand. It is important that you ask the franchisor for help when you are expanding. Growing your business is not an easy task. It requires systematic checks of your business. The kind of checks your car does electronically such as sensors telling you:
Business Plans Keep You On The Success Course
Where would your business be without a proper plan? A business plan sets the direction for the future of the business. It gives the business owner or manager a sense of guidance, listing the goals and objectives of the business from the start.
ERP Role in Selling Your Mid-size Business ? Microsoft Great Plains and CRM Example
If you own the mid-size business and actively work in it as executive manager or lead, say marketing, ? you probably know exactly what needs to be done on the daily basis to keep it running. However, in many cases this business critical knowledge exists in your head only. This means that if you would like to sell your business ? it has little value without your participation. So, ahead of the selling time you should "formalize" the business ? to make it work within the systems and rules, independent of people. Let's consider the parts we will need.
Attributes of Companies You Dont Want to Buy!
There are no "rules of thumb" in the pursuit of companies to buy. Each purchase opportunity has to stand on its own merits. There are, however, attributes of acquisition candidates that need to be defined for what they really are before additional, limited resources are put at risk in a potential deal. It is absolutely critical for any proactive business buyer to understand, consider and deal with specific business characteristics that add unnecessary financial risk to the investment opportunity at hand.
Business Plan Financial Projections: Stop Worrying About Being Right...
Business plan financial projections seem daunting because they are so uncertain. This very uncertainty, however, is what makes preparing them easy because you can't possibly be right. You can't predict the future. None of us can. All you can be is competent in the way you prepare your business plan projections.
Completing the Annual Planning Process
Imagine an office without a desk, or lights, a computer, or even something as simple as a chair. When the architects and designers started planning a building or office space they knew they would have to make concessions for these items during each of the building activities. As marketers, we take part in many activities, much like a builder or designer does.
3 Undercover Ways to Make Big Profits from Your Competition
You have heard that there is extra money on the table marketing products related to yours. You have also heard that your direct competitors product is off the table. How unfortunate. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to profit from the hard work, expertise and quality of your competitions product?
Hunters and Gatherers - Are You Serving Both Their Needs?
The University of Exeter in the United Kingdom recently published research financed by Barclays Bank, which has implications for everyone who is serving the general population.
How to Develop a Successful Board of Advisors (...and Why You Should!)
In today's rapidly changing and highly competitive markets, many privately held companies are creating outside advisory boards to give owners and CEOs fresh, knowledgeable advice. Even for small businesses, setting up an advisory board can give you a significant advantage over competitors that are relying solely on internal talent. An experienced and well-connected board of advisors can help your business grow and prosper in ways you've never imagined. What is a Board of Advisors? An advisory board is an outside group that is informally organized to provide business owners and corporate leaders with support, advice and assistance. While formal boards of directors have legally defined responsibilities and fiduciary duties, advisory boards have no formal power or binding legal authority. They serve at the pleasure of the business owner or CEO. Benefits of an Advisory Board There are several advantages that companies with advisory boards have over their competition. A board offers your business: An unbiased outside perspective. Increased corporate accountability and discipline. Enhanced CEO and management effectiveness. Greater credibility with investors, vendors and customers. Help in avoiding costly mistakes. Rounding out skills and expertise lacking in current management team. A sounding board for evaluating new business ideas and opportunities. Enhanced community and public relations. Improved marketing results and effectiveness. Strategic planning assistance and input. Centers of influence for networking introductions. Crisis and transition leadership in the event of the death or resignation of the CEO. Help anticipating market changes and trends. Steps to Creating an Effective Board of Advisors: Analyze the strength and weaknesses of your current management team. Look for critical areas of expertise and knowledge that your company could use help with such as marketing, legal, finance, eCommerce, and research and development or information technology. If your company is planning on going public within the next few years, seek out advisors who have successfully taken companies down that path. Set clear, written goals and objectives for your board of advisors. Getting maximum value from a board of advisors begins with clear objectives and goals. Board members must know why they have been asked to serve and what is expected of them. Before establishing the board, the CEO and senior managers should sit down and ask some of the following questions: 1. What are the main areas we need advice and guidance in? 2. What specifically do we need the board members to do for us? 3. Who are a few potential candidates for board membership? 4. How do we avoid giving away too much control to outsiders? 5. What will be the powers and limitations of the board? 6. What will setting up the board cost initially? Annually? Will it be worth the cost? Determine the size and structure of your board. Advisory boards range in size from two members to over thirty. The right size depends on many factors, such as your company's size, complexity, stage of development and individual skills needed. My experience and research has found that for most small to mid-sized, growing companies or start-ups, a 5 to 7 member advisory board is an ideal size. Smaller firms can start with just one or two members and add new members as they grow. Recruiting Candidates Determining whom you invite to join your board is one of the most critical decisions in setting up a board of advisors. Often a business owner's first instinct is to ask friends, family members or professional advisors to sit on their board. This is usually a mistake. Unless your friend or family member is a recognized authority in an area of expertise lacking by your management team or a highly successful entrepreneur, they are probably not the wisest choice. Another reason to avoid asking family or friends to join your board is lack of objectivity. Often advice from a friend, family member or management insider is sugar coated to protect relationships. An outside advisor can give you a much more objective and honest assessment of the situation. Using professional advisors such as your lawyer, banker or accountant as board members has it's own pitfalls. These advisors are already working for you and may not be as objective as you need, due to having an interest in generating future business from your company. Some critical action steps for recruiting a dynamite board of advisors are: Develop a candidate profile. After you have determined the areas of expertise your company is in need of, create a profile of candidates that successfully fit these needs. Take care to address knowledge and skills that your company will need to meet projected growth and future challenges. Seek out experts. Search online and offline for experts and proven leaders that meet your candidate profiles. Contact them and begin discussions about possible board membership. Ask for recommendations. Solicit recommendations from the experts you speak with that cannot serve on your board, of collogues of theirs that they feel would be a good fit for your needs. Begin networking with your attorney, accountant and other professional advisors. Once you have successfully recruited an advisor, he or she can often lead you to another good candidate. Find your candidates motivation. Most of your candidates are not going to be motivated by money alone. In fact, if money is their primary reason for joining your board, they may not be what you are looking for. The most effective board members are motivated by the challenge and intellectual stimulation of building successful companies. They serve because they are already high achievers and enjoy the challenge. Have variety in your board. Try to include experts and successful entrepreneurs from several different disciplines. Often board members who are successful marketers, CEOs and business owners from different industries can bring a fresh perspective to your business. These individuals can often help you incorporate best practices from other industries, into your own industry, creating revolutionary changes and opportunities. Look for a proven track record. Find the leaders in their field. The best board candidates are successful CEOs, business owners, professionals, university professors and consultants who have achieved success in their own businesses and careers. Clearly communicate your goals and objectives. Invest time in talking to and meeting with potential members. Communicate to them what your goals and objectives are. Let them know that you are not looking for "yes men" and that you want advisors who will challenge you and hold you accountable for your businesses growth. Board Compensation Board members expect and deserve to be compensated for their time, efforts and advice. Typical advisory board compensation includes a stipend from $5,000 to $25,000 per member, per year. Some companies pay their board members per meeting, with payment ranging from $500 to $3,000 per meeting, with a monthly retainer of $500 to $2,500. Companies should also cover transportation, meals and lodging for members when attending meetings. Most successful boards also give or require members to buy stock or some form of equity in the company. This gives the board members equity participation and a vested interest in the growth of the company. Pitfalls to Avoid Some potential problem areas to avoid when setting up or working with your advisory board are: Members missing meetings. Because board members are usually running successful businesses of their own, they may not always be available for every meeting. However, board members should be made aware that attendance of board meetings is important and expected. If a member is chronically absent, the value of their membership on the board should be reviewed. Insecurity of senior managers. Some company insiders may feel intimidated or threatened by the involvement of outsiders. The CEO or owner must make every effort to communicate to his staff the benefits and importance of having a board of advisors. Incompatible personalities. This is a challenging situation, because most members of your board will be strong willed, achiever types, who have gotten where they are by taking charge. Many will have strong convictions about their opinions and may find it hard to defer the leadership of the meetings to the CEO. You must determine when a member's personality is "too strong" and becoming disruptive. Excessive number of board members. Because of their strong personalities, if you have too many members on your board, the more assertive members often dominate the debates, depriving you of the contributions the quieter members may have made. Lack of CEO communication. Withholding company information or not regularly communicating with the members of your board of advisors destroys trust and effectiveness. Regular communication between meetings is essential to maintaining an effective board. Inadequate compensation. As I mentioned, you do not want compensation to be the determining factor in a candidates membership on your advisory board, however successful individuals of the caliber you seek expect to be fairly compensated for their time and knowledge. Keys to Board Effectiveness If you build it, use it. Owners and CEOs who invest the time and money in creating a board should be committed to soliciting and using its advice on important issues and decisions. Value their input, even when they disagree with what you want to do. Sometimes a board is at it's most valuable when it recommends against a course of action the CEO wants to take. If you recruit a good board, often they have already been down the path you are on, and their experience (and past failures) can help you to avoid costly mistakes. Communicate with your advisors. Keep the members of your board informed about what is happening in your company and industry. Counsel with individual members on the phone at least monthly and send them information well in advance of your meetings, to help them prepare and keep the meetings productive. Hold regular meetings. Most boards meet once per quarter. However, boards should meet more often during times of rapid growth or if company needs merit additional oversight and guidance. Have an objective for each meeting. Your board members are busy people and their time is valuable. Make the most out of your meetings with them, by having a clear agenda and objectives for each meeting. Make sure to cover the most important items of business first, in case the discussions take longer than planned or some members have to leave early. Annual assessment of board performance. Periodically assessing the board's effectiveness is a critical factor in ensuring a good return on investment. Each year the board should set performance goals and define their criteria for success. At the end of the year the CEO and the board should assess it's performance, compared to its goals and criteria for success. Over 80 percent of all private companies are operating without a board of advisors or board of directors. Odds are your competitors do not have one. Because of this, developing a board of advisors can give your company a distinct advantage over your competition. This is particularly true for start-ups and family run businesses. There is tremendous value in receiving objective, knowledgeable advice from a board of advisors who share in the financial and equity growth of your business. I encourage you to begin recruiting your advisory board today!
How Good Is a Business Plan To Your Business?
You know you need a business plan. You probably realize that it is one of the best ways to get your business up and running. No matter what your business is, a business plan can help to focus its direction while providing the information you need to get moving. The most important thing a business plan will do is to provide your financial backers with a reason to give you their approval. It will show them how you plan to work your business.
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. . .
2 Simple Steps Before Starting Your Business
There is so much small business information available today that it's easy to be bogged down by the sheer volume of it all. Where does one start? Well, it's safe to say not all the information you'll receive will be of equal value. So it's important to be discerning when you're thinking about applying any suggestions to your new business. In many cases, you'll find some suggestions don't match your business type, management style, budget, or industry. This could lead to wasted dollars spent and time lost. So learning how to research and compile information will be key in developing a plan that is tailored to fit your business needs.
Six Key Areas For Evaluating A Strategic Alliance
Strategic alliances are increasing at a rapid rate. It is good for business, good for the consumer. A strategic alliance is similar to a joint venture. Everyone remains in his or her own entity, yet come together for a single purpose or period of time to create something that could not otherwise be created.
Cost-cutting Essential to Maintaining Profits
Why cut costs now? Efforts are multiplying to cut costs wherever possible in order to achieve or preserve high profits. The resulting benefits for all of a company's employees should be obvious.
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.
Writing a Business Plan for Success in Business and for Funding
Writing a business plan to help you direct and manage your company is a key part of starting you new company that will help lead you and your company to success. Creating a "living and breathing" business plan makes that success even easier to reach. Many people feel that the sole purpose of a business plan is to get funding, and write a plan that is targeted to that audience. This plan should be considered a piece of you Fund quest documentation, but should not necessarily be edited to meet each funding source.
How to Snuff Out the Competition Without Leaving a Mark
Does the competition drive you crazy?
During the election we heard about Ohio?s Economy
Much of what we heard in the mass media about Ohio and the down and out economy was the fiction of spin-doctors of politics who wanted to oust the current sitting President. On further review and first hand observation and experience Cincinnati has people moving in and economic expansion. It is in a good spot with decent quality of life, plenty of jobs and an expanding set of suburbs. Just cross the river into KY and you get a glimpse of the reality.
Legal Strategies in Business Plans
Writing a Business Plan these days is tough, venture capitalists are busy and there are so many ideas to choose from. Bankers want a tight, sweet and to the point business plan. Family Members who may lend you money are generally worrisome due to lawsuits and liability. This is why you need to pay particular attention to the Legal Section of your Business Plan.
Microsoft Great Plains in Advertising & Publishing ? implementation highlights
Microsoft Great Plains, former Great Plains Dynamics is excellent fit for service oriented business and in this small article we'll give you magazine publisher and advertiser implementation and reporting scenarios. The system we describe is not real, we are putting together industry specifics, based on our consulting practice. In the case if you do not see some unique features of your publishing business ? this just means that publishing industry is diversified and say, regional newspaper publishing is quite different from magazine with narrow specialization.
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