|Strategic Planning Information|
More Uses for Your Business Plan
You have invested a lot of time and energy on writing a business plan just to get a loan or to attract an investor. What do you do when you get the money or, worse, should you be turned down?
Do you just file it away? That's like investing in a boat that remains parked in your driveway after its inaugural voyage.
Instead of filing it away or leaving it on a shelf to gather dust, why not capture more return on your investment? To gain a clearer perspective, convert your investment of time and energy into a dollar amount. Then, you'll think twice before filing your business plan away.
Ways to capitalize on your investment
Don't have a business plan in your files? Begin preparing portions today as an investment for that day when you will need one. It's quite probable that when that need arises you will be too pre-occupied to devote the required time and energy on an appropriate plan.
Now, you have a greater incentive to do a more thorough business plan today, knowing it is going to serve several useful purposes in the future.
About The Author
Gerry McRae added practical wisdom to his college and univeristy courses by owning and operating small businesses. That wisdom is now online at http://www.UncleMaxSays.com.
Business Plan: Planning the Operations
Writing a business plan is no easy task, sure you can whip something together in a day or so, but without proper planning you are setting yourself up to fail. Many first time entrepreneurs have a bit of trouble writing a business plan, which will be acceptable to bankers and investors. One easy place to fall down on is the understanding of the daily operations of your chosen business model.
Top Ten Traits of Strategic Thinkers
Want to become more strategic? Add these traits to your collection of skills and watch your success soar!
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.
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!
The Magic Of Exponential Business Growth
Is there a 'magical' way to exponentially grow your business?
10 Ways To Make Your Business Unique
1. Largest Selection -
Succession Planning for Business - 10 Key Points You Must Know
By cranking up others development to meet your business needs, big or small, not just for right now, but for the future, you will find payoffs, big-time. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Vendor Relations Strategies Sample Outline
One of the quintessential parts to any business is your supply chain. To insure that the supplies are there when you need them; in this new day and age of "just in time" distribution where very little sits on warehouse shelves until you order it you will need excellent vendor relations. Without the help of your vendors a small customer need turns into a astronomical problem and if you cannot solve it or serve your customer, you will indeed lose that customer to someone else who will. Someone who has constantly maintained a close relationship with their vendors in fact and can get what they need quickly with a simple phone. You say; "you wish it was that easy!" Yes, I hear you, yet I have seen over the years that with the proper vendor team, you can do anything, build anything, create anything and move forward faster than any competitor ever dreamed of. How do I know? Well, I built a multi-state franchise company with no outside investors from the smallest of small businesses, that's how.
Why 9 in 10 Businesses are Overspending on Day-to-day Expenses
Experts estimate that 90 percent of Australian businesses are overspending on day-to-day expenses, by as much as 75 percent in some cost categories!
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:
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.
19 Questions to Supercharge Your Business Plan
Whether you are seeking capital for your company or are optimizing your business strategy, the most important element - particularly for outside investors - may be your written business plan. You can tune-up and supercharge your plan using this 19-step checklist. When your written plan firmly answers yes to each of these 19 questions, your market/product strategy is in terrific shape plus you increase the odds of attracting investment capital.
Strategic Planning Consulting
Strategic planning and consulting is the strategy roadmap to manage business very effectively. To improve the performance in each business level, business strategic planning & consulting is essential. We should draw a clear strategic planning model to dilute the business complexity. If the strategic planning models are clearly set it is easy to find the business solution.
Are You Aware of Planning in Business?
Human beings are rational agents. Rationality endorses one to take up planning in every sphere of life from shifting to a new house to marriage, as well as business. A business plan is the first and most significant premise to reach and run a successful business. It is not just that capital that makes a business successful but it is also planning done in a prudent manner that plays a crucial role.
Corporate Venturing For Emerging Growth Companies
The boom of the dot-com era in 1999 brought the emergence of corporate venture capital as a major source of funding to the private equity markets. Corporate venture investments peaked in the third quarter of 2000 with 608 deals totaling a combined $4.9 billion. A few of the top corporate venture capital investors of 2000 included Nokia Corporate ($500 million), Oracle Corporation ($400 million), Intel Corporation ($300 million), Sun Microsystems, Inc. ($300 million) and Daimler Chrysler ($100 million).
I Always Play by the Rules and It Stinks!
This week I coached a wonderfully lovely woman I'll call Jill. She's a bright woman, very compassionate and sweet. She's at one of the corporations where I am an outside consultant/coach. This was our first meeting but within seconds I could tell she had a lot on her mind.. and her plate.
To Go or No Go, That Is The Question
Last week we talked about a few of the ways to test the feasibility of a business idea to help determine if the idea really had merit or just looked good on the surface. To recap, I said don't bet the farm on the opinions of friends and family, consult with knowledgeable business experts, and conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis. This week let's take it a step further and talk about the creation of a formal Feasibility Plan which will help you determine the true feasibility of your big business idea.
Art of Succession Planning
Succession planning, like any business acumen, is both an art and a science. That is to say, there are many proven strategies that can and must be followed so that successful transition can occur.
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.
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