Everything starts with a dream!
Whenever I got in trouble in elementary school, it usually had something to do with dreaming. Apparently I spent too much time daydreaming, gazing out the window, cruising somewhere out there, light-years from the topics our instructors were diligently trying to teach.
I managed to get myself into enough hot water that I eventually came to view dreaming as a waste of valuable time and a negative thing. The culture I was born into insisted that I adopt a more mechanical, left-brained approach to life. And it appears that this was all facilitated with my best interests at heart. By the time I reached adulthood, I had buried my dreams deep inside.
I was in my late thirties when I found myself ensconced in a workshop participating in an activity that required me to write a list of my dreams. I was stumped! I looked around in amazement while others vigorously scribbled out their lengthy lists. I drew a blank.
. . .Continue reading Everything Starts With a Dream
1. Tidy up your personal finances before applying for a business loan.
Pay down loans, clean up any bad debts, collect some business-related equipment and save some money.
2. Bring some equity to the table.
Save money, sell some toys, borrow some love money, create something for your business, or get a second or third job for a while.
3. Prove your business case to yourself and to those who will read your business plan.
Persist in your market research efforts until you become ‘the expert’ for your business. Talk to people, ask questions, search the Internet, take courses, read books, listen to tapes, and subscribe to trade publications. You will feel more confident and have an easier time convincing your readers that you know what you are doing.
4. Listen and learn.
Listen to those who agree with you AND to those who do not. Listen to all who shoot holes in your business idea, they might just be pointing you toward success. When you think you’ve heard it all, listen harder!
5. Be honest… and thorough… and accurate.
Missing information or inaccuracies definitely invite questions and send the wrong message. Putting in wrong information or conveniently leaving out . . .Continue reading Twelve Tips For Business Planners
A little diligence in planning can save time, money and energy as your business grows. Unfortunately, some people back away from business planning because it appears to be a lot of work. Although it can be a demanding task, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and the benefits can be remarkable.
In order to be of maximum value, a business plan must prove supply, demand and the financial case.
Demand. Each business has a sweet spot, a certain number of customers to keep the doors open, often referred to as the break-even point. Signed contracts can be the kiss of life for some types of business. Where contracts are not possible, surveying potential customers can help to validate demand. Friends and family promising to buy your stuff forever may be a wonderful indication that people love you, but in no way should their flattering claims be interpreted as a reliable indication of demand. The purest proof of demand is sales of products or services. Regardless of the method used, an entrepreneur must be convinced that demand exists before starting a business. Supply. Once satisfied there is a demand for products, an entreprenuer will want to confirm ongoing access to the . . .Continue reading Does Your Business Plan Prove Your Business Case?
A quick search of the Internet will get you a mess of articles extolling the pros and cons of business planning. The advocates claim that anyone getting into business must have a business plan. On the other side of the argument are those who think business planning is a waste of time, including a few seasoned owners who matter-of-factly claim they’ve never had a business plan.
This can be confusing for those new to business. It’s hard to know what to believe, and naturally nobody wants to waste precious time if a business plan is not needed, nor should they—unless there are tangible benefits. Let’s kill a myth. Most of those who will tell you they have no business plan, when questioned further, will admit that they actually do have a plan; it’s just that they don’t think of it- or refer to it as a formal business plan. Make no mistake about it; where there’s a thriving, sustainable business, there is a plan.
Many who started without written business plans did so back when it was possible to travel the railways with manually powered scooters. Trains were much slower then, and a hardy lad could almost always yank the . . .Continue reading Smart Entrepreneurs Cruise with Business Plans
Are your prices high enough to keep you in business?
If you’re self-employed and providing services at prices anywhere near the rates you earned as an employee, you might be missing some of the deadliest hidden costs.
The obvious overhead costs include things such as rent, utilities, advertising, insurance, and office supplies; business expenses not directly related to the production of goods or services. However, there are a few costs that aren’t visible until after your venture is in play. They are easy to overlook, difficult to measure, and they’re seldom factored into the start-up financial projections.
Here are a few expenses to consider when setting your prices.
1. Audits, Fines, Penalties. Taxation and worker safety organizations can call for an audit just about any time. They can also cheerfully penalize you if you happen to be late with your remittances.
2. Downtime. As an employer, you are responsible to provide workers with everything they need to be organized, efficient and productive. Any losses or downtime come right out of your profit.
3. Political, Bureaucratic or Regulatory Changes. As a business owner, you will invest a certain amount in keeping up with changes, and then you will expend money, time . . .Continue reading Deadly Overhead Costs to Consider When Setting Your Prices