Category Archives: Starting a Business

Welcome to the RiskBuster Business Plan Oasis

Welcome to the RiskBuster Business Plan Oasis, the online Business Planner’s RoadMap. We’ve been busy at the Oasis creating videos to help you jumpstart your business planning. Over the next few months we’ll be adding them to our YouTube Channel.

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Don’t Waste Another Dollar on Business Planning

If you’re starting or growing a small business and throwing a lot of money into business planning, you might want to read this before spending another dollar.

Talk to almost anyone in the business development or lending arena, and they will tell you flat out that you need a business plan.

True enough. You need a plan.

What’s less well touted is that almost all of the benefits of business planning accrue from researching and writing the plan yourself.

So, let’s cut to the chase. Individuals setting out to start small or micro-businesses are far better off to take up the mouse and keyboard themselves than to outsource the development of a business plan. Anyone can write you a story, but nobody can read your mind or predict whether or not you’ll succeed in business.

And guess what – you stand to lose everything if the plan doesn’t work out.

Of course, you also stand to gain everything if your business gains traction and succeeds.

So, here’s the rub. If a consultant could create a business plan that is guaranteed to succeed, why would he do it for you for pennies? Why wouldn’t he simply start the business himself? Here’s why – because 99.9% of the work is not in the planning; it is in the implementation of the business plan. And only you can assess whether or not you are able and willing to take on the work and make the business succeed.

Anyone who knows a few words can write a story. Anyone with those skills, a hint of imagination, and a bit of business knowhow can write a fairly convincing business story. But is that person in business? And specifically, unless that person is buried in your business up to the neck, the business plan isn’t going to be worth the pdf it’s written on. And if that person is in the business already, he isn’t going to help you in to the market place just to compete with him.

So, where do great business plans come from? They arise from the mind of the entrepreneur putting assets on the line, tempered with a few hours of research to validate any assumptions. That’s it. The only business plans that are worth a pinch of muskrat muck are those that are brought about through the blood, sweat and tears of the person who’ll be paying the taxes once the business is rolling.

So, suck it up and research and write your own business plan. If you have a roadmap to follow, it’s not such a bad thing – fact is, you might even enjoy the planning process once you get past the initial fear. After all, in planning a business, you are mapping out the next leg of your personal journey. You are laying the groundwork for an optimistic future, possibly improving your financial status and getting into a lifestyle you want.

What could possibly be more enticing than that?

Forecasting Isn’t the Same as Accounting

There’s no doubt that forecasting or attempting to predict the future in any way, is considered by many to be a mild form of insanity.

Forecasting is one area of business planning that entrepreneurs tend to resist. There are many reasons for this.

  • Beyond spending, many people simply don’t like to deal with money matters.
  • Unless you’ve previously owned a business, the entire business financial arena tends to be a vast, spooky mystery.
  • Those who have weathered a financial black eye in their personal lives are inclined to be apprehensive about tackling the management of business finances.

Many people assume that forecasting is the same as accounting, and that it should be left to highly skilled professionals, such as bankers, accountants and MBA’s. And yet, the process of forecasting is sure to be a healthy learning experience for owners and anyone thinking about starting a business.

To dispel myths and misguided fears about forecasting, it is helpful to clarify what it is… and what it isn’t. One way to do this is to identify the ways that forecasting differs from accounting.

  1. Forecasting is an educated guess at future scenarios, while accounting is a detailed compilation of past transactions.
  2. Forecasting takes place prior to a period of business, while accounting happens after commerce is done.
  3. Forecasting provides an approximate picture of the future, while accounting shows an accurate record of business past.
  4. Forecasting is built upon safe assumptions and conservative estimates, while accounting is built upon precise records and receipts.
  5. Forecasting is usually best done by the small business owner, while accounting should almost always be entrusted to an accountant.

The truth is, most entrepreneurs have no crystal ball skills whatsoever, and most will never be accountants. Any yet, small business owners need to have a certain level of confidence in the future of their enterprises. A rationally constructed forecast can give you the confidence needed to move forward, while arming you with the information necessary to weather upcoming threats.

As surely as the business owner must pay taxes, he or she should take on the responsibility of forecasting. You can hire someone to foretell your future and you can certainly turn your business records over to an accountant for compilation, but at the end of each year it is the business owner who pays for any mistakes made and who reaps the rewards when things go right.

While attempting to predict the future might seem a bit crazy, the real insanity is trying to run a business without the benefits of forecasting. 

Dear Creative Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs have fueled economies with their energy since the beginning of time.

Humble tailors taking care of business in feudal times had similar challenges to the home-based website designers of today. Whether using a barter system or the currency of the day, tailors had to buy or create tools, get raw materials, and sell products and services. They had to pay bills, market goods, negotiate prices, fend off marauding rent seekers, clean the shop, and take out the garbage. And like the website designer, they somehow managed to outsmart competitors, and sell enough services to feed, cloth, and shelter themselves and their families.

As an entrepreneur, you are a worker bee with a vision. You are motivated to solve problems, to serve others, and to make a difference. You need to be productive and you love to win. You pull miracles out of nothingness in the quiet of night while others sleep. You are a conduit for the raw energy that binds all people together. You help to feed, cloth, shelter and nurture the people around you.

You may work with a team or by yourself; you might work full-time, part-time or double-time. You might be a carpenter, a doctor, a house cleaner, a teacher, an artist, a mechanic or an inventor. Whatever the nature of your business, your work makes the lives of others better in some way. You take pride in your work and in doing so, you set yourself apart from those without vision. You are responsible for your actions and accountable for the outcomes. You continually make improvements because you are passionate about your work and you care about yourself and those you serve. Your vision elevates you above the masses of workers who simply toil to survive. Your vision includes aspirations beyond survival, perhaps abundance, enriched life style and autonomy. Whatever you do, you will make a positive difference in the world around you.

If you’re working at something you love to do, you might do it even if nobody paid you for your efforts. As one of my favourite techies once said, “If the truth be known, you really wouldn’t have to pay us money to do your IT; we would actually work for free as long as you provide us with bandwidth…”

I want my carpenter to love building and be passionate about working with wood.

I want my doctor to love people and to be passionate about my well being.

I want my house cleaner to love cleaning and be passionate about eradicating dust.

I want my teacher to love me and be passionate about his topic and teaching.

I want my artist to love to write or paint or play and to be passionate about the message.

I want my mechanic to love the sound of a well tuned engine and be passionate about safety.

I want my inventor to love solving problems and be passionate about innovating.

Entrepreneurship is not about the money. It’s about exercising one’s right to be creative, to solve problems, to serve customers and to make the world a better place. Do what you love to do and the money will follow.

Do you realize how powerful you are? Can you see the impact you have on the world around you? Does your vision include making a difference to your community, to your family, to your world?