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5 Ways to Use Your Business Plan

It takes guts to defy chaos and predict the future of your business, and yet that’s precisely what an entrepreneur does when writing a business plan. Considering it’s a written roadmap that can be used at any point in the future to measure whether the business succeeded or failed, most people will put it off as long as they can. Of course, most people don’t own businesses either. But those who develop business plans quickly come to realize an abundance of benefits.

The most important reason to do a business plan is to gain understanding about, and create a blueprint for starting or growing a business. Once the plan is done it can easily be adapted to communicate with different audiences.

Here are 5 different ways to reconfigure your business plan, from longest to shortest.

1. The Complete Business Plan. Your full business plan will include an executive summary, the narrative and financial components, and a number of supporting documents. By adding well-crafted, personalized cover letters for each contact, you will be able to use your business plan to communicate with potential partners, grant fund managers, bankers and other debt financing agencies.

2. The Investors Business Plan. Right up front, . . .Continue reading 5 Ways to Use Your Business Plan

Running a Business Is Like Riding a Snowboard

A couple years ago I tempted fate by tackling my first snowboarding lesson. I was 51. Though my future was in doubt for the entire incident, I survived. Whether from repeatedly landing on my head or from the hot toddies that followed, I felt compelled to apply the lessons of snowboarding to running a business.

A rider becomes one with the snowboard; an owner gets immersed in the business. Neither business nor snowboard will run smoothly until you learn some skills and tune into the conditions. Until you reach that point you might look like a newborn calf – gangly, uncoordinated and off-balance. Snowboarding and business are both learned by doing. A bit of theory is nice, but the real thrill comes from getting out there and doing it. No amount of theory compares to a real ride down the mountainside or a day of running your own business. Fitness and flexibility are important. This seemed quite clear as, from a variety of unflattering positions I observed skilled snowboarders flying over jumps and loving the airtime. Ah yes, I thought, I really should have stuck with the cardio program. It’s also easier to withstand the rigors of business ownership when . . .Continue reading Running a Business Is Like Riding a Snowboard

Tips for Naming Your Business

Naming a business can be thrilling and spooky. It’s exciting because naming a business always gives a feeling of getting closer to bringing your fledgling business into the world. But it can also be stressful because the wrong name can cost you.

Today’s environment is such that, even when you do everything right according to the local authorities, you can still be blindsided by a business owner from a far off jurisdiction.

When a local business owner started her housecleaning business a couple of years ago, she did her research, registered her name with the provincial corporate registry, and started building her business. A few months later she was advised by her lawyer that she should stop using her business name because someone else had the trademark pending for all of Canada.

Now, many months later, she has successfully changed her business name, but the cost has been considerable. She has redone her business cards, brochures, vehicle signage, media advertising, and rebuilt her website at naturallyneat.ca.

This situation is not unique. With that in mind, here are a few tips for naming a business.

Search your name ideas using any of the search engines, such as www.google.com or www.bing.com. Too . . .Continue reading Tips for Naming Your Business

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.

Forecasting is an educated guess at future scenarios, while accounting is a detailed compilation of . . .Continue reading Forecasting Isn’t the Same as Accounting

What’s New At The RiskBuster Business Plan Oasis?

The Business Plan Oasis moving closer to launch day. The blog and forum are up. . . .Continue reading What’s New At The RiskBuster Business Plan Oasis?

Silos Lead to Learning

It’s almost a year since we published and launched RiskBuster… and then went underground to build the supporting membership website. Only a few people know how busy we’ve been behind the scenes; to the onlooker, it might seem like we dropped off the planet. We’re still here and it’s been a fast, busy year, and most of it has been devoted to assimilating and incorporating new silos…

We’re excited about the upcoming launch of the new membership website, the RiskBuster Business Planning Oasis. No date set yet, but we will announce it soon.

It’s been a year of learning for us. First, we have pulled together a number key elements of the membership website infrastructure. We’ve largely switched over to our Business Plan Oasis site and uploaded the 99 steps of the Business Planner’s RoadMap. We’ve created and installed a SpringBoard for each step, with links to tutorials, FAQ’s, Worksheets and relevant Links. We created the RiskBuster Daily Business Plan Tips and the Introduction to the Business Plan: 8 Day eCourse. In November we will resume publishing the RiskBuster Oasis Insider Bi-Weekly Newsletter.

During the spring of this year, we piloted the first delivery of Business Plan Development Skills for . . .Continue reading Silos Lead to Learning