Tag Archives: writing a business plan

To Business Plan or Not: Is That Really the Question?

After coaching many people through the eye of the business planning needle, I’m intrigued and bewildered by the gap between “what business planning is” and “what people seem to think it is.” Time and again I see intelligent people going to great lengths to avoid business planning when it’s exactly what they need to navigate the complexities of start-up.

Whether they admit it or not, those who succeed in business do some sort of planning – or hire someone to do it for them. The pieces of a successful business don’t fall into place perfectly by themselves without some kind of high-level roadmap to get them flying in formation. The elements of success come together because someone—usually the business owner—plans, agonizes, organizes, pampers, and weaves the threads together to achieve the desired positive result.

So, what is this aggravation called business planning? Continue reading To Business Plan or Not: Is That Really the Question?

Join us for the Business Planning Online Workshop

Access Powerful “Hands-on” Training, Research Your Business Idea and Write Your Business Plan!

Join the RiskBuster Team for the Business Planning Online Workshop. Master business planning and market research skills and techniques so you can confidently start or grow your business! Use your business planning skills to develop a business plan you can use to start a business, grow an existing business, attract investors or leverage funding. You will learn how to research competitors, complete market research, develop the basis of a marketing plan and create one or more 3-year financial projections.

You’ve heard it said that four out of five new businesses fail in their infancy. That’s a scary statement. We think it’s misleading. We think it should go like this – four out of five businesses that fail to plan fail.

The top value of the Business Planning 2012 Online Workshop is that you become the expert for your business by building your own business plan. Working your way through a business plan gets you grounded in your business and takes you to opening day with confidence. The business plan removes much of the guesswork, freeing up your energy to focus on serving customers and making money.

In 30 years of owning businesses and coaching others to start businesses, I have learned that there are five essential keys launching any business: Continue reading Join us for the Business Planning Online Workshop

Lots of Money for Viable Business Proposals

At times I hear entrepreneurs say they can’t find money to start or grow their businesses. I don’t buy it. There is always money available for great business ideas.

Of course, there are a number of reasons why investors might shy away from your golden opportunity, making funding appear scarce.

If you’re having trouble landing the funds to kick-start your next mousetrap, consider the following possibilities. Continue reading Lots of Money for Viable Business Proposals

Competitive Intelligence Not Espionage


Business start-ups tend to stumble when it comes to gathering information on their competitors. And yet, going into business without having a thumb on the pulse of your industry is a sure way to go broke.

When planning a business, and particularly when it comes to researching competitors, people stress about what’s right or wrong, and often feel they are spying. In business planning workshops, learners ask about the ethics of snooping and whether it’s right to sneak into a competitor’s shop posing as a customer.

Here are a few methods to get you past the initial feelings of espionage and nefariousness, and on to non-intrusive learning about the industry you’re getting into.

1. You can find articles on competitor’s businesses by searching on the Internet. Just plug in your questions and topics and follow your nose.

2. Gather information from competitor’s websites, catalogues and other marketing materials. Whether via the Internet or through offline marketing, your competitors must communicate their offerings to potential customers. And yes, it’s ok to review competitor’s materials; they’ll certainly be pouring over your brochures and flyers once they’re published.

3. You can source information on competitors through Trade Associations and Trade Publications. Just search the Internet for “trade associations” or “trade publications” for your region and your business. In just moments you can narrow your search to a few possibilities for which you can visit websites to learn more. As an association member or publication subscriber, you will be kept up-to-date on industry and business trends and developments.

4. In the process of doing market surveys, you are sure to find yourself interviewing some of your competitor’s customers. A few well-crafted questions will enable you to compare your goods and services with the competition, things such as pricing, packaging, office hours, servicing and guarantees. If you’re uncomfortable doing the surveys yourself, it will cost more, but you can also opt to hire an agency or individual to do them for you.

5. The above methods will fill your folders with heaps of information, but if you do all that and still hunger for more information, there’s nothing wrong with asking a competitor out for a coffee and picking his or her brain yourself. Just be sure to go prepared to share your own information, as the person you’re querying will probably have a few questions to ask of you as well.

In researching your competitors, it’s important to keep in mind that the focus is less about the person, more about the products and services and providing the best deal for your customers.

Just because you’re competing doesn’t mean you are enemies. Most newbies are pleasantly surprised, once they get out and mingle a bit, to learn that their competitors aren’t as scary as imagined. Once you get past the adversarial image, you might find some competitors to be like-minded, interesting people, entrepreneurs just like you. Rather than awakening slumbering trolls, you are far more likely to find yourself learning like crazy, discovering opportunities to collaborate on larger projects, and even making a few friends.