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What Is A Business Plan?

The best way to show bankers, venture capitalists, and angel investors that you are worthy of financial support is to show them a great business plan. Make sure that your plan is clear, focused and realistic. Then show them that you have the tools, talent and team to make it happen. Your business plan is like your calling card, it will get you in the door where you’ll have to convince investors and loan officers that you can put your plan into action.

Once you have raised the money to start or expand your business, your plan will serve as a road map for your business. It is not a static document that you write once and put away. You will reference it often, making sure you stay focused and on track, and meet milestones. It will change and develop as your business evolves.

Do I need a business plan?
Not everyone who starts and runs a business begins with a business plan, but it certainly helps to have one. If you are seeking funding from a venture capitalist, you will certainly need a comprehensive business plan that is well thought out and contains sound business reasoning.

If you are approaching a banker for a loan for a start-up business, your loan officer may suggest a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan, which will require a business plan. If you have an existing business and are approaching a bank for capital to expand the business, they often will not require a business plan, but they may look more favorably on your application if you have one.

Reasons for writing a business plan include:

Support a loan application

Raise equity funding

Define and fix objectives and programs to achieve those objectives

Create regular business review and course correction

Define a new business

Define agreements between partners

Set a value on a business for sale or legal purposes

Evaluate a new product line, promotion, or expansion

What’s in a business plan?

A business plan should prove that your business will generate enough revenue to cover your expenses and make a satisfactory return for bankers or investors.

Executive Summary–features the highlights of your plan and sells your idea in two pages or less.
Company Summary–a factual description of your company, ownership, and history.
Products (or Services or both)–describes your products and/or services and how they stand out from competitive products and services.
Market Analysis-provides a summary of your typical customers, competitive landscape, market size, and expected market growth.
Strategy and Implementation-describes how you will sell your product, how you will put your plan into action, and establishes milestones.
Management Summary-provides background on the management team, their experiences, and key accomplishments.
Financial Plan-contains key financials including sales, cash flow, and profits.
What makes a successful business plan?

A well thought out idea

Clear and concise writing

A clear and logical structure

Illustrates management’s ability to make the business a success

Shows profitability

How do you write a business plan?

Sitting down looking at a blank computer screen as you prepare to start your business plan can be daunting. You may want to look at some alternatives that will make the process a bit easier.

Hire a Professional

A professional consultant will create the business plan for you, but you still have to be prepared to think through your business and understand the underlying concepts in your business idea. You will have to work closely with the consultant to ensure that he or she develops a good plan that accurately represents your business or business idea.

Buy a Book

There are many good books on the market that will help you to understand what needs to go into a good business plan. Check out the many titles available at your local book store, library or throughout the internet.

Use Business Planning Software

A good business planning software package will provide you with an outline for a well-developed, objective-based and professional business plan. Software packages will remove the problem of starting from scratch by structuring your plan for you. The software should ask you the right questions that will pull out the most important underlying concepts within your business idea.

Financial Investments For Low-Income Families

It may seem like an impossible task to invest on a low income, but the benefits far outweigh the sacrifices. Unlike savings, which serve short-term financial goals like buying a new car or establishing an emergency fund, investments are intended to meet your long-term financial goals, including providing for a child’s college education or your retirement.

Regardless of income, the money that you do have needs to be managed. The best investment products for you will be determined by your long-term financial goals. Discuss these with a financial advisor who may be able to assist you with finding investments that best serve your goals – even if they seem small or insignificant compared to the figures you read about or see on television.

Types of Investments

Retirement plans: 401(k) and IRAs Many people choose to invest through their employer, taking advantages of the matching funds and tax benefits that accompany many 401(k) plans and IRAs (Individual Retirement Arrangements). Contributing at least the amount your employer will match is one way to get a significant return on your investment. Because the employee typically decides the contribution, you can begin with a small amount each paycheck, gradually raising your contribution as your salary increases. If your employer does not provide a retirement plan, you can still set up an IRA as an individual, and reap the tax benefits.

Stocks, Bonds, and Mutual Funds When you purchase a stock, you are buying a share of ownership in a company. A bond is a loan of money to a company, or government, that promises to pay back the principal plus interest. Mutual funds pool money from many investors to buy a variety of stocks, bonds, or other securities. Investing through a mutual fund, rather than purchasing stocks and bonds on your own, provides several benefits, such as being able to choose from a variety of professionally managed funds tailored for different levels of risk and rates of return. Some mutual funds have an initial investment of as little as $50, making them an ideal place to begin investing on a tight budget.

Beginning Investing

Consider your long-term financial goals, and determine what type of investment combination, or portfolio, will best serve those goals. Then, begin investing. No matter what the initial investment is, the important thing is to start. A financial advisor may be able to help you find areas in your budget to cut back in order to increase your ability to invest, and direct your investments so they may best serve your long-term financial goals.

Learning Business Development Tips For Mystery Shopping Business

What is a Mystery Shopping Business?

Mystery shopping business refers to visiting different places and pretending to be a usual customer. Places where a mystery shopping business owner may go include a restaurant, hairdresser, grocery store, amusement park, or some other type of business.

For example, when mystery shoppers go to a restaurant, they sit down, place their order, enjoy the meal, and pay for the service like any other customer. However, the main purpose of the visit is to gather as much information as possible about the overall customer service of the restaurant. The job of a mystery shopper is to write a detailed report using predefined parameters regarding the rates and the services offered by the visited business. This report is a very useful tool used in business for employee training, employee rewards, and many other similar purposes. The business of mystery shopping is very simple and straightforward to start and you can fetch good money though this home based business. However, like all businesses you must keep in mind that the success in mystery shopping business too depends on how effectively you can get new clients for your business and retain the existing ones.

Get Your Family Involved:

Business development tips for mystery shopping business suggest that you can use the help of your family for this purpose. By bringing your spouse and kids with you, you make mystery shopping less of a mystery and more of an authentic experience. This is truer in the case when you visit a restaurant with the family. However, make sure that your family is there to provide support to you in your business.

Your Report Should Be Objective:

There are not many specific things required as business supplies for a mystery shopping business. However, you should have some basic things like business cards, formal looking clothes, and contracts when you visit the clients. A business development tip for mystery shopping business is that you should focus more on writing the report in a professional manner. Your report must be objective. It should tell the clients reality about your experience. Do not try to impose your opinions about it.

Learn Customer Service Skills and Be a Keen Observer:

One very important business development tip for mystery business shoppers is that you must learn customer service skills. These skills will serve dual purpose for you. It will help you in developing relations with your clients and you will be able to evaluate customer service offered by other businesses. You must also have the ability to make observations and keep them in the memory because it is not always possible to note down what you have observed.