Posts belonging to Category 'Business Planning'


Julian Rowe-Business Correspondent-Business Service Finder
Dr Stephen Covey, author of the best seller 7 Habits of Highly Effective People in an interview with Anthony Robbins, explains that after 20 years of working with corporations it became clear to him that private victories always preceded public victories.
All entrepreneurs and most small and medium sized enterprise owners seek public victories either personally or for their businesses. Dr Covey sees courage and compassion as a power and key attributes of character of a successful person in business describing it as

the essence of interdependency in the world.

Covey asks the fundamental question, “What would help produce this private victory?”.

His answer was “take responsibility for one’s own life”. Sounds simple doesn’t it? It is amazing however how few people really succeed in achieving this fully. I know how much I have struggled to do this. Isn’t this why so many people use food, entertainment, extra martial affairs, alcohol or not to develop their career to escape the stress and pressures in business life?
Taking responsibility for one’s own life (and one’s dependents) is Dr Covey’s Habit 1.
HABIT 1: Personal Vision – BE PROACTIVE (ABILITY TO CHOOSE ONE’S RESPONSE, based on values, not on emotions.)
What is one’s life about – is Habit 2.
HABIT 2: Personal Leadership – ‘Begin with the end in mind’.
To live by it – is Habit 3.
HABIT 3: Personal Management – ‘Put first things first’.
These 3 fundamental ideas provide the foundation of a private victory. Dr Covery describes these attributes of character.
This is Covery’s continuum from dependence, through independence to interdependence.
Dependence: you take care of me, or I blame you for these results, need others to get what they want.
Interdependence: I can do it, self confidence, self-reliance, “we” can accomplish it, requires their own efforts and others to achieve what they want.
What is the public victory?
Regard other people with great respect and dignity, and treat them accordingly.
How does one solve problems? One LISTENS to others first, before seeking to be listened to.
Try synergy, to create something better than anything proposed previously.
These 3 ideas are the essence of the Public Victory or ‘interdependence’ which is what Dr Covey describes as (interdependency) “the essence of what life is”. So habits 4, 5, & 6 are habits of personality – outward habits.
Finally Dr. Covey concludes that the final Habit (7) is ‘Sharpening the saw’. To maintain a level of alertness and personal performance (to be effective with other people).
In these times of economic turmoil it is a timely reminder of what matters most, and to avoid getting caught up or ensnared in what matter least.

Do You Really Need a Business Plan?

Most entrepreneurs need to borrow money or seek investors from the start and hence the need for a business plan to be created.

However ALL businesses need a CURRENT business plan. If you run a business, haven’t got one that’s up-to-date (i.e. within the past 3 months – no excuses) then why not use this blog article as a mind-jogger to take action now.

See also my article on the when to choose a professional to help you write a business plan, and the advantages of doing so.

Creating a business plan helps you understand more in depth your business idea or vision. How viable is it?

The final version becomes a road map for your company’s short term future and ideally produces ‘cascading objectives i.e. executable task for the managers of the business for the year, months, and weeks ahead.

Without it, your business merely drifts along without clear purpose, direction or the key milestones to monitor and measure performance and progress.

Take time now to plan out how realistic your business forecasts, vision or ideas are. Does it make sense financially?

Why do business owners resist planning? Perhaps you have some answers to add to my list:

Lack of confidence (in their ability as a manage to succeed)
Lack of faith (in the business idea) – never turns out how I planned it
Lack of time (also fearful, see also poor management)
Waste of time (see lack of faith)
Poor management – poor delegating, poor management of self
‘Not enough people in my corner’
Poor network of friends, professional advisers (Business Networking Organisations, Chambers of Commerce, Business Links, Regional Development Agencies, Trade Associations) – working in isolation

A business plan to raise money is best handled by a professional. Do the basic things initially yourself:

Outline Marketing strategy

Define your typical customer or audience, and typical lifetime of a customer.

Competitive Analysis:

Important to understand your competitors, and rate them in your opinion as to the strength of the their value proposition i.e. what they promise to deliver, its value, and other stuff like delivery, refund policy added value extras and other benefits etc.

Executive Summary:        In a nutshell what do you hope to achieve.
Financial information:
Details of major expenditure, changes in working capital (stock, debtors creditors), and profit and loss forecast.

Financials are key, of course, but for raising money using a professional normally guarantees a much higher success rate (i.e. obtaining the funding, or attracting the investor), that the figures will look right (otherwise they’ll tell you straight it unworkable). Don’t worry about key ratios, balance sheet and precise profit and loss account details. Lenders usually would like projections for three years’ and current trading details, and give this to the professional to put together – but MAKE SURE HE EXPLAINS IT FULLY TO YOU. Most of all use the business plan to give you clarity on what you are trying to do, and to use is as a vehicle for developing and improving your ideas going forwards.

Most of all use the business plan to give you clarity on what you are trying to do, and to use is as a vehicle for developing and improving your ideas going forwards.

Even if it is not to raise money, if you do not feel confident, then ask a professional. Funding exists in many areas of the UK, and your business may qualify for funding a business plan specialist.

Before you choose which business consultant you want to help you with your business plan, it is best to seek advice from with several business support professionals. This is a key reason why the idea of Business Service Finder was born – a now cost or low cost online resource – a knowledge-expertise gateway for small and medium sized business owners and senior manager to access business advice and assistance.