4 Myths of Business Planning After Buying a Business

Just because you have bought a business does not mean that everything will run on autopilot. I’ve worked with entrepreneurs that really have no solid business plan to follow up their acquisition. They live in a world where they firmly believe that business will continue “as usual” after the acquisition. Regretfully most entrepreneurs quickly discover that there really is no such thing “as usual” in the field of business entrepreneurship and management.

Myth #1 You don’t need a business plan if you are buying an existing business. The previous owner has a general guideline or plan already.

Reality – The purpose in buying a business is to reduce risk and take a good business and make it great.

Myth #2 You need a 300 page business plan for your business purchase that will take roughly 3 years to write, rewrite, revise, and edit.

Reality – Business plans are a very personal and individual resource. Your business plan needs a few basic elements including a pro forma/cash flow analysis/ (for a minimum of one year and a maximum of the length of the time to pay off the debt); milestones for your business, and a few other basic elements.

Myth #3 I’ll write a business plan and wipe off the dust to show it to potential investors, executive management, and the occasional motivation session for the employees.

Reality – Business plans are part of effective management and entrepreneurship. Your business plan should be a dynamic document that should be shared with everyone in your organization on some level.

Myth #4 In business planning – sales will solve everything.

Reality – This is by far the most common mistake that first time business buyers make. I’ve made this mistake myself. You’ve just bought a business, you want to pay off the seller and become debt free. You figure if you boost your sales you can pay off the seller and keep all the profits. You need to factor your first 3-6 months after your acquisition with sales at 70%, 80%, and 90% of target. The reason for this is you need to spend time with the previous owner focusing on learning the processes, vendors, and employees. Your job for the first 3-6 months is to learn the trade. A good business may have clear and precise processes so consequently the business can run on auto pilot without the owner’s daily babysitting of day to day duties. My personal experience is that the previous business owner needs to help with the day to day responsibilities until the transition process is complete. The business owner or owners naturally drive sales.

Based Entrepreneur

Are you and Entrepreneur or a Small Business Owner?

While many people think Entrepreneurship and Small Business Ownership are the same thing, there really is a difference. Whether you’re thinking of starting a small business to follow a dream of not having to work at a job you detest, or, your convinced there’s “a better way to build a mouse trap”, creating an effective, concise, and working business plan should reflect this difference in four distinct ways:

Wealth Creation: Most small business ventures are started to simply generate an income that replaces the owner’s traditional method of employment. A successful entrepreneurial venture, however, has potential to create substantial wealth, typically from a business model that seeks multiple ways to generate passive methods of generating revenue and income.

Speed of Wealth Creation: The success of a small business can literally take a lifetime to generate sustainable profit. If the goal, however, is to create wealth, using an entrepreneurial business model can result in rapid growth within the first five years and huge profit potential for the long-term.

Risk: The business risk of an entrepreneurial venture is usually higher than that of a small business. Motivation to achieve high profits is the source of most entrepreneurs, while the need to create and coddle a unique idea, build an organization, or develop the product is the usual impetus for success of the small business owner.

Innovation: Entrepreneurship often requires a strong degree of critical thinking which usually results in substantial innovation beyond what a traditional small business model might require. This innovation gives the entrepreneurial venture competitive advantage necessary to create extraordinary wealth. The innovation may be in the product or service itself, or in the business processes used to deliver it.

So what’s your plan?

Many people who want to start a home business ask if they really need a business plan. My answer is usually in the form of a very simple question: How bad do you really need to start a home based business?

Writing a business plan for your home based business should be considered essential for many reasons. Perhaps the most important reason to write a full plan is that it will help you gain focus and think through each aspect of your business. Having a working written document will also help you to remain and regain focus when you get discouraged or feel overwhelmed.

So, one of the best things you can do for yourself before you start your business is to sit down and write your business plan. It doesn’t have to be very long, but does have to be written in a fashion that clearly defines you, your vision, and your business goals – both short and long term.

Richard “Hank” James, a Human Resource Development professional dedicated to improving quality of life in the workplace by aligning human performance with the organization’s business objectives.

Entering Business Plan Competitions For Fun and Profit

Do you know if there is a business plan competition at your school? If you search online for college business plan competitions you can see a whole big list of current business plans and competitions. In these competitions, you present a business plan or idea to judges, students, business people, alumni and sometimes even Venture capitalist who are looking for the next big thing. These competitions have become quite popular among students because they have huge cash prizes for those who can win these very competitive contest. Wherever you are in the country, there is likely a competition for business plans offered somewhere nearby. Many of these require you to be at least a part time student, but not often do you need to be enrolled at the school hosting the competition. If it is, you can just team up with a student at that school. Want to compete? Here is a list of the biggest competitions.

o The best known competition in the entire country is the MIT 100k Entrepreneurship Competition. Six awards are given out at the contest. Two in the Venture completion, and two in the Entrepreneurship for development competition. Each winner of those prizes takes home 30 grand, and the 4 runner-ups each win 10 grand.

o The Stern School of Business at New York University has one of the largest cash purses for a contest. They have over 150,000 dollars up for grabs. The contest is open to the greater NYU area, and offers two tracks. A normal business plan track is offered as well as a Social Entrepreneurship track which has to do with developing businesses that are socially responsible and helpful.

o At the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship at Purdue University, the largest business plan competition in the Life sciences field is offered. The competition is open to any service or products in the life sciences industry and has 134,000 in prize money.

o For graduate students who are greatat the elevator pitch, there is a contest just for you. Wake Forest University’s Elevator Competition has 65 Grand in prizes for the ultimate elevator pitch.

o All of these competitions so far have been on the east coast. On the west coast, the Venture Challenge at San Diego State University has a traditional business plan competition with over a 15 Grand prize for the top competitors.

One Smart Business Plan Consulting Method

Every experienced entrepreneur knows that her business plan needs to be captivating, winning, attractive: basically, the next best thing since sliced bread. Sadly enough, according to recent statistics, 9 out of 10 start ups fail. Brad sits down with Shachar Tal, a successful entrepreneur from the start up nation, who agreed to explain what exactly he is looking for, when examining a business plan.

B: Shachar, you put a lot of emphasis on peer entrepreneur review. Why is it so important to let another entrepreneur look at your business plan?

S: Let’s put it this way: how much would you benefit if you knew that your business plan was reviewed and evaluated by Mark Zuckerberg, or Bill Gates, or any other successful entrepreneur? How much would you weigh their tips and advice? What is the price tag you’d put on an evaluation from a successful entrepreneur who has been in your shoes and managed to succeed?The collective experience of successful entrepreneurs is not something to belittle. I myself have had my ideas go through successful entrepreneurs and I can say that at least once I was spared a year of futile actions, because of good advice from successful entrepreneurs.

B: But most can’t find a successful entrepreneur and when they do, I do not believe someone would have taken the time and energy to seriously evaluate their business plan.

S: Very true. These guys, we, are busy. We have a lot on our minds and cannot afford the distraction. Usually, that’s why consultants are for, and you can get your business plan consulting from a good consultant, but most aspiring entrepreneurs I know cannot afford one (by the way, good luck getting a quote for less than $100k from McKinskey & Co. or their peers), so what do they do? They go with generic tips and internet templates, do a bad job because every business is unique and the templates don’t do the work for you, and usually fail.Although there are more than enough consultants, some very good, who would do the business plan for you, or with you, there is a real shortage of quick evaluation services, like having your business plan reviewed and by a person who have been in your shoes and succeeded.

B: So what do you do if you’re an entrepreneur, you don’t have any money or connections and still want validation on your business plan?

S: Well, the first advice for an entrepreneur without any peers to benchmark with would be: increase your network. Go to entrepreneurship events, subscribe to entrepreneurship groups on LinkedIn, find meetups, because clearly – your network is lacking these crucial members.Second is, when you do find an entrepreneur who is willing to help, try to arrange a meeting with them and be very specific – focus on a dilemma that’s bothering you or a market niche you’re keen on marketing to. That way you’ll be effective and you’ll signal to the helping entrepreneur that your idea is pragmatic and focused.

B: What do you do when you’re on the end of the table that’s giving the advice? What are you looking for in business plans that you think stand a chance?

S: There’s a bunch of stuff. To go over them would take me a day more or less, so in a meeting I’ll try to focus on the one or two most important issue, for example:Checking whether the entrepreneur had correctly assessed the need for the product/service, and if they didn’t – what they should do in order to present a convincing need that will attract investors

Checking whether there are any technological/feasibility/marketing/other issues that may seriously conflict or hinder your chances to succeed with the entrepreneur’s idea

Checking whether the entrepreneur had missed some obvious drivers or barriers

Checking whether competition was analyzed in a satisfactory way, and if not – what should he entrepreneur do in order to present a good picture of the competition

Seeing whether he entrepreneur’s offering is truly differentiated from the competition, and if not – I will advise on the direction he entrepreneur should take in order to do so.

B: Are there things you will not do?

S: Yes. I’d probably not go over the financial calculations or the market research method, and of course – phrasing or other presentation techniques. Actually, bad grammar, ugly presentation, use of bad English etc – if it’s too excessive, of course, not the occasional typo here and there – actually bring me down. It is depressing to evaluate a presentation where it feels like the entrepreneur has done a poor presentation job, or just didn’t try that hard.

How to Write a Small Business Plan

The first thing to do when starting a small business is to write a plan for your business, it is very essential and useful if you really want to focus yourself and get a whole picture of what you have to do in order to build your enterprise. A business plan is the road map for the success of your business

What do you have to offer?

What are your products or what are your intended products? What are your products or services? What kind of income will these activities be generating or what is the expected range of income once the products are launched? Give answers to these questions giving a complete picture of the principal activity that you are engaged in or will be engaged in during the timeline of your business plan.

Where are you located?

Do you work from home or do you have a business premises? If you have a business location such as a store or factory, then explain about the size and capacity of this establishment. What is the business climate like in your area? Are there significant competitors and what are your prospects or advantages of competing in this market? Find answers to all these questions as best you can and give yourself and would-be investors a clear picture of where your business is situated geographically and with relation to your overall market.

How to make it happen?

Your sales and marketing research or plan should be outlined in this section. Explain how you intend to establish your product or service and what steps you will take to create or expand your customer base. How will you fund the start-up cost and the expansion of your business? Explain the source of your funds whether you have existing loans, your savings, borrowing from friends or liabilities. How much money do you need to raise in order to get realize your entire plan for the launching or expansion of your business? Explain how you are going to put your business idea into practice.

Having a good business plan is your key to success. A well-thought-out business plan forces you to think about the future and the challenges you will be facing. As long as your forecasts are realistic and you have done plenty of market research you will definitely come out with a good result. Go ahead with your plan and stick to it.

Business Plans For Entrepreneurs

Few areas of business attract as much attention as entrepreneurship, and few aspects of entrepreneurship attract as much attention as a business plan. Increasingly, business plan competitions are springing up across the world, partly helped by the marketing gimmicks of business schools. Indeed, judging by all the hooplas surrounding business plans, you might want to ask yourself what happen to all those eventual winners, many of those MBA graduates would no doubt went on to work in investment banks, drawing huge bonuses managing venture capital and private equity funds rather than taking the uncertain path of entrepreneurship.

Nothing could be further from the truth, in my experiences with the hundreds of entrepreneurial startups, business planning persistently ranked as one of the least important aspects of entrepreneurship. In fact, most wasted too much time and effort on numbers rather than actual implementation and the more elaborately crafted the documents, the more likely the venture would flop. Don’t misunderstood me, business plans are necessary for the eventual entrepreneur to soul search and clarify to himself his actual thought process, address unforeseen issues and to analyze likely market competitions and potential structural changes.

There are plenty of existing business plans templates you can Google on the Internet. On will provide an automatic formula for winning. Rather, business plans are meant to be temporary and subject to changes all the time. There is no need to follow the execution plan step-by-step. Rather, the general strategy should comprise of the following three core of interdependent factors critical to new ventures:

a) People – The people starting and running the startups. Without the right people, nothing else really matters. “I invest in people, not ideas”, is the famous saying of Arthur Rock, a legendary venture capitalist associated with the likes of Apple and Intel. The men and women involved should also include third parties providing key support and resources to the venture.

b) Business Profile – The profile of the business itself. Selling the right thing is a battle half-won. These include questions like who will be the expected buyers, how fast can the business grow and what factors stand in the way. The business owners need to be specific on where the source of income is going to come from.

c) The Big Picture – Social and technological evolution that are beyond the control of any entrepreneurs. Imaging trying to sell pagers 10 years ago. For this particular factor, would entrepreneurs must prepare to eventually cut their loss and stopped their businesses or switched to another products and services should situations changed. Many successful ventures adapted to new market environment and were in very different lines when they first started. This is also where a shift in market environment can turn an unattractive idea into a highly profitable ones.

Good business planning is like a video show into the future, and discuss people, business profile and the big picture as a moving target. Be prepared to tear up the original plan and go back to re-write it as you move on.

Promotional Products for Travel and Leisure

Choosing promotional products can be tricky for your business. The key however, is to make them as relevant to your business as possible. The next step would be to personalise them to make them not only attractive, but also to define them as representing your company. This can be achieved with a range of printing and design work, aimed to market the product to your target audience.

If your business is involved in the travel and leisure industry, then it goes without saying that you should be searching for relevant products. Thankfully, the market is awash with all kinds of promotional products geared up for every line of industry, large or small.

Travel and leisure encompasses a vast array of products, so you will certainly not be lacking for choice. The one problem will be selecting individual products from such a large list. Even so, having such a range can only be a positive thing.

If your business caters for a type of sport, then you’ll find an excellent amount of products and will be pleasantly surprised by what you can make your own and personalise. Just for golf alone, you can purchase tees, golf balls, gloves, ball markers, club covers, pencils, caps, socks and more still.

Other fantastic options in terms of more general travel and leisure would be luggage tags, bank card holders, travel toothbrush, drawstring bags, beach balls, water bottles, travel games, first aid kits, pool inflatables, travel cushions and pocket fans. The list just goes on and on. Take bottles for instance – this is a single item but one that has a hundred variants, shapes, colours and sizes. It is some task to narrow it down to one particular item, but one that will be worth it in the long run.

The vast amount of goods available out there for travel and leisure makes it a very competitive market and so choose wisely before you buy and not act on impulses alone. The cost varies greatly between each item and you want to try and get the best value for money as possible, without losing too much in terms of quality.

By using the best travel and leisure promotional products, displaying them well and having them printed with your company details, you stand a great chance for a successful campaign. Products like those described are a fantastic marketing tool for getting the word out there about your business.

The Best Deals of Travel and Leisure Magazine

Constant travelers who want to score the best deals in every continent that they step into should never do without a copy of travel and leisure magazine. This magazine which is well known as travel + leisure magazine provides the A lists of the best hotels, restaurants, wellness clubs, cruise ships, events and festivals, resorts and beaches, food and drinks, and other significant facts that are essential to the well-being of one’s travel itinerary. The travel and leisure magazine is a top rated, professional travel companion that would make sure you do not lose your way in every travel decision that you make.

The travel and leisure magazine used to be a compiled journal of travel photographs which placed emphasis on leisure travel and often features contributions from novelists, poets, travel columnists, artists, and avid travelers who are eager to share their acquired wisdom and serve as a helpful guide especially for those who are still neophyte in the realm of travel. The magazine publishes in a monthly basis and has several international editions such as China, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, and South East Asia though most of them were already defunct.

The magazine is famous for their World’s Best Awards which is announced every August and has been practiced since 1995. This is an award body created on a basis of an annual survey from magazine readers who gave out their quantitative rating of world’s best travel destination and accommodation. For the 2010’s survey of the World’s Best Awards, the travel and leisure magazine offers a chance to those who will take the survey of winning a $10,000 dream trip. This award has various categories namely hotels, islands, cities, airlines and cruises, wellness and spas and business hotels. These categories are featured on all continents that the travel and leisure magazine encompass such as US and Canada, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, Europe, Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific. Last 2009, the Bushman’s Kloof atop the Cedarberg Mountains in Western Cape, South Africa emerged as the record holder of the number one spot in the survey with an overall score of 98.67.

Aside from the World’s Best Awards, the travel and leisure magazine also has what they call T+L 500 Best Hotels and America’s Favorite Cities where subscribers and magazine readers rank cities in the U.S. based on several categories. The categories are very informative because it covers almost all the things that one needs to know in famous cities such as their culture, hotels, nightlife, shopping malls, food and dining places, and airports.

The travel and leisure magazine also provides educational articles that are full of ideas not just about traveling but also informative discussions such as books and movies, charity programs, sports and fitness, gadgets, arts and culture, and basic photography lessons.

For those who are interested in subscribing to the travel and leisure magazine, the publication is giving out two risk-free issues of the magazine.

Use a Travel and Leisure Magazine to Plan Your Getaway

Whether you are looking to find a romantic weekend for two or a week long getaway for the whole family, a travel and leisure mag can make your planning easier. You can find recommendations for destinations and hotels in the area, a list of things to do, and reviews on lodging, restaurants, and attractions. In addition, you can usually find special offers available only to the readers of the travel and leisure mag that can save you some serious money.

You can read your travel and leisure mag online, or purchase a copy at your local newsstand. Either way, you will find fascinating articles and a wealth of information. Many sponsor contests for the readers of their travel and leisure mag, so you just might win the trip you’ve been longing to take.

Detailed hotel reviews are to be found at almost every travel and leisure site. You can find out whether they are quiet, clean, and efficient, as well as whether they have restaurants or clubs on the premises. Any other services, such as valet parking, turn down service, concierge, and currency exchange will also be provided by the travel and leisure mag.

One of the best sources for information on cruises is a travel and leisure mag. You will discover which lines or ships provide the most activities for children and which ones are planned for adults. You can also find out whether cruises are planned for singles, couples wishing to take a second honeymoon, or the entire family from Grandma to toddler. Often, you can find discount coupons at a travel and leisure magazine online site that will make your cruise even more affordable.

A travel and leisure magazine can also provide recommendations for destinations that may not have been on your list, but are exactly what you are seeking. Perhaps you want to find a beach resort that is off the beaten track, affordable, and far from the crush of civilization. Browsing a travel and leisure mag may be able to provide you with a list of several destinations that fit the bill.

Even if your travel plans are many years in the future, you can still use a travel and leisure mag to plan the vacation you will someday take. Anticipation is half the fun, anyway, and a vacation that you take only in your imagination still offers some benefit to your psyche.

A travel and leisure mag is practically an essential for couples planning a honeymoon. Together they can search for potential destinations and select one with features of interest to both. They can compare hotel rates and amenities, learn how to reach their destination, and perhaps find discounts to make their honeymoon even more special.

You can also use a travel and leisure mag to plan a day trip for the entire family. Almost everyone has state or national parks, amusement parks, or museums within a few hours’ drive. The magazine will provide with information on location, hours of operation, cost, and what is offered. That way, you will know in advance what to expect when you take your crew out for the day or weekend.

Travel and Leisure Hotels to Fit Your Budget

When it is time to plan a vacation or a weekend trip, you may need to find travel and leisure hotels that will work with your budget. You also want to find choices that offer the amenities you need and the location you want.

The Internet is a good place to locate travel and leisure hotels. Many travel sites offer an excellent starting point, although few have enough information available to make your final decision. However, you can find the names of the travel and leisure hotels that meet your minimum requirements and then visit their home pages individually.

Start by answering why you need to find travel and leisure hotels and for whom. Are you traveling for business or taking a romantic vacation? Who will be in the party? Will it be adults only, or will children be included? If children are going, what are their ages? Will you need child care services? Do you plan to rent a car or walk to local attractions? Once you have defined why you are looking for travel and leisure hotels and who will comprise the party, you can start looking for travel and leisure hotels that will fit those needs.

As you find hotels that might suit your requirements, map out their locations in relation to other attractions you want to visit. Travel and leisure hotels with a slightly higher daily rate may not be the best option if everything else is on the opposite side of a large city, since taxi fares will quickly exceed any savings.

Investigate all amenities offered by all the different hotels. If you work out daily, you might want to find one with a free gym for guests. Perhaps you want a hotel with an indoor pool for taking the children for a swim. You might want to limit your potential travel and leisure hotels to those with 24 hour room service, particularly if you are planning a second honeymoon or romantic weekend. Or if you are traveling on business, you might need on-site cleaning and laundry service.

Certain individuals with health needs may need travel and leisure hotels with specific amenities. For example, those who need to keep insulin refrigerated would probably prefer a room with a mini-fridge. Those with breathing problems might prefer a room on a lower floor just in case there is a power failure or other emergency requiring the use of stairs.

Perhaps you want to narrow your search for hotels to only those with onsite restaurants. This can save time and make it easier when traveling with a large party, since people can eat when they want and there is no need to try to coordinate a meal time for a group.

Once you have a list of hotels that seem like suitable candidates, you can check further on things like cancellation policies, check-in and check-out times and procedures, and parking availability. You may also want to know if there is a club, spa, or convenience store onsite.

With just a little research, you will no doubt find many travel and leisure hotels that interest you. By finding the one with the most qualities you desire, you will make sure that you and everyone traveling with you will have the best trip possible.