Corpcentre's Blog

April 28, 2010

Business Plan: Change As Needed

A business plan is a vital management tool. It allows you to create a road map of your business and look ahead while, at the same time, plot the necessary steps to achieve your goals. However, paraphrasing the poet Robert Burns, the best laid plans of mice and men often go askew. How true in business.

The world has learned much from the recent recession. One of the more important business lessons that the recession has taught us is that nothing is guaranteed. How many of us watched as financial giants, titans of the business world, tumbled like a house of cards? Who would have envisioned the swift changes that changed the way we live, not over a generation but over the course of a year or two?

Change is the key. The businesses that best survived the recession were those that understood the necessity of change. A business plan is not set in stone. Rather, as a useful management tool, it should not be allowed to gather dust. Just the opposite. It should be, and can be, changed. Business, like life itself, is a rollercoaster. Even if some of the ride is scary, you can’t get off in the middle. You need to be flexible and allow yourself to adapt to new situations.

If you see a new business opportunity, change your business plan to incorporate it. Allow yourself the flexibility to explore new options. Don’t be afraid to try new ideas. Sometimes, even bad situations can create new opportunities. If your plan went awry when the markets went in a different direction, turn everything around to incorporate the new reality. You may wake up one day and realize that your goals are no longer attainable. Don’t try to change the world to meet your goals. Change your goals to accommodate the world. The most successful entrepreneurs have learned that opportunities present themselves and the winners are those who seize those opportunities. Always use the situation at hand to your best advantage.

Try business plan software to help you get organized!

Incorporate in Canada with CorporationCentre.ca
Click. You’re incorporated ®

April 7, 2010

Tips for Business Financing

The bottom line is that most businesses need some type of financing, if you don’t have enough personal capital. There are numerous options available in today’s market. Before borrowing from any source, conduct thorough research to learn how much the loan will actually cost and if that is the best option for you.

Before you approach any type of lender, you will need to prepare or update your business plan. Every lender needs to be convinced that you have the ability to repay the loan. A well written, detailed professional business plan will demonstrate to the lender that your business will indeed generate profits to enable repayment.

In some cases, a lender may require more collateral than the business can offer. The business may seem to have potential but the actual projected profits are slightly questionable. You may be asked to put up personal assets (car, home, personal investments) as additional collateral for your business loan.

Keep in mind that lending money is based on assessing risk and return. You may seem like a terrific person but that will only get you through the pleasantries of meeting with the lender. Getting down to the issues, the lender is in the business of lending money and making a profit from that loan. Therefore, you will have to demonstrate that your business does not present a risk and, moreover, that the loan will be guaranteed and will yield the return that the lender is interested in earning. Anything less than meeting the lender’s expectations may result in not securing the loan or investment.

As a business loan or investment can be quite complex, and there are various tax issues to be concerned with, both personal and business; so it is most advisable to discuss all your options with your personal tax advisor. Although your business may need an immediate influx of cash, take the time to examine and consider the best options for your needs.

Incorporate in Canada with CorporationCentre.ca
Click. You’re incorporated ®

March 29, 2010

What Should Go in My Business Plan?

A good business plan is more than merely a document. It is a carefully designed outline of your business, a veritable blueprint that accurately describes your business and all its components. Business plans differ in length and detail, depending on the nature of the business. However, there are certain basic elements that a good business plan should contain.

Begin with the Executive Summary. Many consider this to be the most important section of the plan. It provides an overview of the key points of the business. It should contain highlights from all sections of the plan and should be written in an interesting, concise manner, not to exceed two pages. Often, the reader will only read this section. If it doesn’t grab the reader’s attention, they may not go further.

Follow this with a detailed description of the business opportunity. In simple language, describe what this business will do and why it should succeed. Why are you the right person for this business? What is your vision?

You have done your market research. Put the results into a detailed marketing plan. This section of the plan should demonstrate how you plan to enter the market. How do you plan to promote your business? What are your pricing and sales strategies? How large is your potential customer base and how do you identify them?

Build an organizational chart. Describe the key members of your team and what will be their roles. Include the qualifications of the leading managers, including you. This section should clearly convince the reader that this business will have the team to make it happen.

Follow the organizational chart with a description of the operational requirements. How will the business operate? What are the physical requirements? What types of technology will be employed in the daily operations?

Now comes the number crunching. The financial section should contain a detailed outline of your financial forecast for the first three to five years. The first year should be far more detailed. An investor should see that you truly understand the business. This section should contain cash flow statements, profit and loss forecasts, and sales projections.

Remember that the language of a business plan should be directed to an outsider. Make the plan realistic and believable. Invest your time in preparation as this document may be the key to launching your business.

More help on setting up a business plan

Incorporate in Canada with CorporationCentre.ca
Click. You’re incorporated ®

March 25, 2010

Do I Need a Business Plan?

A business plan sounds like a complex study. In some cases, it may be. But, the question is asked if every business truly requires a business plan?

The answer to that question is “yes”, more often than not. A viable business, rather small or large, should make use of a well-designed business plan at some point in time.

Starting at the time when the business is still but an idea, a business plan is an excellent way to organize ideas. It allows you to create a filing system in which the various cogs and wheels begin to come together into a working machine. Long before you begin actually getting the idea off the ground, your business plan allows you to draw a picture of your idea – so to speak – and stand back to take a look if there are any mistakes or problems. Also, none of us are perfect. Especially if we are dealing with a complex idea such as a new business, it is best to have others review our concepts. Your business plan is an excellent way to allow others to help you develop your thoughts and use their feedback to improve what you have begun.

As your business begins taking shape, you will need the business plan to help interest possible investors. Your bank may wish to see the plan when you begin discussing credit with them. Perhaps you have decided to take in a partner. The business plan will be dissected at your meeting. The business plan is the blueprint of your business. It should accurately describe the concept. It will discuss the goals, milestones, financing, cash flow, staffing, and virtually every aspect of your business. It is the theoretical side of the entity. Also, a good business plan should be updated as the business begins operating, especially in relation to financial projections.

Invest the time to write a proper business plan. It is an investment that will have a guaranteed positive return.

Here is some business plan software to get you started.

Incorporate in Canada with CorporationCentre.ca
Click. You’re incorporated ®

December 9, 2009

Canada Goes Self-Employed

The truth is out. The latest trend in the business world is self-employment.
 
The recent recession has manifested itself in many ways across the nation. For many Canadians who found themselves unemployed as a result of cutbacks, downsizing, etc., the choice was despair or repair. The former meant waiting until something new comes along. The latter meant channeling one’s talent and energy into a new venture as one’s own boss. Statistics Canada revealed some fascinating employment figures. In April of this year,some 36,000 new full time jobs were created across the country. Nearly all these jobs were from self-employed Canadians. Overall, this translates into one in six Canadians being self employed.
 
Of course, becoming self employed is easier said than done. The process requires a large measure of self determination to make your idea work. In addition, self discipline is required in no small measure.
 
It may seem like a great convenience to get up in the morning and already be at work, if you’re working from home. The danger is as great as the convenience. Experts have offered various tips to help you along.
 
It is imperative to make a distinct separation between work and home lives. Temptation to get distracted with household issues is very easy. Making your business succeed requires utmost full time concentration. If you wouldn’t run out for milk and the cleaning at your old job, don’t do it now.
 
Remember that you used to go to work at an office? Set up a distinct office at home and go there in the morning. Keep regular hours at your office. Get dressed for work in the morning.
 
These are but a few steps in maintaining a work ethic that will enable you to focus on the task at hand; launching a successful new job with an extremely determined boss – you!

Incorporate in Canada with CorporationCentre.ca
Click. You’re incorporated ®
 

December 3, 2009

Focus On One Thing

It sounds like instructions that you might give to a photography student or a line that you might hear during an optometrist’s visit. But, it is also the credo of many business entrepreneurs. The secret of success of great companies is to do one thing very well. It is far too easy to go off on several tangents and try to “be number one” in a few ways. But, the business leaders who have made their way to the top will tell the same story. Concentrate your energies on one area and focus your attention in that one direction.
 
For example, sales are crucial to business. But, are great salespeople born or made? Some do have an inherent talent to sell. However, some companies have put their energies into strong sales training. This is a proven investment as salespeople no longer shoot from the hip. Rather, they become part of the sales force that drives the company forward. You focus on building the sales team, complete with team spirit.
 
Apropos team spirit, that may be the area requiring your attention. Employee retention is crucial in the business world. A constant turnover of staff will definitely have a negative impact. A key strategy employed by many experienced employers is to find ways to create an environment that makes employees desire to come to work. The answer is not always money. Making employees an active part of the company is valued highly. Employees’ opinions do count. Chances are very good that your staff has terrific ideas about improving the company and its sales. Provide incentives but allow employees to be part of that incentive process. The sense of belonging creates the driving spirit so that everyone is part of the big picture.
 
Think of business success like an arrow. It propels forward only when the point is out front.

Incorporate in Canada with CorporationCentre.ca
Click. You’re incorporated ®
 

October 28, 2009

Starting a Small Business Survey: 12% to Establish Internet Enterprises

Starting and owning a small business appears to be the aspiration of many Canadians, according to the findings of a poll conducted for the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC).

Over the next several years, some 3.3 million Canadians intend to start their own business. Moreover, the survey found that there appears to be a change in preferred industry focus of would-be entrepreneurs. The desire to open a retail business dropped by 2 per cent from previous surveys; personal services and arts also dropped by 2 percent; and business services/consultancies dropped by 3 percent. The top industries of choice appear to be Internet related businesses. Nearly 12 percent of those interviewed plan to establish an online enterprise.

The RBC survey also rated advice by veteran entrepreneurs for newcomers to the business world. The top piece of advice was to do thorough research before setting up shop. Know exactly what you’re getting into. Learn about your competition and be realistic about what share of the market you can capture.

Other pieces of popular advice of what to do before opening a new business included preparing a detailed business plan, networking with others in the field, allocating time and resources for marketing, surveying potential customers, and selecting the best site for the new enterprise.

The survey revealed that 61 percent of Canadian business owners are satisfied with the way they opened their business and would not change a thing, if they had to start over. More than 60 percent felt that, looking back, they probably should have started at a younger age. 58 percent of those surveyed felt that it would have been beneficial to get more financial advice at the onset.
 
Incorporate in Canada with CorporationCentre.ca
Click. You’re incorporated ®

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.