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Dr. Steve Gedeon of Ryerson University discusses how the process of writing a business plan forces an entrepreneur to asses if there are any inconsistencies in the plan. How business plans can provide a road map of your thinking which can be used to improve your business model when something goes wrong. Finally, the various reasons why you need to write a business plan are discussed. Visit StartMeUpRyerson.com for more resources to help turn your ideas into reality.
Dr. Steve Gedeon of Ryerson University discusses why it is so important to avoid using big, unfocused market share numbers in your Business Plan, why you should focus on how your addressable market size and why you must strive for realistic numbers in your go to market strategy. Visit StartMeUpRyerson.com for more resources to help turn your ideas into reality
Every wholesale, retail, and/or service business can benefit from the preparation of a carefully written business plan. There are two main purposes for writing that plan. There is an additional benefit if you do business internationally.
Business Plan Outline
The following pages provide a suggested outline of the material to be included in your business plan. Your final plan may vary according to your specific needs or individual requirements of your lender or investor.
Note: Write the executive summary after you have completed your business plan. It is a summary.
Putting Your Plan Together
When You Are Finished: Your Business Plan should look professional, but the potential lender or investor needs to know that it was done by you. A business plan will be the best indicator that can be used to judge your potential for success. It should be no more than 30 to 40 pages in length, excluding supporting documents.
If you are seeking a lender or investor: Include only the supporting documents that will be of immediate interest to the person examining your plan. Keep the others with your own copy where they will be available on short notice. Have your plan neatly bound at your local print shop or in blue, black or brown covers purchased from the stationery store. Make copies for each lender or investor you wish to approach. Do not give out too many copies at once, and keep track of each copy. If you are turned down for financing, be sure to retrieve your business plan.
Keep Your Business Plan Up-to-Date!!!
Your business plan will be beneficial only if you update it frequently to reflect what is happening within your business. Measure your projections against what actually happens in your company. Use the results to analyze the effectiveness of your operation. You can then implement changes that will give you a competitive edge and make your business more profitable.
Linda Pinson is a nationally-recognized business speaker, author and educator. She is the owner of Out of Your Mind...and Into the Marketplace™, publisher of educational "how-to" books and software for new and established businesses. Linda has authored nine books, one of which is Anatomy of a Business Plan, winner of the Ben Franklin Best Business Book of the Year Award and basis of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Publication, How to Write a Business Plan. She is also the developer of Automate Your Business Plan 2011 for Windows® XP, Vista, and Windows® 7. Her books are in libraries and bookstores throughout the U.S. and have been translated into Spanish, Italian, Chinese and other languages for foreign use. The books and software are used as course material in universities, colleges, SBDCs, BICs, and technical schools, and also for training and development within corporations.
Copyright © 1996-2011 Linda Pinson Out of Your Mind...and Into the Marketplace, 13381 White Sand Drive, Tustin, CA 92780
From Kelley Robertson
Most people have read the Dr. Seuss tale "Green Eggs & Ham", either as kids or to their children. What is interesting is the relevance this story has to selling. Learn the secrets of Dr. Seuss's selling technique and build your sales.
"I am Sam. Sam I am. Do you like green eggs and ham? Would you like them here or there? Would you like them in a box, would you like them with a fox?"
3-Step Selling Technique From Dr. Seuss
1. Sam is selling a product and although his prospect is not initially interested, Sam doesn't let that deter him from asking.
2. Sam consistently offers the prospect a choice when trying to close the sale.
3. He refuses to give up. No matter how many times his prospect says "no", Sam keeps offering alternatives. He offers fourteen options before finally closing the sale.
I am not suggesting that you pester your customers but most people give up too early in the sales process. We hear a few "no's" and decide to turn our attention elsewhere. It is your responsibility as a business owner to ask the customer to make a decision - you cannot expect a customer to do the work for you.
If you have been effective in learning about their specific needs and presented the appropriate solution to your prospect then you have earned the right to ask them for the sale. Here are a few selling techniques that will help you reach this point:
Use Polite Persistence: Take a lesson from Sam and learn the importance of polite persistence. The most successful sales people ask for the sale seven or eight times and don't give up at the first sign of resistance. Research has shown that these individuals consistently earn more than their coworkers and peers.
Use these selling techniques and you are sure to win like Sam I Am.
Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of The Grameen Bank, explains his "social business" model, a plan for addressing social issues through entrepreneurship. This program was recorded in joint collaboration with the Commonwealth Club of California and Link TV. ---- Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of The Grameen Bank, speaks about his new book Creating a World Without Poverty. Muhammad Yunus is founder and managing director of the Grameen Bank, established in Bangladesh in 1983. Dr. Yunus founded the bank with the objective of helping poor people escape from poverty by providing loans on terms suitable to them and by teaching them a few sound principles of finances so they can help themselves. The Grameen Bank has advanced to the forefront of a burgeoning world movement toward eradicating poverty through micro-lending and its model has been replicated in over 100 countries worldwide. In 2006, Dr. Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the Bank.
The Art Of The Business Pitch
Mary Crane, 04.12.07, 3:00 PM ET
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I am trying to raise money for a great business idea. How can I put some pizazz in my pitch?
It's not so much what goes into a pitch that makes it good, but what doesn't. Whether you're pitching to friends, investors, angels or venture capitalists, the cardinal rules remain the same: Be brief and be clear.
"A good pitch is a short pitch," says Wil Schroter, CEO of the Go BIG Network, which matches start-ups with investors and job-seekers online. After the first few sentences, he says, "it's all downhill, and downhill fast, if the investor gets the sense you're not getting to the point or you have no point."
Video: Your 30-Second Spiel
Go BIG Network receives scads of pitches from entrepreneurs every day, says Schroter, but too few clearly say who they are and what their business does. "Investors respond to pragmatic, specific information," he says. "If you can articulate in two sentences the problem and the solution, you've nailed it."
Patrick Ennis, managing director at early-stage investing firm ARCH Venture Partners, says he often has to skim through 10 or 15 pages before figuring out what a pitch is about. "Tell me what you are doing in the first few minutes--something simple like: 'We make software that we sell to businesses to improve their inventory management,'" he says. "Even a 13-year-old can understand that."
Tailor pitches to the occasion, says Ennis. First, there's the 30-second pitch, where the only goal is to grab someone's attention with your idea so they will give you five more minutes. The five-minute pitch offers just enough time to rattle off a rough outline of your idea so that you will get an hour. The hour-long pitch is all about details--the business model, the product and the management team.
While brevity is always important, don't skimp on industry analysis, says Ennis. If your longer presentation doesn't have a slide or two on what you're up against, "funders will assume you're unaware of your competitors."
Not a good public speaker? Practice. If that doesn't work and you're still quaking in your loafers, have someone else give the presentation. "Investors want to see confidence, but not every entrepreneur with a good idea is confident," warns Schroter.
Finally, pay attention to detail. Contact information should be easy to find--don't make a potential benefactor root around for a phone number. If you plan to e-mail any Microsoft (nasdaq: MSFT - news - people ) Word or PDF files, use the name of your company in the file name, says Ennis. Something simply called "executive summary" will end up in the trash.