business plan http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/6103/all en-US 6 Reasons Your Great Startup Business Is Doomed http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-your-great-startup-business-is-doomed <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-reasons-your-great-startup-business-is-doomed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/8411025404_fee3bbdd24_z.jpg" alt="empty office" title="empty office" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are many people who have great ideas and the spurt of ambition to pursue their dream of <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/4-lies-business-owners-tell-themselves">working for themselves</a>. Unfortunately, many of these same people have also gone bust &mdash; even before getting their business up and running. If you have been toying with the idea of starting your own venture, you should take time to evaluate what you think running a startup is really like, and what it means to be in business for yourself. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/freelancing-a-beginner-s-guide-to-doing-it-right">Freelancing:&nbsp;A Beginner's Guide to&nbsp;Doing It Right</a>)</p> <h2>1. You Think You Can Bootstrap It</h2> <p>There are many that go into a business idea without a dime to their name, utterly convinced they were going to make it big. Before telling your boss to take your job and shove it, you should really work through the realities. No matter what your business idea is, there will be overhead expenses to be covered until your business makes money, which can take years to happen. Consider working fulltime for a paycheck until you can truly stabilize your side business.</p> <h2>2. You Don't Believe in Business Plans</h2> <p>As a writer, I&rsquo;ve been asked to create a lot of different types of material. To date, my least favorite inquiry was from a couple who wanted me to write their business plan.</p> <p>At first I thought they meant &quot;rewrite&quot; their plan into something more professional. What they actually meant was for me to create a business plan for their proposed trucking company. This couple had not a single clue about what it would take to get the business up and running. They had absolutely no idea how to deal with the immediate future of their company let alone the long-term vision or profitability.</p> <p>Whether or not you plan to seek the financial assistance of investors, you need to work through a business plan. If you cannot answer the questions common in every business plan, do not open for business until you can answer those questions clearly and confidently.</p> <h2>3. You Are All Talk</h2> <p>Again, in my line of work, I deal with a lot of startup companies looking to cement their presence on the Internet. There are some who will ask for 20 quotes for web content and in the end never do anything about it. It&rsquo;s one thing to feel excitement about a business idea, but if you are unable to see the project through to completion, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-business-lessons-i-learned-the-hard-way">starting your own business</a> may not be the best move for you.</p> <h2>4. You Cannot Follow Through</h2> <p>There are some people that are so full of ideas but rarely does one stick around long enough to see it through. Jumping from one idea to the next can be dangerous, especially if you are putting forth your hard earned money for something that is going nowhere. Sort through your ideas in writing and sit with them for a while to see if any stick. Then consider pursuing that idea.</p> <h2>5. You Don't Understand the Business</h2> <p>There are some businesses that fail right off the bat because people fantasize about what the business would be like rather than researching the realities. For example, opening a bakery may look great on television, but it would be to your advantage to really see what it is like on a day to day basis. You should make an effort to talk to owners of businesses you are interested in starting for yourself and find out what really happens. You can even shadow a few business owners for real life experience.</p> <h2>6. You Rely on Others to Do the Hard Work</h2> <p>As a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/7-tips-for-small-business-success-in-troubled-times">business owner</a> getting ready to launch a startup, it is important to realize just how much of the actual work falls on your shoulders. You wear many hats, especially during the first few years when paid help may not be a viable option. You have to be committed to doing all of the hard work and seeing it through or you will be closing the doors soon after they open.</p> <p>You also need to really consider your target audience. If you are planning to open a jewelry business and think having only your friends and family as customers will keep you afloat, you may want to reconsider your business plans and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-money-making-hobbies">keep your jewelry-making skills as a favorite hobby</a>.</p> <p>Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. Surely there are things that can only be learned through trial and error, but when you are investing your own time and money, you may not be able to afford too many errors. Do your research, complete a full business plan if only for your own benefit, and really consider the pros and cons of what you are venturing into.</p> <p><em>Have you gotten your startup business through the difficult first few years? What do you know now that you didn't know then?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tisha-tolar">Tisha Tolar</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-your-great-startup-business-is-doomed">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-biggest-mistakes-freelancers-make">The 5 Biggest Mistakes Freelancers Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/business-plan-basics">Business Plan Basics</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-small-business-pitfalls-and-how-to-avoid-them-part-two">6 Small Business Pitfalls, and How to Avoid Them: PART TWO</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-two">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Two</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-pumpkin-lady-s-secret-to-business-success">My Pumpkin Lady’s Secret to Business Success</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship business plan marketing startup business Wed, 27 Mar 2013 09:48:32 +0000 Tisha Tolar 971377 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Write a Business Plan http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-write-a-business-plan <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/how-to-write-a-small-business-plan" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/how-to-write-a-small-b...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/how-to-write-a-business-plan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000004470299Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>&ldquo;It's not the plan that is important, it's the planning.&rdquo; &ndash; Dr. Graeme Edwards</em></p> <p>Going through the process of writing a well thought out business plan is one of the most important things that you can do to ensure the success of your business.</p> <p>Unfortunately, many business owners find this process to be difficult and confusing, in part because they are focused on the end product and not on the process of getting there. It&rsquo;s a journey, not a destination!</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve found that it is helpful to break the planning process down into separate topics, and then look at how they fit together in the overall plan. It&rsquo;s also a good idea to think of yourself as an investor in your business (which, of course, you are) and review what you come up with from that point of view.<strong><br /> </strong></p> <p>Here are the planning topics that I believe are important, presented in the order in which you should approach them.</p> <p><strong>The Problem and the Opportunity</strong></p> <p>There has to be a current problem (need) and the solution your business is providing.</p> <ul> <li>Who is the customer? What is their problem?</li> <li>What is your solution?</li> <li>Why is it better than other solutions on the market?</li> <li>What&rsquo;s the market opportunity?</li> </ul> <p><strong>Business Model</strong></p> <p>Your <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/the-7-best-business-models-for-increasing-the-value-of-your-company-john-warrillow">business model</a> is how the business turns an idea into money. A typical example of a business model is &ldquo;the razor and the razor blade.&rdquo; Razor companies sell razors inexpensively, because what they really want to sell you are the razor blades now and in the future.</p> <ul> <li>What is your unique business model?</li> <li>What makes it special? Why are you different from the competition?</li> <li>Do you have intellectual property that gives you an advantage?</li> </ul> <p><strong>Competitive Market Analysis</strong></p> <p>Good market research is the key to a solid business plan.</p> <ul> <li>Who are your competitors?</li> <li>What do they do better than you do?</li> <li>How will your business be able to take a piece of their market?</li> <li>In this section you will also need to address the market pricing of your product.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Marketing and Sales Strategy</strong></p> <p>Be specific &mdash; design a detailed plan that can be put into action easily and according to your budget.</p> <ul> <li>How do you plan to market your product or service?</li> <li>How will you get the word out and create demand?</li> <li>How will you turn a prospect into a customer?</li> <li>If that doesn&rsquo;t work, what else will you try?</li> </ul> <p><strong>Operational Strategy</strong></p> <p>Describe how you are going to execute your business model and deliver your product or service.</p> <ul> <li>How will you run this business on a day-to-day basis? Who will do what?</li> <li>What operational metrics will you track to ensure that your plan is working out?</li> <li>Clearly address the risks of the business, and how you will deal with them when they arise.</li> <li>Don&rsquo;t forget the external risks that you don&rsquo;t have control over (interest rates, the economy, etc).</li> </ul> <p><strong>The Team</strong></p> <p>Your people are your most important asset!</p> <ul> <li>Include short bios including relevant industry experience in the body of the plan. Include your outside advisors as well as employees.</li> <li>Detailed resumes go in the appendix.</li> <li>Include an organizational chart.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Timeline</strong></p> <p>Successful execution of a plan often depends on timing.</p> <ul> <li>Be specific about when you will be executing the various pieces of the plan. You need this for the financial projections as well.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Financial Goals and Projections</strong></p> <p>A good plan includes 3 to 5 years of financial projections. If you do not have a strong financial background, it&rsquo;s a good idea to get professional assistance with this part of the plan &mdash; it&rsquo;s really important that it be done properly.</p> <ul> <li>Include projected income statements, balance sheets, and statements of cash flow.</li> <li>The projections should include expected investor returns and/or clearly show the repayment of anticipated loans. Include the money you have put into the business in these calculations.</li> <li>The results of the projections should make financial sense in relation to the earlier parts of the plan.</li> </ul> <p><strong>The Executive Summary</strong></p> <p>This should be a one page synopsis of all of the above. This should be written last, but be presented at the front of the published plan.</p> <ul> <li>Why this business? Why Now?</li> <li>Why should an investor (including YOU) put time and money into this venture?</li> <li>Include brief financial highlights.</li> </ul> <p>With these parts in place, you&rsquo;ll have a great roadmap to follow as you manage your business, as well as a document that can be used to obtain financing or investment, communicate with employees, and continue planning for the future.</p> <p>But most importantly, what you learn through the process of putting the plan together about yourself, your team, your idea, your competition, and your business strategy can make all the difference between success and failure. It&rsquo;s one of the best investments of time and effort that you can make.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/joanne-berg">JoAnne Berg</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-write-a-business-plan">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-small-business-pitfalls-and-how-to-avoid-them-part-two">6 Small Business Pitfalls, and How to Avoid Them: PART TWO</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/writing-your-own-business-plan-thrifty-or-foolish">Writing Your Own Business Plan: Thrifty or Foolish?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center business plan business process business strategy financial forecasts small business Thu, 21 Apr 2011 19:34:47 +0000 JoAnne Berg 524225 at http://www.wisebread.com Writing Your Own Business Plan: Thrifty or Foolish? http://www.wisebread.com/writing-your-own-business-plan-thrifty-or-foolish <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/writing-your-own-business-plan-thrifty-or-foolish" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2534924712_9eb2e56ecb.jpg" alt="writing business plan" title="writing business plan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It might sound like an easy task to write your own business plan &mdash; after all, you know what you are planning, right? Unfortunately, it's not really that simple.</p> <p>A business plan is a much more complex document than it sounds. It is an overview of the existing market and how your business will fit into it, including the competitive advantage that will encourage customers to buy from you instead of the competition. It includes a detailed description of your target market and their habits, an analysis of what marketing methods will best reach them, and projected financials for the next few years. All of these things serve not only to help you grow your business and stay on track for the next few years, but also to justify why investors should finance your business venture.</p> <p>Obviously, there is a lot riding on your business plan, so the last thing you want is one that is poorly written or doesn't provide all of the expected information. This doesn't mean you can't do it yourself, however. On the contrary, if you are motivated and detailed enough, you can do the research and write your business plan. But it will take a lot of work. However, there are two instances when you should <em>not</em> write your own business plan.</p> <h3>1. When you will lose money by doing it yourself</h3> <p>At first glance, it would seem that by writing your own business plan, you are saving the money you would spend on hiring someone else to do it. But in business, there is something called an opportunity cost &mdash; that is, the money you are losing by not being available to do something else, in this case the work you would normally do.</p> <p>Learning how to write a business plan for the first time is time consuming and can take you away from your other obligations. If you have not yet started your business, are not accepting any work, and write the business plan in the evenings after you come home from your regular salaried job, you probably aren't losing any potential income by writing the business plan yourself. But if you have already launched the business, and researching and writing your business plan takes you away from clients and work you already have, you could actually be losing money.</p> <p>In order to determine whether the opportunity cost is greater than the amount you will be saving if you don't hire a business plan writer, you will need to estimate how long it will take you to research and write your own business plan. Be generous, since you will also need to account for the learning curve &mdash; you will be learning all this stuff as you go along, and that takes additional time!</p> <p>In order to calculate the opportunity cost, you will need to know approximately how much you net an hour. If you charge by the hour, this is fairly easy to do, but if you quote per project, you will need to estimate how long it takes you to do said project. Don't forget to deduct business expenses for that time, and then multiply your hourly net income by the number of hours you think it will take you to write your business plan. If this amount is greater than what it would cost to hire a business plan writer, you are better off paying someone else to do it for you so that you can keep working!</p> <h3>2. When you can't do as good a job as a professional</h3> <p>It is more difficult to determine whether you can really do the job the way it is supposed to be done, as this is more of an arbitrary decision. There are no calculations that will show you definitively that you will lose money by writing your own business plan</p> <p>For example, you could decide to eliminate the opportunity cost by working on your business plans only in the evening, instead of watching TV. Granted, you wouldn't lose any money that way, but let's say that you work long, hard hours, and as a result, you aren't at the top of your game in the evenings. You are, therefore, only working on your business plan when you are already exhausted, which in turn affects the accuracy of the research and the quality of the finished document.</p> <p>Likewise, let's say that although you own an engineering business and consider yourself a very smart person, writing and marketing aren't exactly your strong suits. In this case, you are probably better off hiring a professional to write your business plan for you. A poorly written business plan can ruin your chances of getting financing, as well as handicap your business in other ways. For instance, incomplete market research could result in failed marketing campaigns, and inaccurate financial projections could lead you to run your business into the ground before even realizing you had a budgeting problem.</p> <p>Recognizing when the quality of your business plan will suffer is a difficult call to make, but that doesn't mean you should ignore these concerns. A poorly researched and written business plan may have lasting repercussions for you and your business. It is much better to spend the money and have it done right from the very beginning.</p> <h3>Should you write your own business plan?</h3> <p>Whether or not it makes financial sense to write your own business plan is different for every person, every situation. Be sure to consider your options carefully, and be honest with yourself about whether this is something you can do. Think also about the potentially hidden financial costs of writing your own business plan. If you are confident that you can do it right and save yourself money at the same time, more power to you &mdash; but be willing to recognize when it's <em>not</em> a good idea, too.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Jason Kay. Jason has written several business plans over the last few years. He started <a href="http://www.budgetbusinessplans.com/">BudgetBusinessPlans.com</a> to provide a single online resource for finding business plan services, software, and samples. Check out these resources for more information about business plans:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.budgetbusinessplans.com/services-reviews/">Business Plan Service Reviews</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.budgetbusinessplans.com/software-reviews/">Reviews of Business Plan Software Programs</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.budgetbusinessplans.com/article/business-plan-outline/">Business Plan Outline</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-kay">Jason Kay</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/writing-your-own-business-plan-thrifty-or-foolish">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-small-business-pitfalls-and-how-to-avoid-them-part-two">6 Small Business Pitfalls, and How to Avoid Them: PART TWO</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-build-business-credit-when-youre-self-employed">5 Ways to Build Business Credit When You&#039;re Self-Employed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship business plan small business Sat, 02 Oct 2010 17:00:06 +0000 Jason Kay 250282 at http://www.wisebread.com How and Why a Business Plan Can Make a Difference http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-and-why-a-business-plan-can-make-a-difference <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/how-and-why-a-business-plan-can-make-a-difference-nora-dunn" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/how-and-why-a-business-pl...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/how-and-why-a-business-plan-can-make-a-difference" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000004338189XSmall.jpg" alt="business plan" title="business plan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="163" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We have all been told that a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/create-a-business-plan-by-answering-4-simple-questions">business plan</a> is required for the business to fly. But how much attention do we really pay to it? And do all business owners really need one? You have <a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;218395891;41475468;y?http://www201.americanexpress.com/sbsapp/FMACServlet?request_type=alternateChannels&amp;lpid=300&amp;openeep=17460&amp;ccsgeep=17460">customers</a>, you have a niche, and you don't need bank funding. You know what you know. Who will even read it? In this article, we will discuss why a business plan is quite often a necessary evil, and then we'll go into the basic mechanics of a business plan.</p> <p><strong>Case Study of Peter and Joe: How you can be on the same starting block together, but run a different race entirely.</strong></p> <p>Peter and Joe are both plumbers. They work together at the same company before deciding they can do better on their own as self-employed professionals. They each have enough contacts and are more than qualified to do a variety of plumbing-related jobs &mdash; both residential and industrial. However despite starting in the same place, their businesses evolve very differently.</p> <h2>Why Peter Fails</h2> <h3>No Forward Planning</h3> <p>Peter likes to fly by the seat of his pants, and runs his business the same way. He figures his casual attitude will be easy for customers to work with.</p> <h3>No Administrative or Business Skills</h3> <p>Peter is not good with computers, <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/accounts-receivable-nightmares-collecting-on-delinquent-accounts-nora-dunn">generating invoices</a>, and analytical tasks (and no effort made to develop or <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/when-to-outsource-for-your-small-business-nora-dunn">outsource</a> them), but he believes he has enough residential contacts who will want plumbing-related jobs and will pay cash that he'll be okay.</p> <h3>No Target Market or Specialization</h3> <p>Despite Peter's preference for working with residential contacts (because they largely pay with cash), he's also incredibly talented with industrial plumbing, so if jobs of that nature come his way, he takes them too. He's basically ready for any and every job that comes his way, rather than deciding to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ramp-up-your-business-by-specializing">specialize</a>. (The problem is that jobs don't seem to come Peter's way.)</p> <h3>No Market Research</h3> <p>Peter has great ideas for new niches of business, but when he throws everything he has at those niches without researching them first, he consistently underestimates the competition or logistical requirements and suffers for it.</p> <h3>No Polished Elevator Speech</h3> <p>Peter's casual attitude doesn't bode as well for his customers as it did when he was just an employee; he doesn't come off as taking his own business seriously. When you ask him what he does for a living, he does no credit to his talents by simply saying something crude about toilets (even when the person asking is an industrial property manager who could potentially be a good customer).</p> <h3>No Purchasing Plan</h3> <p>Peter regularly puts the cart in front of the horse by insisting he needs some new equipment or an elaborate website in order for his business to turn the corner.</p> <h3>No Marketing Plan</h3> <p>Pursuant to the above point, Peter's purchases fail because he can't even identify how to get the necessary clients to pay off the new equipment that put him in the red, or how to attract potential customers to his website and convert them into paying clients.</p> <h3>Peter's Results</h3> <p>So despite the fact that Peter has the initial contacts and ability to generate enough business to support himself, he ends up going broke and asking for his old job back.</p> <h2>Why Joe Succeeds</h2> <h3>Specialization</h3> <p>Although Joe can perform any number of plumbing tasks, he decides to specialize in commercial kitchen work.</p> <h3>Research</h3> <p>Joe researches exactly what his costs will be to get set up with equipment and determines how long it will take to pay it back using industry-based estimates.</p> <h3>Know the Competition</h3> <p>Joe knows the competition, and even takes some time to introduce himself to them (in the hopes that they may provide a referral if they have too much work on their plate, as well as to chat about business in the area for his own research purposes).</p> <h3>Outsourcing</h3> <p>Joe recognizes his weakness for <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/accounts-receivable-nightmares-collecting-on-delinquent-accounts-nora-dunn">accounts receivable</a> and hires a <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/9-tips-for-working-with-a-virtual-assistant-gregory-go">virtual assistant</a> to help him with this and other administrative tasks.</p> <h3>Targeted Marketing</h3> <p>In knowing who his ideal customer is, Joe targets his marketing efforts to them and when asked what he does by a stranger, his &quot;elevator speech&quot; (a 10 second pitch for his business) is polished and concise.</p> <h3>Joe's Results</h3> <p>Joe has a more structured approach to his business and ends up not only supporting himself successfully, but in his second year he revises his business plan and hires employees to help him with the workload and increase his profits.</p> <h2>Business Plan Basics</h2> <p>We have all heard that the business plan is the foundation for every business, and we may try to do one by going through the motions. But until we truly embrace the business plan as our roadmap to entrepreneurial success, we may flounder in a sea of incompetence. Having this roadmap keeps your goals aligned with your progress. It can be easy to survive with a fly by the seat of your pants model, but to truly succeed and grow a real business, you need something to let you know if you've veered off track.</p> <p>Your business plan doesn't have to be over-involved or full of statistics that are meaningless to you. But it should be on paper, and incorporate the following components:</p> <h3>Description of Your Business</h3> <ul type="disc"> <li>What do you do?</li> <li>What is your product or service?</li> <li>How is your business run?</li> </ul> <h3>Industry Outlook</h3> <ul type="disc"> <li>What is your industry?</li> <li>What state is the industry currently in (ie: economics, supply, and demand)?</li> <li>Where is the industry going in the future?</li> <li>Are there any unfilled niches, and if so - how can you fill in those gaps?</li> </ul> <h3>Your Market</h3> <ul type="disc"> <li>Exactly who is your customer?</li> <li>Where do you find them?</li> <li>How does your customer like to shop for your services (ie: how will you market to them)?</li> <li>How are you the perfect candidate for your customers?</li> </ul> <h3>Competitors</h3> <ul type="disc"> <li>Who is your competitor?</li> <li>How much do they charge?</li> <li>How are they regarded in the industry?</li> <li>How are your services (or customers) different from theirs?</li> <li>Can the market bear the increased supply?</li> </ul> <h3>Marketing</h3> <ul type="disc"> <li>Exactly how will you market your services?</li> <li>How much will it cost?</li> <li>How will this help you get new business?</li> <li>What is your return on investment?</li> </ul> <h3>Industry Experience</h3> <p>What is your story? Ultimately it is your personal experience and approach to the business that will determine your success.</p> <h3>Financials</h3> <p>This is where many business plans fall apart at the seams, especially in the first year of development, when most of the numbers are estimates. But as the years roll by, having year-over-year figures are the best barometer for your business. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-read-an-annual-report">Annual financial reports</a> tend to include the following:</p> <ul type="disc"> <li>Profit &amp; Loss Statements</li> <li>Operating Revenue</li> <li>Cash Flow Analysis</li> </ul> <p>Your business plan does not have to be a daunting or insurmountable task, nor a chore to produce. The next crucial step is to review and revise the plan, at least once per year (or more frequently depending on industry changes). With the exception of the financials, much of it can remain similar to previous years.</p> <script type="text/javascript"> federated_media_section = "platinum"; </script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-and-why-a-business-plan-can-make-a-difference">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/writing-your-own-business-plan-thrifty-or-foolish">Writing Your Own Business Plan: Thrifty or Foolish?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-small-business-pitfalls-and-how-to-avoid-them-part-two">6 Small Business Pitfalls, and How to Avoid Them: PART TWO</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center business plan small business Thu, 08 Oct 2009 02:41:10 +0000 Nora Dunn 3663 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Small Business Pitfalls, and How to Avoid Them: PART TWO http://www.wisebread.com/6-small-business-pitfalls-and-how-to-avoid-them-part-two <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-small-business-pitfalls-and-how-to-avoid-them-part-two" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/small business pitfalls part 2.jpg" alt="business land" title="business land" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="333" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText">Welcome back! In the <a href="/6-small-business-pitfalls-and-how-to-avoid-them-part-one" target="_blank">first of this two-part series</a>, we examined the first four of six major small business pitfalls, with tangible strategies on how to avoid them.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">The strategies included:</p> <ul> <li>Get a Jump on the Learning Curve</li> <li>Learn to Delegate</li> <li>Cash is King. So Avoid the Cash Crunch: Buy &amp; Manage Sensibly</li> <li>Don&rsquo;t Forget About Tax!</li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Today, we&rsquo;ll take a look at the remaining two (ultimately the most involved and arguably the most important) strategies for success:</p> <h2 class="MsoPlainText">Collecting on Debts</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">You love your clients. You trust your clients. But you don&rsquo;t know how to aggressively collect on delinquent accounts without damaging the customer relationship. If you don&rsquo;t know how to tactfully and effectively get them to pay you, your business will fail.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Joseph has a busy and incredibly successful small business on the go. He occupies a minor monopoly on the market, and as such has more business than he can handle. But he is experiencing an incredibly hard time even keeping his head above water, much less turning a profit. Why? Because he is so busy actually doing the billable work, and not effective in collecting money from his customers.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Here are a few tips for you to make sure you don&rsquo;t end up in Joseph&rsquo;s predicament:</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Always Invoice</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">It doesn&rsquo;t matter how large or small the amount &ndash; issue an invoice. Nobody wins when you waive off small billable amounts, or say you&rsquo;ll tag it on to the next bill. Half the time you&rsquo;ll forget to add it on to the next invoice, or will have a fight on your hands when they don&rsquo;t remember the billable event. Or the customer will logistically have a harder time paying one big bill than two smaller ones. Or the client may not come back for further business, at which point your billable amount, albeit small, will never be received. <strong>You must &ndash; if you are in business for yourself &ndash; get over the hurtle of asking people for money.</strong> You provided a viable service, and you deserve to be paid!</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Didn&rsquo;t get Paid Promptly? Issue Another Invoice</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">If you haven&rsquo;t been paid within 30 days of your last invoice, send them another. Maybe &ndash; just maybe &ndash; they never received the first one. More likely, they filed it away and forgot to pay it. And sometimes they may even have intentionally not paid it in the hopes that <em>you</em> will forget about it.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Sending another invoice reminding them of their outstanding amount and advising that you will start charging interest on the balance is usually enough to get them to fork out the cash. Yes &ndash; it will take up more of your administrative time (or that of <a href="/outsourcing-your-life-and-creating-new-businesses" target="_blank">your assistant</a>), but isn&rsquo;t getting a paycheque as opposed to not getting one worth it?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Follow up, Follow up, Follow up</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">After sending out the second invoice, follow up with a phone call a week or two later. If you know that your customer is likely to be trouble, then don&rsquo;t settle for a &ldquo;cheque&rsquo;s in the mail&rdquo; response. Instead, ask when you or your courier can pick up the cheque. For other customers who you believe may have simply forgotten to pay and who have demonstrated that they aren&rsquo;t problems, then you may allow them to send the money to you. Just don&rsquo;t let a bad situation drag on because you don&rsquo;t want to pressure your customer into paying you for work you have already done.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Problem Customer? Cash on Delivery</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">If you have a customer who has been late to pay in the past, then simply inform them of a recent change in policy, where you must receive payment up front. Especially if this is a repeat customer with an outstanding invoice, then insisting that they pay up front is reasonable.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Don&rsquo;t Bend Over Backwards for New Customers</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">If you set a firm payment policy up front, new customers won&rsquo;t be offended; they will simply adapt to your method, and will have no indication that this is a change in policy for you. By bending over backwards and giving them deep discounts or being lenient on payment terms, you are only setting a precedent that spells out bad news long term.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">It&rsquo;s not fair that you have to pay your own creditors (for equipment leases or loans) within 30 days, but you don&rsquo;t hold your customers to a similar set of rules. And in fact, it can create a downward spiral that will spell the end of the business if you are not careful.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2 class="MsoPlainText">The Business Plan &ndash; or Lack Thereof</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Blake and Bob are both musicians, with stars in their eyes and dreams of fame and fortune at their fingertips. They both are genuinely talented, and have the musical foundation to &ldquo;make it big&rdquo;. But each of them have very different approaches to their business.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Bob is incredibly talented, and an excellent musician. But he is flying solo on little more than a wing and a prayer. He claims to know the industry inside and out, but in reality he is fooling himself. When visiting a new place and passing by a club playing his genre of music, he assumes that his type of music is rampantly popular there. He continues to draw far-fetched hypotheses based on very little experience, and has learned absolutely nothing on how to effectively market his music. (Being a musician, the analytical stuff is not something he excels at). He insists that there are undiscovered niches for his music and goes after them with everything he has, only to discover when push comes to shove that he drastically overestimated his income expectations and underestimated the amount of talented competition he is up against. He regularly puts the horse in front of the cart, trying to upgrade his equipment or set up elaborate websites to increase his popularity, when <strong>he doesn&rsquo;t even truly know what his identity is or who his fans are yet</strong>. And each time his eyes are opened to the realities of his ill-conceived ideas, his actual music suffers, along with his ego.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Blake, on the other hand, is also incredibly talented, producing exactly the kind of stuff that hits the charts. He forms strategic alliances with movers and shakers in the industry, and diversifies his marketing and musical efforts. When asked what type of music he plays, <strong>he can immediately identify himself and his style to you in a concise sentence</strong>, even though he has the ability to play across a number of genres (like many musicians). He has a solid identity, knows who his ideal fans are, and exactly how to reach them. His approach to the business is incredibly tactical, and when asked, <strong>he can produce a complete business plan illustrating where he has come from, and where he is going</strong> as a musician. He also updates his business plan every year, since a year is a long time in the music industry, and his plan adapts accordingly.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Blake&rsquo;s approach to music is uncommon given that artistic personalities are not usually pre-disposed to such analytical activities as putting together a business plan. But he is really serious about the business, and realizes that in order to be taken seriously, he needs to do what any other business owner should do.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">But Bob&rsquo;s lackadaisical approach to the business and formulating a business plan is not uncommon across many industries. For example, <em>Peter the plumber decides to start working for himself. He is a plumber, and he does it well. What does he need with a business plan? He&rsquo;s not trying to start a conglomerate; he just wants to stay busy and put food on the table. But strangely and despite his talents and contacts, he ends up going hungry, and asking for his old job back. </em></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">The Business Plan is the foundation for every business<strong>.</strong> We&rsquo;ve all heard it before, and we may try to do one by going through the motions, but <strong>until we truly embrace the business plan as our roadmap to entrepreneurial success, we may flounder in a sea of incompetence.</strong></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Your business plan doesn&rsquo;t have to be over-involved or full of statistics that mean nothing. But it should be on paper, and <strong>incorporate the following items</strong>:</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Description of your Business</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">What you do, your product or service, and how the business is run.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Industry Outlook</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">State what industry are you in, and where the industry is currently going. This is where you would point out any unfilled niches, and how you expect to fill in the gaps.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Your Market</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Exactly who</strong> is your customer, <strong>where</strong> do you find them, and <strong>how</strong> are you perfect for them?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Your Competitors</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">Rarely will your market be completely un-served by anybody else in the industry. Find a competitor, and find out what they are doing. You may even contact them directly to <a href="/the-power-of-mentorship" target="_blank">ask them a few questions and learn from their mistakes</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Your Suppliers</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">Find out who they are, how much they charge, and what their position is in the industry.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Marketing Strategy</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">Exactly <strong>how </strong>will you market your services? And how will this help you get new business and beat the competition?</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>Your Experience in the Industry</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">It is only personal experience in an industry that will truly be your mechanism for success. <strong>What is your story?</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3 class="MsoPlainText"><strong>The Finances</strong></h3> <p class="MsoPlainText">This is where many business plans fall apart at the seams. With profit and loss statements, operating revenue, and cash flow analyses, even analytical people will turn a few shades paler. Do your best with this, do some research, and read lots about how to read and formulate <a href="/how-to-read-an-annual-report" target="_blank">annual reports</a>.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Although these six business strategies over the <a href="/6-small-business-pitfalls-and-how-to-avoid-them-part-one" target="_blank">last two articles</a> aren&rsquo;t the holy grail of small business practice and in and of themselves, implementing them will certainly help your chances of succeeding, and with relatively little heartache. If any business owners out there have a few tips or experiences of their own, please do share them with the Wise Bread community!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-small-business-pitfalls-and-how-to-avoid-them-part-two">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-fund-your-business-without-touching-savings">3 Ways to Fund Your Business Without Touching Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/writing-your-own-business-plan-thrifty-or-foolish">Writing Your Own Business Plan: Thrifty or Foolish?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-build-business-credit-when-youre-self-employed">5 Ways to Build Business Credit When You&#039;re Self-Employed</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship accounts receivable business administration business plan new business small business Thu, 02 Oct 2008 01:31:58 +0000 Nora Dunn 2485 at http://www.wisebread.com Business Plan Basics http://www.wisebread.com/business-plan-basics <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/business-plan-basics" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/failedbusinessmodel.jpg" alt="failed business model t-shirt" title="failed business model t-shirt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="205" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have a business and offer writing services so, on occasion, I have been asked to write business plans. Those making such requests are generally very eager, convinced of their no-fail ideas, and are being held back only by a lack of funding. Their bank accounts are typically not filled with the cash needed to support their soon-to-be highly profitable, cash-producing enterprises so they go to where they think the money is for them: the bank. Bankers do want to make loans but they also want to avoid loan defaults, so the would-be lenders ask for a business plan.</p> <p>Apparently, the business-plan request surprises the otherwise hopeful entrepreneurs who then knock on my door. Although I am a writer and can create a financial statement, I am not an inventor, marketing researcher, mind-reader, or a magician. I quickly advise these clients to learn just a bit about business perhaps through business start-up classes offered through the community college or chamber of commerce. Such a process, which would take perhaps a month or two, would certainly delay the start of the business and result in not capturing the sure, hot market that is available today. So, again, the clients look to me, though, honestly, I have never requested or received a business loan.</p> <p>I have learned, over the years, that it is best to give the start-up clients a list of items <em>they need to give me</em> in order to prepare a business plan. To date, I have never actually prepared said business plans (promises of giving me the information in a few days have never been fulfilled) but it has saved me quite a bit of time that I would have otherwise spent trying to convince clients that they are unprepared.</p> <p>I developed the list based on <a title="http://www.amazon.com/dp/0764554816/ref=nosim/?tag=wwwwisebreadc-20" href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/0764554816/ref=nosim/?tag=wwwwisebreadc-20">Small Business for Dummies</a> (by Eric Tyson and Jim Schell), which is available through amazon.com or the public library. My list is not comprehensive but is enough to get them started...</p> <p><strong>Business Description</strong></p> <ul> <li>Mission statement (business purpose, values, and/or motto)</li> <li>Summary (brief description)</li> <li>Legal/tax structure (a sole proprietorship, partnership, C Corporation, S Corporation, or Limited Liability Corporation-LLC)</li> <li>Niche (how you will differentiate your company from the competition)</li> </ul> <p><strong>Management</strong></p> <ul> <li>education, experience, and accomplishments</li> </ul> <p><strong>Marketing Plan</strong></p> <ul> <li>Industry (overview, market conditions, industry leaders, and opportunities)</li> <li>Potential customers (who they are and why they will choose your product or service)</li> <li>Benefits of the product or service</li> <li>Geography and distribution (where your customers are and how you will deliver products or services to them)</li> <li>Marketing (how you will reach your target audience, how you will retain customers, and how you will build referrals)</li> <li>Pricing (pricing structure, how your prices compare with competitors' prices)</li> <li>Payment terms (how will customers pay you and if/how you will extend credit)</li> </ul> <p><strong>Operations</strong></p> <ul> <li>Employees (positions needed, job descriptions and skill sets, human resources policies, and compensation plans)</li> <li>Vendors (products or services you will need and vendors you will use)</li> </ul> <p><strong>Financial Management Plan</strong></p> <ul> <li>Budget / profit and loss statement (expected income less expected expenses)</li> <li>Balance sheet projections (assets such as equipment and liabilities such as loans)</li> <li>Cash-flow projections (timing of income and expenses to determine if you will have cash in your account to cover your bank loan, payroll, etc.)</li> </ul> <p>...or scare them away.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/business-plan-basics">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/to-start-or-not-the-entrepreneurial-debate">To Start or Not: The Entrepreneurial Debate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grow-your-solo-business-without-hiring-employees">How to Grow Your Solo Business Without Hiring Employees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-lessons-i-ve-learned-from-self-employment">8 Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Self-Employment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-ways-to-get-money-for-your-business">16 Ways To Get Money For Your Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-your-small-business-targeting-the-wrong-customer">Is Your Small Business Targeting the Wrong Customer?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship business banker business plan entrepreneur loan start-up Thu, 14 Jun 2007 21:48:59 +0000 Julie Rains 735 at http://www.wisebread.com