What Does My Business Plan Need to Include?

When people create a strategic business plan there needs to be substance behind this in order for it to be credible and a chance to be successful. Anyone can create a pie in the sky plan that is full of ideas and unrealistic targets and outcomes. If you are looking for funding to support your business plan then the credibility of it will be challenged therefore the more detail you have in order to satisfy any potential funding requests – the better.

Financial Support

One of the first things that are challenged on a business plan is how much money is initially required in order to implement the project – this could be zero but highly unlikely. If you are then looking for funds this plan needs to detail exactly how much you are looking for and what every penny is going to be used for. You then clearly need to articulate what is the desired outcome of this and what the business benefits of this would be (at least recovering the initial offset in spending). Where you then get this money from raises another question. If you have a business bank account then you could approach the bank that you have already established a working relationship with. This is probably one of the most common and successful methods to get funding as the bank will have the history on your cash flow status and some credibility around your payments. Generally they will go beyond this and look for not only the detailed project plan but may look at your credit history and footprint. Other options may be to get an extended overdraft for a period of time which your business bank could support you with.

Stakeholders

Generally a business plan involves more than just you and will include others that are key to its success. It is important that when developing the project business plan that you have the correct engagement of these people or departments before execution to ensure they are aligned and in agreement. If you don’t engage others correctly, effectively your business plan is just words that may not get to a successful outcome. Ensuring that other stakeholders also commit to the time scales that you are looking for needs also to be aligned beforehand as this actually may required additional resource or help that the departments or people do not have.

Success

Your business plan needs to demonstrate success. If people are going to invest in the plan they expect to see a good return at the end of it. It does not need to be financial but it could be cost avoidance, quality improvements etc. Whatever your individual reason for having the plan in the first place just needs to properly articulate the desired outcome in a data mindset. If you then get funding for this project plan and it does not achieve the desired results, this clearly then affects your credibility if you were to go back to investors or people for additional funds.

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What Does It Take To Manage A Business?

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Managing a business is something that many people dream of, but few know exactly what it takes to become competent at it. People find many different avenues into this career path. It might be that their discipline and loyalty towards a firm has helped train them from the moment they entered that workplace from a young age. It could be that it’s a natural fit after building competence in another important management role, perhaps even as intense as a military leadership role. Some people naturally fit this around themselves, not joining a pre-existing hierarchy but developing their own to chase a dream.

All of these are valid methods of becoming a business manager, but they’re by no means the only options available to you. If you hope to truly understand what makes a manager competent, you should consider these following personal virtues:

Great Education

Many people enjoy the idea of opening a business and romantically hitting all the pitch-perfect notes they need to in their operational activity to grow and expand. The reality is that it takes time to learn this, and many many mistakes. While no business is free from error, and will often learn things the hard way, managing a business is a complex task. It requires being well educated. You may decide to head to university to gain a degree in this complex issue, perhaps furthering on into a masters in business management. Alternatively, it might be that before you even begin to dream of opening your own business you gain some real insight into the commercial sector by working under competent managers or by hoping to hold that position yourself. While on-the-job training is considerable, it’s always best to learn in either a safe environment or an environment where your money is not on the line.

Patience & The Ability To Listen

It’s essential to have patience in the management fields. Management is not easy to deal with. You will need to rely on those under you as part of your job role, and this is something that many incompetent managers fail to do. Remember that managing a team is reliant on the team working together, so it’s your best responsibility to serve as a form of social and communicative guide for the problems and excitements your team have to articulate. With a little patience and the willingness to learn, you will allow the wind to power your sails, rather than rowing alone.

The Basics

Of course, management is not an isolated skill. You will usually be in management of something, and this is very important to figure out. Without this, you may find yourself truly worrying about the effectiveness of your daily efforts. You need to have more competence than any of those under you, and continue to learn the frontline efforts of those you manage. Without this, you’ll often find that leading from behind demotivates your employees and makes you feel incompetent on a daily basis.

It takes guts and patience to manage, but if you ensure to hit these vital markers, you’ll be on your way forward.

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Financial Management Advice for Home-Based Business Owners

Running a business from the comfort of your own home is convenient, but it isn’t without its struggles. As many can attest, it can be difficult sometimes to keep the lines of home and business from blurring. This isn’t just true when it comes to the management of time and responsibilities, it is also true when it comes to your finances. Keeping the finances together as you work on turning profits is a must, and it’s also challenging in the beginning. To help keep your money in order at home and in the business, here are a few financial management tips to remember.

Establish Separate Financial Accounts

The very moment you start your business you need to separate your personal finances from your business affairs. Therefore, you should create different banking accounts to keep things in order. Any and all expenses related to the business should be withdrawn from your company account while all household expenses should be maintained on the personal account. This makes things easier to track and helps a ton during tax filing season.

Pay Yourself

When the money starts coming in from the business it can be tempting to use every cent of it for your personal affairs. If you do this, however, where does that leave your business? To maintain your finances appropriately, it is better to pay yourself and then deposit the rest of your earnings into your business account. Whether you are going to charge a flat rate, hourly fee, or take a percentage of the profits each month, this money should be considered your personal income and used for that purpose.

Make Separate Budgets

Again, it is important to keep the lines between personal and professional finances separate, so your budget should be separate as well. Your household budget should consist of all expenses related to your personal finances and covered by the income you pay yourself with (along with any other income from others in your home). Your business budget should be a list of all company expenses and covered by the remaining profits you have left in your business account.

Have a Backup Plan

Things go wrong in business and at home that will inevitably need to be handled right away. There are plenty of avenues you could explore as you try to secure cash when you don’t have it on hand. For example, you could apply for a loan advance online and get a few hundred bucks overnight. You can also tighten your budget to stretch your income or profits. Lastly, you should create separate savings accounts for emergencies. You should have at least 3-6 months worth of expenses (for business and personal needs) in an account so you can access it if you need to.

Keep Debt to a Minimum

It’s almost a given that you will accumulate debt at home and in business. The trick, however, is to remain debt free or at least keep this debt low. Falling behind on bills in both areas would mean a serious financial hardship for you. If you have outstanding debt, start paying those bills down. You can also keep debt down by watching your spending habits. For the business, you might buy used instead of new when you are in need of furniture or electronic devices. Hire interns or outsource instead of hiring a team. Use free software and applications, go paperless, and plan virtual meetings to cut back on travel. At home, you can reduce your energy and water consumption, bundle your cable, phone, and internet services, make meals at home instead of eating out, and cancel unnecessary subscriptions.

Always Look for Opportunities to Earn More

You can never have enough cash, so you should always be on the lookout for opportunities to earn more. This can help to balance the books at home and in the office. Fortunately, there are several ways you can do this without sacrificing too much time or money. Answer surveys in your spare time, become a personal shopper, start a blog, babysit in the evenings, and whatever else you can think of to accumulate more cash.

It’s easy to blur the lines of business and home – especially when it comes to finances. However, if you don’t want to end up in a world of financial trouble, it is important to learn how to properly manage both. Start by separating the two, then create a budget and backup plan for emergencies. Lastly, make sure that you’re always looking for ways to earn more. It won’t be perfect, but if you keep these tips in mind, managing finances both for your home based business and for your household won’t be so bad.

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Why Is QuickBooks Right for Every Business?

With over twenty years of industry leadership, the financial software QuickBooks is arguably the leading package for small business accounting. The feature-rich program offers many benefits unavailable in all but proprietary software geared toward large corporations. QuickBooks affords small businesses the ability to keep up with larger companies without a massive investment in financial staff and software. In addition to streamlining basic tasks, business users can integrate QuickBooks with invoicing solutions and point of sale software from Merchant Account Solutions to track cash flow while offering more convenience to their customers.

The Power of Payment Acceptance

Today’s customers expect payment methods to be flexible and convenient. When combined with software such as Revel POS, an iOS-based cloud-enabled app that accepts all forms of electronic payments, QuickBooks can monitor transactions and provide customers with a pleasant paying experience. Having real-time information readily available also enables business owners to more effectively plan sales and marketing strategies as well as accurately maintain inventory levels.

Some additional advantages of using QuickBooks include:

  • Processes Multiple Types of Payments
  • Eliminates Entry Errors
  • Authorize Approvals Instantly
  • Store and Download Transactions From Secure Network

More Customer Options

QuickBooks invoicing features also include the ability to add a “Pay Now” link on the business’ website. This method allows small businesses to offer yet another avenue for customers to pay for goods and services. The software sends an email invoice to customers to guide them effortlessly to the payment link on the website.

Payment Solution Experts

Merchant Account Solutions can provide your businesses with the systems it needs to leverage the power of today’s technology. The company specializes in integrating various software and hardware options with payment processing systems to allow companies to develop methods perfectly suited to their needs. Visit this industry leader’s website contact form today to start taking advantage of affordable accounting and payment options for your business.

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Listen Up! Sharpen Communication Within Your Company

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Can you imagine what your business would be like if none of your team communicated effectively? It would be incredibly difficult to bring work projects to completion, and the teamwork in your office would suffer as well. As you can probably tell, a company with poor communications will not have a successful future ahead of it.

So, if you think that you could do with improving the communications within your business, it really is worth putting plenty of money and effort into doing so. Once you do improve things, you will find that your company and its processes become a lot more streamlined and efficient.

So, think it’s time you focused on your company’s communications? Here are a few ways you can work on them.

Set Up A Communication Strategy

Do you already have a communication strategy in place in your office? If not, it is really important that you get one set up as soon as possible. This kind of strategy helps everyone understand how they should communicate with each other. For instance, as part of the strategy, you might want to create a communication flow that shows employees who they need to reach out to depending on the answers or advice they need.

Ditch Expensive Cell Phones

If you give some of your employees their own company phones, you might find that the cost of these can end up being a big strain on your budget. Thankfully, companies like Peak Push To Talk are now providing companies with some affordable solutions. There are now sophisticated walkie-talkies that use SIM cards and cellular data that you can utilize to keep employees to connected while they are out and about. You’ll find that these are often a lot more reasonably priced than traditional cell phones.

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Invest In Good Communications

As you can see from the point above, there are going to be various costs associated with your business’s communications. Rather than struggling to pay these, it’s necessary that you include them in your monthly budget. It’s also worth allocating slightly more than what you expect to pay. That extra cash can help you buy the best communication devices and software that are on the market, helping you improve your team’s communications further.

Get Some Feedback

It’s always a good idea to get some feedback from your employees to find out how they find your current communication processes, and the areas in which they think some improvements would be necessary. You might want to even create a feedback process that encourages your team to give their opinions and ideas. It’s crucial that your employees feel like their feedback is taken seriously and valued. Otherwise, you might struggle to get any feedback from them in the first place. This also ensures that your company’s communication is all transparent and out in the open.

Once you utilize the tips in this blog post, you will find that your company’s communications come on leaps and bounds.

Get ready to enjoy all that improved communication!

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The Bad Bits And Benefits Of A Basement Office

It’d be fair to say that your office is never as important as when you work from home. You, more than anyone, need this to be an inspirational place which invites hard work and concentration. After all, if you were going out to work, the mere process of being out of the house would kickstart your brain. You’d likely get dressed, leave the house, and enter an instant workmode.

But, when you work from home, things are different. After all, you don’t have the benefit of a commute to work. You could attempt to walk around the block before starting, but it’s unlikely you’d feel any benefit. After all, the moment you walk through your front door, your brain is liable to slip back into ‘home-mode.’ Just like that, you’ll be fit for little more than sitting on the sofa and watching Netflix.

That is, of course, unless you manage to create the perfect office space. Get this right, and you’ll be able to put your work brain on with ease the moment you enter the room. Get it wrong, and you’ll fail to ever make a real go of this work from home thing. No pressure.

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Hence why many of us focus so hard on getting this right. We think about decor, desk position, and even minimize our accessories. In extreme cases, we get into the habit of locking the door to ensure our work office stays that way for good. Even just the knowledge your kids have been on your computer could cause ripples in your delicate working mind.

With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that many home workers opt to create offices in areas such as the basement. What could be better for getting away from the rest of the house? Of course, we aren’t saying you should move into the cold and dank space currently under your home. But, basement conversions can achieve amazing things.

That’s not to say, of course, that an office down below isn’t without its issues. To help you decide whether this would be right for you, we’re going to look at both the bad bits and the benefits of a basement office set-up.

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Why Aren’t Your Work Team Working Together?

When you started out in the business world, you didn’t have to worry about anyone but yourself. The workdays were gruelling and the hours were long. But, you had the peace of knowing that everything fell to you. You didn’t have to worry about fitting around anyone else or delegating tasks. You had it all in hand.

Of course, you still started hiring as soon as you could. You’re only human. It’s not possible to keep up that workload for an indefinite amount of time. Having help on board is all you dreamt of for those long and hard months. And, there’s no denying that a team can enhance your business and make your life a lot easier.

There’s just one issue; you now have to consider what they’re doing, too. And, that brings stresses of its own, especially if all is not well in your workplace dynamic. Sadly, that’s often the case. It should come as no surprise when you think about it. At few other times are we placed within a ready-made group and expected to work together. It’s a difficult dynamic, and in-team disagreements can cause untold problems within a workplace.

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But, as the boss, you need to make sure that doesn’t happen. Lucky for you, we’re here to look at how.

Make efforts to build a team

As we’ve already mentioned, workplaces are unique in that they’re one of the only times we’re placed in teams and told to get along. But, people come from different walks of life and can have varying opinions. To place a team together and expect them to work well would be foolhardy. Instead, you need to make efforts to create that team, rather than assuming it will establish itself. How you do this is up to you. Some bosses focus on team exercises within the office, while others look into options like a murder mystery weekend or an escape room. Here, your team will have to work together to solve problems in fun settings. What could be better for bonding?

Get to the bottom of disagreements

You’re a boss, not a counsellor. As such, you may take a no-messing approach to colleague disagreements. But, if you brush over these issue, they bubble under the surface. If you aren’t careful, that could have long-lasting implications. Instead, air these issues in a safe environment. If you notice rumblings within your workforce, call the people in question to your office. Once there, give everyone a chance to speak. Together, you can address issues and move forward in a positive light.

Be clear about your objectives

No amount of team bonding is going to change the fact your colleagues will have varying approaches. And, if these are too opposed, working together on any task could get difficult. To help stop in-work arguments, be clear on your objectives when you pass down an assignment. Attempt to at least guide the direction your team takes. You’d be amazed how many arguments this small step can stop.

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First Impressions Count. Here’s How To Boost Yours

Everyone who works in the world of business will tell you how important it is to make a great first impression when you have clients come to your office. You want to be able to show off your business in the way that you view it. You wouldn’t wear a trash bag to an important meeting, so it’s highly unlikely that you would want to trash your office with second-rate furniture and mismatched décor to make the wrong impression on your clients.

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First impressions last longer than you think, and you don’t want your clients to think about your business with a sour face. You want them to remember you for the bright, coordinated furniture in the office that match your logo. You want them to remember the spectacular window graphic printing on the glass dividers in the office that advertise your services in a professional way. An impressive office space doesn’t necessarily need to be expensive or consistent with the current office trends, but it does need to be neat, tidy and bright. The good news is that making your workspace as professional as possible isn’t all that hard! Check out how you can create the best first impression possible with your office below:

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Cleaning your office is going to be a priority for you. Hiring in a good cleaning company that ensures that after hours, your business is straightened out, is important. Keeping the desks clutter-free is a must, but keeping the carpets shampooed and plush is just as important. You wouldn’t want to walk into an office of threadbare carpets, so don’t let your clients do the same.

Lighting is a big deal for offices that are overshadowed by other buildings around it. A dim light can make an entire office look cheap and rundown without much effort. Either invest in an office space with a lot of natural light flooding through, or swap out the light bulbs for a better, lighter space with clean lines.

The vibe of the office is just as important as whether you have clean floors and desks. You need to be uniform in the office layout, but maybe not in every aspect. Your waiting room furniture, for example, could be a mismatched array of plump and inviting sofas. This type of eclectic look makes you look down to earth as a company.

Upgrading your technology will make a massive impression. Imagine trying to run a marketing business with the technology equipment of yesterday? It just doesn’t work. Your staff should be seen to be working with the latest and greatest technology so that people are impressed by your ability to keep up with the times.

Your office space has to be one that people WANT to revisit. They need to come back and remember why you make such an impact in your industry. Check out what the competition are doing and make a point of doing what you want to do, while doing better than them all at the same time.

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