A Case Study On Insufficient Planning

Introduction

Entrepreneurs would always do some form of business planning before they start a new venture. Quite often this will result in a formal business plan. The format will probably be determined by one of the following:

  • A business planning software package;
  • A guidebook on business planning;
  • Another business plan;
  • An external consultant.

Although all the above can have satisfactory results, they all have potential pitfalls. One serious pitfall (when using one of the first three methods) is the way that the entrepreneurs tackle the problem. Although all of the methods cater for the addressing of the apparent salient features and even for the interdependence between them, they can not cater for all the intricacies and multi-directional relationships that exist between various features in a business.

Outsourcing the whole business planning process to a consultant also does not solve all the problems. A consultant would need to work quite interactively with the entrepreneurs to be of real value.

Over more than a decade Ventex Corporation advised and assisted companies from business planning right up to harvesting and beyond. This case study highlights the importance of having a well thought-out and executed integrative business planning process. It shows how apparent small issues, that are neglected in the planning process, can have grave consequences for the entrepreneurs.

Salient Features in an Integrative Business Planning Process

The first aspect of integrative business planning is to ensure that all the salient features are catered for. These features can differ drastically from one business to another. Some of the more general features are:

  • The Business – The opportunity, the business concept, products and services and growth strategy.
  • Marketing – Marketing strategy (price, promotion, etc.).
  • Market Research – Customers, market size, trends and competition.
  • Development – New products, services, markets and facilities.
  • Operations – All aspects.
  • The Team – Management team, skills needed, training, board composition and organisms.
  • Finances – Investment-, financing- and dividend decisions and policies. Also cashflows, profit margins, costs and growth.
  • Risk Management – Business-, operational- and financial risks as well as potential fatal flaws.

Multi-Directional Relations to Keep in Mind in Business Planning

Unfortunately the salient features can not be seen in isolation. Every feature impacts on various other features and are also impacted by many other features. These multi-directional relationships occur within each individual broader feature (e.g. finances) as well as between different features (e.g. between finances and marketing).

Higher profit margins can for instance decrease the volumes sold, but increase the net profitability. On the other hand can higher volumes (with lower gross margins) increase the volumes sold, but decrease the profitability.

Higher volumes on the other hand can increase the stress factor in production personnel (that already work at maximum human capacity), causing higher absenteeism, lower production levels, extra hiring costs and a corresponding decrease in profitability. Unfortunately these intricacies can not be ignored and an integrative approach of business planning goes a long way in handling it.

An Example of Things that can go Wrong

Ultimate Holidays had a very ambitious business concept in the tourism industry. The industry was booming at the time and they planned in detail to build a luxury lodge that would combine a health hydro, hotel school, conference facilities, adventure center and eco-cultural tourism. (Details are changed for confidential purposes – all the detail does, however, simulate the real-life scenarios close enough to demonstrate the actual learnings).The experience of the entrepreneurs includes business, entrepreneurship, tourism, archeology, law and politics. This project of around $320 million was a life-long passion for all of them. They covered in-depth the architectural designs, legal requirements, development and operational planning issues, the marketing plan and personnel development policies. They also ensured that they had senior politicians and excellent service providers on board.

The business did, however, never got of the ground. What did the experienced entrepreneurs not see? What could they have done differently? They thought they had covered all the various aspects of the business. Analyzing the facts, the following major problems stood out:

  • The entrepreneurs were not flexible – they had strong pre-conceived ideas;
  • No detailed market research was done. Specifically not on occupancy rates in the niche industry and on critical investment criteria that investors are looking for;
  • All the planning was done on individual aspects that were optimized as far as possible. The way that these factors might have effected other factors were never considered.

The entrepreneurs were quite arrogant. They believed that any entrepreneur would be stupid not to invest and they would typically say that they only want investors that share their dreams and that the finances will sort itself out.

The business plan promised a “conservative” 22% internal rate of return (IRR) over a seven-year period. This included the expected capital growth of the facility. Expected occupancy rates were given as 50% in year one, rising to more than 75% by year four. The IRR and occupancy rates were much lower initially and were purely based on thumb-suck. The entrepreneurs then just chanced the figures to make financial sense without changing any of the other related factors.

Investors were often very keen on the concept, until they realized that the occupancy rates were inflated. The real figures based on realistic values indicated an IRR of only 15% – at least five percent below what the investors expected. The financial risk was just too high. Furthermore a breach of trust occurred.From the entrepreneurs’ viewpoint this was an insurmountable problem – they wanted it their way. In the end nobody invested. Much effort was applied and personal expenditures were sky-high. A high visibility in the business and tourism industry was also created. In the end some of the entrepreneurs were financially (and emotionally ruined) and all of them lost credibility.

The important questions in hind-sight are: Could the entrepreneurs saved this project? Could they have included all the features and genuinely expected an IRR of above 20%?

If the entrepreneurs used an integrative business planning process, they would have first ensured that all the salient features were examined. Secondly they would have ensured that all the multi-directional relationships (causality) between the different features were balanced.

By mapping the relationships between the various salient features it showed for instance that:

  • Occupancy rates are caused by service levels, product offering, marketing and price.
  • Occupancy rates on the other hand can affect the turnover, profitability and marketing (through word-of-mouth).
  • Profitability is caused by turnover (through occupants and outside guests), occupancy and cost of doing business (cost of sales and other expenses).
  • Profitability on the other hand have a direct bearing on the IRR, cashflow and sustainable growth of the business.

Only a very small portion of the multi-directional relationships that exist within and between the various salient features are shown above.

The entrepreneurs should have asked more in-depth “what-if” type of questions. They could start with questions such as: What would happen to the occupancy rate if the price per night increase by 10%? What would happen if the various aspects of the business are phased- in? Would it be possible to cut marketing costs and increase the occupancy rate? The last question typically seems like an oxymoron. This is part of integrative business planning – to look at the two opposites and try and find a solution where both aspects are catered for. In practice this can probably be achieved by using more free advertising in newspapers, internet articles and blogs and by working directly with the tourism associations of the region.

A major aspect (constraint) of this whole new venture was the high capital lay-out. By concentrating on this salient feature it was shown that costs could have been drastically reduced without having any detrimental effect on the occupancy rate. By using a light steel frame construction instead of the normal brick could have caused tremendous savings. The erection time could have been halved with savings in labor and interim interest. The long distances would have resulted in much less transport costs (light steel frames are much lighter than brick). Additional savings are also possible due to other construction benefits and different finishes. No negative effects would have been foreseen.

The building costs of the health hydro was 50% of that of the main complex, but the projected figures showed that it would only produce 33% of the turnover of the main complex (at much lower gross profit margins). This component could have been phased-in at a later stage when the complex was already in full production and when the potential occupancy and profits were much higher.

The analysis of the business showed, that by just changing these two factors (construction method and phased-in hydro) and by using a realistic occupancy rate, that the expected IRR will be in excess of 21%. Further solutions to decrease capital expenditure could have been explored and this could have resulted in a further increase of the IRR. The high road building costs (to the complex) could possibly have been shared with the government and other potential developers (e.g. of a shopping complex or a time-share game farm close by).

Startup Business Plan Confirmed by Market Research Firms

Startup businesses should consider that a successful business marketing plan has little to do with a gut feeling or a hunch; it is rather based on sound market research. A competitive advantage will be given to any small business that realizes this. This is not however, where entrepreneurs focus there attentions. Even though well done market research is crucial for understanding the competition, most entrepreneur ideas center on entrepreneur business opportunities and creating successful products. If an entrepreneur spends time understanding competition on all levels: product competition, segment competition, demand competition, technology competition and future competition, entrepreneurs would be well equipped to implement competition strategies will be highly effective.

Where should one start?

The most important decisions a small business needs to take into consideration right off the bat when making a competitive business plan is what needs to be done and then how the business’ time, energy and money will be spent doing the tasks that need to be done. Time, energy and money are the only things that any business can spend so proper planning right at the beginning will assure the best and highest uses of these resources.

So step one is for business owners to do their market research (to determine what needs to be done). Step two is to determine how to get it done in a timely fashion and how to get it done right.

Solo entrepreneurs who have the do it yourself (DIY) mentally must realize that the need to allocate these resources applies to them as well. Consider this: It may not be in the best interest of the business to take a significant amount of time gaining expertise; whether that is in getting the necessary knowledge for doing market research or for professional web development solutions as examples. This is true especially when there is a limited budget. The cost of staying in the learning/development stage will ultimately take its toll. This will be seen when a business loses out on potential revenue that would have been gained if development had been ramped up more quickly. Not to mention: delaying will allow the competition to get a lead.

Market research to determine what business the needs are and then deciding how to allocate time, energy and money correctly is so crucial. The reality is that it is also so often ineffectively done. Ultimately it will determine whether entrepreneurship successfully launching an idea will ever even happen.

Why then do entrepreneurs fail to do these two steps? Simple and trite as it may seem, it is nevertheless true. Most entrepreneurs do not know what they do not know. They do not know how to research their market. They do not know how to create an effective business plan, based on their time, energy and money, which will get them to where they want to go. They don’t know how to get the market research data that they need to create a competitive marketing strategy. They don’t know about the best practices for a real online marketing strategy and how it will create a powerful web identity.

The following three reasons are typical ways that entrepreneurs respond when they do not know.

The first response is the hit or miss approach of just taking action. The success of this will depend on how adroit a business owner is at developing the necessary skills and making the adjustments on the fly. This approach can lead to a lot of wasted resources which will be spent because of lack of knowledge. It is not cost effective.

A second type of response is to expect to learn every skill that is needed to be successful before moving ahead. This happens for example when a startup online business, for example, tries to reinvent the web development, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing(SEM), social media optimization (SMO), pay per click (PPC) and customer relationship management (CRM) wheels. Reinvention is a time wasting and unwieldy task that is destines to side track the entrpreneur; sometimes indefinitely. An example of this is seen in the case of startup business owners who continue to spend time and money on endless seminars and products that promise to solve all of their problems; except they never get started. These entrepreneurs are more correctly defined as opportunity seekers rather than serious business owners.

The third response is for the entrepreneur to gain a broad education in the business planning processes that will be needed to develop the business. The business owner can determine which levels of expertise already exist and which ones need to be bolstered. This is the entrepreneur who makes an assessment of the highest and best use of time, energy and money. This entrepreneur will be asking questions such as:

– How do I get the market research analysis I need to create and keep a competitive edge?
– Are adequate web development solutions available in house? Do I need a dedicated team or should I hire a professional?
– How do I keep abreast of the rapidly evolving internet marketing landscape? How will I get the specialized skills that are needed to participate in the interactive world of Web 2.0? Measure and analyze results?
– What are best inbound marketing practices?
– How can I find the best ways to extend marketing dollars?
– Will my business be better off with an in house staff or will virtual office management be better?
– Do I need an extensive sales force or can web based CRM software automate a lot of this?
– How can I make the best hiring choices and provide the training that is needed?

Clearly, the questions that must be addressed by a startup business as well as an established one are considerable. This is why the third response is the only one that makes sense.

A successful business owner will wisely decide not to do it all since this is not the highest use of time, energy or money. By keeping educated about current trends and what a successful business needs, the business owner will be in a position to make appropriate decisions. The decision on what should be done in house and what should to be outsourced needs to be made.

Marketing research firms agree that the best business plan for a startup or existing business is to get the help of a marketing partner who already has the new Web 2.0 marketing tools and most importantly knows how to effectively use them. They can help determine what needs to be done and the best ways to get them done. Can a startup business afford this? Today expert outsourced services are highly affordable. The real question is can your business afford not to use them?

The Place of Entrepreneurship Competence in Business Success and National Development

The pivotal position occupied by entrepreneurship as a sustainable tool for rapid economic growth and development of a country cannot be over emphasized. This is evident in several available literatures written by scholars on the subject matter but a closer examination of these literatures show tilted emphasis and concentrations on some common areas relating to entrepreneurship.

Increasing competitions, rapid and constant changes in internal and external environment of business activities, and the significant influence of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) on the economy generally have resulted in a growing interest in studying the role of factors stimulating successful entrepreneurship, business success and national development.

Though, entrepreneurship, have played and can play more of these positive roles, is not an easy vocation as it does not always guarantee a hundred per cent triumph. There are several critical areas of knowledge and factors that must be acquired and put in place to enable entrepreneurs achieve a measure of business success and consequently contributing to national development.

Several researches have been conducted in areas of entrepreneurship competency, entrepreneurship success and national development.

Most literatures relating to entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship success tend to unquestionably argue that most entrepreneurial fiascos are essentially due to inadequate financial resources (e.g. Adeyemo and Onikoyi, 2012). Such research outcomes have no doubt influenced government policy direction in many developed and developing countries of the world through the creation of financial agencies and provision of financial resources to business units for the sole purpose of boosting and sustaining entrepreneurial development for rapid national development.

The above, policy strategy unfortunately has led to the continuous negligence on the part of the government, scholars and business operators in these countries to considering other vital factors like entrepreneurial competency which equally contributes to successful entrepreneurship, business success and national development.

The current literatures on the subject do not provide sufficient explanations to the role general and/or specific competences play in successful entrepreneurship, business success and national development. This has thus, made the relationship between entrepreneurial competence and entrepreneurship success to be important topic within organizational literatures. The above fact is evident in several available studies done by scholars on the subject matter (e.g Crook, Todd, Combs, Woehr, and Ketchen, 2011; Mitchelmore and Rowley, 2010; Inyang and Enuoh, 2009; Laguna, Wiechetek, and Talik, 2013 e.t.c).

Many of these studies identified entrepreneurship competences like communication competence, financial competence, marketing competence, business ethics competence, social responsibility competence, decision-making competence and leadership competence as catalysts to entrepreneurship success and national development. We shall be duelling on our discussion more on these entrepreneurial competences to see how they individually contribute to successful entrepreneurship, business success and national development.

As said earlier at the beginning, entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship success play strategic roles in economic growth, economic transformation and development of the society. These roles are noticeable in the numbers of jobs created, the level of wealth generated and the rate of indigenous entrepreneurship promoted in several countries around the world.

There is no doubt that government of the world have put great efforts in promoting entrepreneurship development, business success and economic development through provision of financial resources directly or otherwise through various agencies and under different terms and conditions, this fact prompt one to ask a question of high concern.

Why are there still high rate of business failure around the world? Without much thinking, the failures are due mainly to entrepreneurial incompetency of those concerned with making the daily business decisions of these businesses. Many business failures can be said to be and are largely attributed to lack of entrepreneurial competence.

Most of the businesses failed unknowingly even before there are started because of lack of one of the required competence; project evaluation and management. This does not therefore; make it surprising while entrepreneurship competence has often been identified as the missing link for successful entrepreneurship, business failure and consequently crawling national development and in some instances stalled economy. What then is entrepreneurship competence?

Before we proceed to defining and explaining entrepreneurship competence and understand the contextual meaning in which it is employed in this writing with simplicity, it will be very imperative to first and foremost comprehend what entrepreneurship is.

Entrepreneurship may be defined as the process through which something new and valuable is created through the dedication and effort of someone who takes on financial, psychological, and social risks and seeks personal satisfaction and monetary rewards (Hisrich & Peters 1986).

European Commission, (2006) defined Entrepreneurship as a dynamic and social process where individuals, alone or in collaboration, identify opportunities for innovation and act upon these by transforming ideas into practical and targeted activities, whether in a social, cultural or economic context.

Critical assessment of the above two definitions summarized the concept of entrepreneurship by stressing creation processes and performance of targeted activities. Entrepreneurship as defined above is not necessarily limited to the roles and characters of entrepreneurship involving creativity, innovation and risk taking, and most importantly, the ability to plan, manage projects and to turn ideas into action in order to achieve set objectives for successful entrepreneurship. But, it requires tact, art and competency to achieve winning edge success.

Entrepreneurship success is a multidimensional phenomenon. It includes multiple criteria of financial characters like profit maximization, revenue maximization, dividend maximization as in the case of shareholders etc., and non-financial characters for example larger share of market, customer satisfaction, perpetual enterprise existence etc. To achieve success in any of the following sections, one must be competent in his/her chosen area of enterprise.

Entrepreneur competence can therefore be defined as the cluster of related knowledge, attitudes, and skills which an entrepreneur must acquire or possess to achieve an outstanding performance and optimize the business objective(s) amidst several constraints. Every job/role has a skill and competency requirement. Every career like entrepreneurship draws on the competence of an individual. For every entrepreneurial undertaking one needs certain competencies. Entrepreneurship competence is simply the skill which an individual needs to do an allotted entrepreneurial job successfully.

Entrepreneurship competence constitutes a cluster of related knowledge, attitudes, and skills, which an individual acquires and uses together, to produce outstanding performance in any given area of entrepreneurial responsibility. Some of these competences may be general and some peculiar to the chosen areas of enterprise. We may describe competences to mean abilities and skills, for a teacher or a performing artist, for example, it is the skill to communicate that plays a decisive role in their effectiveness besides, of course, their knowledge. For a craftsman or an artist, it is the creativity and skill in the chosen craft.

In like manner, entrepreneurial competences are critical success factors required for successful entrepreneurship, business success and of course national development. The subject thus, deserves solemn attention in entrepreneurial discourse and not to be neglected. There is no substitute for entrepreneurship competence for successful entrepreneurship, not even abundant financial resources can. There is no doubt as explained, entrepreneurial competence play important role in any successful entrepreneurial activities.

The following are some of the necessary entrepreneurial competences required for successful entrepreneurship and rapid national development. We shall be discussing below 8 of the basic essential entrepreneurial competence for successful business.

1. Time Management competence: Time is an economic good; it is an economic good worthy of effective and efficient management because of it scarce nature (Dan-Abu, 2015). Time is unique, unlike any other economic resources (input) such that it has no wing but can “fly”. Time is irreplaceable and irreversible. Time lost is lost forever and can never be recovered, and by that I it includes, time lost doing insignificant things. This is why few things are more important to an entrepreneur and for successful entrepreneurship than learning how to save and spend time wisely. One major causes of entrepreneurship failure in relation to time management is doing too many things at the same time in an inefficient manner.

To achieve more and be successful in the day to day running of an enterprise, the entrepreneur must be thoroughly equipped with time management skill. Investing and practicing effective and efficient time management skill is a profitable investment for every entrepreneur, since every efficient business act is a success in itself. It therefore means that, if every single act of entrepreneurial activity is undertaken with consistent efficient one, the enterprise as a whole must be a success.

Time management involve among others practices, commitment to work contract and taking personal pains to complete a task on schedule, this will promote confidence and loyalty on your business/organization and will thus led to winning of more contracts from clients again and again; prioritizing of task based on urgency and importance in relation to a project activities and delegating of task to subordinates.

Some common time consuming activities include slow decision making, inability to delegate, unnecessary interruptions, failed appointments, delays while traveling, poorly conducted meetings, procrastination, etc.

2. Communication competence: Communication is a two-way process characterized by sending and receiving of messages through a channel between sender and receiver. This may be verbal or non-verbal for example, telephone call and procurement proposal respectively. Good communication skill is an indispensable management tool for a successful entrepreneurship. It is through communication that procurements are made, business products/services are sold, business objectives are discussed, employees are recruited etc.

Communication competence is very important to the survival and success of every organization, this is regardless of whether the organization is a profit or non-profit making, private or public enterprise, involved in provision of services or sales of products, online or offline business etc. Communication competence is so vital to successful entrepreneurship that it goes beyond inter-personal communication; of course this too is indispensable to the success of the entrepreneur’s business.

A winning communication competence in an enterprise will help in disseminating circulars, minutes, letters and memos effectively reaching every intending individual, team or unit in an organization. It also facilitates efficiency through the saving of cost involved in sending and receiving the messages on the part of both the organization and the employees. Communication competence in enterprising organizations will facilitate large turn out and compliance when meetings are called or directives are given to be followed respectively.

Communication competence in like manner can speed up the time taken to make merchandize procurement in period of high demand; this can help the concerned firm increase profit during the period of shortages and high demand.

Developing and employing good communication skill in an organization will definitely lead to two fold success; the firm will be able to benefit from internal interactions among persons, departments and units, and externally benefit from interactions between it and the business transacting partners (outside world). We can therefore say in summary that, there is no business without communication.

3. Human Resources Management Competence: The relevance of human resources management competence to successful entrepreneurship, business success and national development cannot be over stressed. Though materials and capital are of equivalent importance to the entrepreneur, they are inanimate and unemotional; they demand no understanding of human requirements and inspirations for their effective utilization unlike human resources which need good and competent human resources management skill by the entrepreneur to successfully utilize it to optimum level in productive activities.

Human resources of some enterprise are the most difficult to obtain, the most expensive to maintain and the hardest to retain. Without the acquisition and practicing of effective and efficient human resource management skills, the capital resources earlier mentioned will not be effectively used. Generally, small and medium scale enterprises often managed by an entrepreneur do not have the luxury of human resource department that can interview, hire and evaluate employees.

Most of these decisions taking regarding the above are the responsibility of the entrepreneur and perhaps one or two other key employees. This is good why human resources management competence is important for successful entrepreneurship and national development. As the firm grows, there will be need to hire new employees; entrepreneur must follow important procedures for interviewing, hiring, evaluating and preparing job description for new employees. Instituting an effective organizational culture is best implemented when an entrepreneur is competent in human resources management.

4. Marketing Management Competence: The success of every enterprise involves selling of products/services; this is largely enabled through good marketing management, it is therefore imperative for an entrepreneur to have good marketing management skills.

Ebitu (2005:196) concord, that marketing is crucial to the survival and growth of any organization. It is through marketing that revenues used for bills settlement, assets acquisition, pursuing of business diversification and expansion objectives, settlement of dividend and tax liabilities and social responsibility projects are generated. The entrepreneur in developing good marketing strategies and marketing management competence must be conversant with and employ the four marketing mix of place, promotion, price and product.

5. Adherence to Business Ethics Competence: Every business has its ethics. Ethics deals with moral ability and obligations. It can be defined as a system of rules and principles that define right and wrong, good and bad conduct and the ordering of values in undertaking business activities in society. Business ethics is sometimes called management ethics, and it is the application of ethical principles to business relationships and activities.

Business ethics is becoming a subject of intense concern for society, which is now demanding that organizations should operate responsibly and uphold very high ethical standards to improve the quality of life of the people. Entrepreneurs, in light of the above, need to be competent in dealing with different public policies, trade union’s established standards and norms and customers’ concerns for high quality work for successful entrepreneurship.

6. Financial Management Competence: Every business enterprise requires capital with which to start and continue with its operations. Capital here means two things; money (finance) needed to start and operate the business and assets representing the resources provided by owners (equity) and creditors of the business (liabilities).

Mbat (2001:3) defines financial management as the planning, organizing, directing and controlling of the firm’s financial resources. Finance is the blood at the centre of any successful business enterprise, one of the features common to successful entrepreneurs is their ability to source for funds for their enterprise. The funds mobilized internally or externally have to be properly managed to ensure that at any point in time, there is adequate funds to cater for the day to day running of the enterprise.

Most entrepreneurial failures are due to the inability of the entrepreneurs to effectively distribute and manage funds. For example, an entrepreneur needs to acquire knowledge on financial management issues like anticipation of financial needs for the enterprise, fund raising sources, cost of raising fund from external sources, acquisition of funds, allocation of funds in order to yield optimum result through identification and maintenance of correct proportion of the firm’s finances in areas of savings, insurance and investments policy of the enterprise.

The important of financial management competence to achieving entrepreneurship and business success cannot be over stressed. We have seen many at times when financially buoyant “start-ups” crumble down to pieces after successful take off because of financial management incompetence of the management, caused by tied up funds as they watch helplessly as the business dive into ocean of failure due to lack of reserve funds to successfully execute contracts or perform business operation.

Leadership Competence: leadership can be defined as the ability to influence and motivate other person or group of persons towards achieving a shared a set objective. Leadership competence is also another important single factor determining business success or failure in our competitive, turbulent, fast moving, free global market economy.

According to Ilesanmi, (2000: 187) successful entrepreneurs are successful leaders; they have power and motivate the entrepreneurial venture. The ability to produce the necessary leadership is the key determinant of achievement in all-human activities, the quality of leadership is therefore a decisive strength or weakness of any successful entrepreneurial endeavour.

Successful entrepreneurship requires creative, unique leadership qualities and personal styles. It involve seeking opportunities, initiating projects, gathering the physical, financial and human resources needed to carry out projects, setting goals for self and others, directing and guiding others to accomplish goals. Effective leadership is therefore a powerful tool required for successful entrepreneurship, business success and national development. Good leadership competence helps an entrepreneur to turn his/her business vision into reality.

7. Social Responsibility Competence: The establishment of every business enterprise is backed up by the profit motive. It is the profit that drives entrepreneurs to starting businesses, motivate shareholders into buying shares and private capital owners into investing their capital in a company. The profit motive though leads to the production of goods and services; the entrepreneur’s business venture also has the responsibility to embark on certain projects within and outside its operating environment as part of its social obligations.

Businesses should not only be concerned about the quality of goods and services they produce to generate profit but must also pursue policies that sell their enterprises by contributing to the quality of life in their operational environment. The business operators have responsibility to protect and improve society. Their actions during production and marketing should not in any way endanger the community or society. Entrepreneur can earn more profit by displaying high degree of corporate responsiveness, which is the ability of an organization to relate its operations and policies to the environment in ways that are mutually beneficial to the organization and the society.

The entrepreneur for example needs to make contribution to community development, product safety, employment generation, ethical business practices, and contribution towards educational activities in the community of operation. An enterprise for example can award scholarships to students, create opportunity for apprenticeship training and so on. Undertaking some of these social responsibilities may endear the entrepreneur’s enterprise to its host community; enhance his image and social standing, and consequently contributing significantly to his business success.

8. Decision making Competence: Decision making is very important to the success of an entrepreneur, this skill is at the core of every successful entrepreneurial activities. Decision making is the process of selecting a line of action from available alternatives. This selection process may be very difficult especially when the available alternatives are numerous or the decisions to be made or chosen from are risky ones.

Many potential entrepreneurs have difficulties in bringing their ideas to the market and creating a new business because making a decision is one thing and making the right decision in a given circumstance is another. The actual making of effective entrepreneurial decisions has resulted in several new businesses being started throughout the world by those having this decision making skill necessary for successful entrepreneurship.

An entrepreneur makes decision on a daily basis and therefore has to acquire adequate knowledge and skills in decision making to enable him/her make the right decisions.

Most of the entrepreneurial competences have been studied in isolation and with little effort to recognizing their mutual relationships to entrepreneurship success and business success. In a study aimed at explaining entrepreneurial competences in order to rank them according to the level of their importance to successful entrepreneurship by Edgar, Dirk and Danny, (2005) shows that, entrepreneurs on one hand considered decision making the most important competence while scholars in their different writings are in support of identifying business opportunities competence as the most important when embarking on an entrepreneurial venture.

In another study aimed at explaining how general and specific managerial competencies relate to the business success of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) by Laguna, Wiechetek, and Talik, (2013) proved that general and specific managerial competency is significant predictor of success in running a business. They further stated that specific managerial competency demonstrated to be a mediator between general competence and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) success.

In a similar study conducted by Rosária de Fatima Segger Macri Russo and Roberto Sbragia, (2010) who opined that the operational responsibilities of a project manager (planning and controlling) are in stark contrast to the characteristics of an entrepreneur. In light of the above contradictory viewpoint, their research which was directed at assessing whether managers showing entrepreneurial characteristics are associated with more successful projects or not found within their study sample an empirical evidence supported their hypothesis that the possibility of a given project having a successful outcome increases with the enterprising tendency of its manager.

Building New Leaders in Marketing, Management and Entrepreneurship

Can you imagine a high school organization shaping and molding teens to become future leaders in commerce and free enterprise? How will these skills make a difference in our national and global economies?

Teaching young people the skills to be innovative, responsible, dependable, competent and to work as a team is what it takes to build the leaders of tomorrow. Just as there are many programs designed to teach adults the advantages of marketing, strategic planning and entrepreneurship, a high school and collegiate organization also touches the lives of millions of students, administrators and business professionals in the same way.

DECA, formally known as Distributive Education Clubs of America, was established in 1946. For over 60 years, this organization offered membership to a select representation of students designed to develop future leaders for marketing and distribution. It recognizes a student’s outstanding ability in the Distributive Education program of study. As a former high school member of DECA, my participation and commitment to the program became very instrumental in my development of life skills that went beyond reading, writing and arithmetic.

The terminology of marketing was not used as fluently then as it is now. DECA opened a different world of opportunity in areas that prepared high school juniors and seniors in a unique and tailored way for the workforce. This organization resonates with an educational evolution of innovative technology and research that takes participants in DECA to a new level of enterprise. According to the guiding principles of DECA, “Student members leverage their DECA experience to become academically prepared, community oriented, professionally responsible and experienced leaders.”

The integration of classroom academics and real life scenarios help in the preparation process for emerging leaders and business professionals. One of the most valuable things about DECA, aside from the vast community of members you meet and the business connections you establish, is the foundation from your work ethic that paves the way for your future in marketing, management and entrepreneurship.

Why Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

When I ask entrepreneurs and small business owners, it is not unusual for not having any marketing plan. I once read that Sir Richard Branson never had any marketing plan when he started the 1st Virgin business many years ago. In fact in one study of entrepreneurship (I couldn’t recall the name of the study) was that as much as 50% of entrepreneurs and business owners don’t have a business plan and marketing plan when they first started the business.

What was the outcome? As much as 90% businesses started by entrepreneurs and small business went busted or failed within a year. I experienced one of the many busts few years ago (with my cafe business) because i don’t really have a proper and “the few solid sheets” called a marketing plan.

Coming back to my questions to entrepreneurs and small business owners, many of their answers sounded like this, “I don’t really have one”, “It’s in my head coz I know the business so well” and worse, “I don’t know what is marketing plan”! If you happen to be in one of these categories, rest assured you are not the only one. And to perfectly honest, that’s the ultimate reason why I turned back to my writing board where I was actually in the middle of writing (rather perfecting!) a personal development programs. I dropped that program and quickly drafted and started Marketing Plan Breakthrough S6PEC because many of you need it, seriously.

But, I don’t specifically mean my own Marketing Plan S6PEC Framework because there are so many versions and gurus out there that can give you the benefit of marketing plan. Of course I am going to say mine is a lot better because it’s a practical and practitioner’s guide. Other than being a consultant, I also have performed marketing manager role, entrepreneur role, business manager role, investor and student of entrepreneurship (during my MBA!). But that’s not my main point. My main point is for you to have a marketing plan to guide your business. Which one? Well it is up to you!

So, to put things in perspective; why do you really need a marketing plan?

Guide
– in a marketing you will think, record and document all your ideas, products and services offering, price, distribution channel, programs, sales direction, customer segment and so on. I have experienced whereby I suddenly realized that my business is not going on the right direction because I didn’t follow my marketing plan. Have you experienced that? Or perhaps you suddenly realized that the thing you do know supposed to be done many months ago because you forgot about it? And you forgot because you don’t jot it down and plan for it? This is what I mean that marketing plan as a guide. I cover this in my Marketing Plan Breakthrough S6PEC.

Ideas
– people said the more you talk about your ideas the more refine it becomes. I think this is true. Did you ever experience when you talk to more people you generated a lot more ideas? When people give you feedback it triggers another dimension of your ideas? If you are, so where do you keep all these ideas? It should be in a marketing plan.

Resource Plan
– in marketing, there is only one thing that’s scarce: RESOURCES. Some people have a lot of money but lacked ideas and another group is the other extreme; more ideas and less money. Many of us probably the later than the former! In the marketing plan we will tackle things like people to hire, pricing, distribution plan, sales programs budget and so on.

Strategy
– similar to business strategy, marketing plan will capture strategies required to support your business strategy. For example if your business goal is to achieve 20% increase in sales, your marketing strategy would be to 1) introduce new product, 2) increase price for premium offerings, 3) recruit more distributors and offer commission scheme and so on. Strategy is king. When you can see your business in totality, I can assure you that you will find it easier to manoeuvre. Marketing plan is the place to address all these issues.

Risk
– in our marketing plan we shouldn’t only concern about making money or positive points, we also should address the risk we are taking. for example it is common for a marketing plan to capture things like, “require additional staff to handle sales call”, “additional investment from the management budget will increase chances of increasing 10% sales target” and many more. Imagine if you can factor your risk earlier and think through it, wouldn’t it be better for you?

Pricing
– I once said in my Marketing Plan Breakthrough S6PEC that, “Price is the key determinants of your profits”. I stand firm to keep it that way. In your marketing plan, you will address pricing plan for your distributors, customers, multiple segments (some business charge differently – price discrimination) and cost price i.e. your raw materials and things like that. Not many address price correctly and bear in my mind that we need to standby few pricing plan to respond to the market. Take for example during festive season, if everyone is lowering price and slashed their price or even ignited a price war, what do you do about that? Follow suit or wait? If you want to follow, how far? If you want to wait, how long? You capture all this in pricing plan.

Customer Segment
– this is talked about most of the time, but let’s accept the fact that today’s customers are fragmented to smaller niches. Your product and service will not be consumed by only one segment and at critical mass. it is likely to be consumed by smaller segment and multi. No more critical mass, but rather a solid spread of niches. For example, who buys iPod’s today? If Apple only think about yuppies they are making a big mistake because apparently iPod is also used by women and people with active lifestyle. Another example, who buys from hypermarket? If hypermarket only focuses on households they may not survive or be successful like today. Hypermarket main segment is actually small business restaurant operators that buy in larger quantity compare to households and on daily basis. I’ve been there, I know! LOL

Corrective Plan
– a marketing plan is a living document. Trust me, the moment you have it and experience planning your marketing, you will realize this. Therefore it is a plan that allows you to assess past strategies and results and at the same time allow you to make necessary corrective measures to fit your business growth. for example, who expected the 2008 financial crisis to hit us so badly? No one other than the few so called “economists” but how did responded to it? Severely. Many businesses closed including many giants. But the good thing is, many have a solid marketing and business plans, therefore they make quick corrective actions and moved forward.

Innovation
– I once sat in a meeting of project and business updates and suddenly one of the directors said, actually with all that we have now we can be in the medical device market. Violaaa!!! This medical device company used to service government hospitals and they have all the equipments. It’s just that they never thought of going direct to the hospitals and take the lion share of the business. In that meeting, after going through the company yearly updates, this “innovation” came instantaneously and the next year they are pitching about it to the government hospitals directly.

Imagine if you can do all these and manage all these in a marketing plan? Systematic, organized, well thought, innovative and captured all your pertinent business information, don’t you find having a marketing plan is useful for your business?

One thing about my business, I don’t sell templates. I only sell REAL content. I believe that template is only to give you the general overview of direction but not how-to do it. That’s why I highly not recommended you choose to download or purchase marketing templates because I have seen them i personally think it won’t help you much. Let me share you a recent story about template.

I have childhood friend who wanted to open a small business. I offered him my service at $$$ which is so much below market rate because we have been friends for 20 years. He said no, because he thinks there is another cheaper way to do it or in other words “resourceful is my middle name” kinda thing. So I let him do that. I offered him five days later that, if he needs me to view the marketing plan I will do it for free over tea. He showed me a marketing template he bought for USD 25 and all he got was a template!!! I scolded him and cursed the site that provided such thing. It was just boxes everywhere and not even a paragraph on how to fill those boxes. Well, this is what I mean and I defy being in that business because that’s cheating. By the way i got to do my friend’s job after that.:)

Cutting-Edge Business Marketing and Planning

Building a business without a business plan is like building a house without a blue print. In the end, nothing may be left standing but a few vague dreams.

In addition to being an invaluable guideline for running your business, a business plan is a useful tool for attracting investors, employees, suppliers and strategic partners. All funding sources from banks to venture capitalists will judge your ability to succeed in large part based upon the thinking that has gone into your business plan.

It you have hesitated to start writing your plans because it seems daunting, do it in small one-to-two hour increment and start with the easy steps first.

Remember your first draft is meant to be revised, so don’t even try to make it perfect. Here are the components of a business plan:

1. The Title page includes the Company’s contact information and the name of the CEO.

2. The table of contents lists the main sections and their starting page members.

3. The Executive summary summarizes the highlight of your business plan. (Skip this until the rest of the plan is complete)

4. The Vision/mission describes your business and its products and /or services. It offers a snapshot of the present stage of your business, plus your vision of its future development. Include your goals and objectives here.

5. The company overview section provides basic information about the structures, management, staffing and strategic alliances of your company.

6. The products/service strategy section describes what makes your product or service unique or competitive. Include research and development plans as well as production and distribution channels, if applicable.

7. The Market Analysis section helps define your market. Describe your customers, give a detailed summary of the competitions products or services and identify any business and environmental opportunities and risks.

8. The Marketing plan section outlines all of your sales strategies, from advertising and promote to public, relations & internet marketing. Add budget numbers wherever possible.

9. Your financial plan includes projections requirement & its profit potential. It will be closely scrutinized by investors and bankers, so make sure your projections are plausible and include as much detail as possible.

10. Attached support documents and substance to your business plan and include Company brochures, management, resumes, patents, trade names, purchase orders for future sales etc.

DEVELOPING A SOLID MARKETING PLAN

Marketing makes it possible if you want to sell your products or services by letting people know what you do, where you are, how to get there and how someone will benefit from buying your product or service. As a smart business owner you need to plan effectively and come up with the right recipe to successfully market your business.

1. Do your research.

Find out if you’re supplying all of the necessarily sales tools. Determine the hurdles that are preventing you from gaining new customers. Review past marketing activities to see what worked. Use the success stories as the corner stone of your new plan. Check out what the competition is doing. You may want to survey some of existing customers or prospects to see how aware they are of your competitors.

Try out new technology for innovative way to market your business.

2. Establish a time period

Timing is critical to a good marketing plan. Determine what your resources are and allocate the resources to the time of year that works best for you. Use some of the activities listed below.

3. Allocate Your Budget

How much you budget for your marketing will affect how much marketing you can do. All companies need to market. You might want to allocate a set amount and determine which programme will get what percentage of the fund.

4. Select your activities

The following is a list of some of the activities you may wish to invest in.

* Direct mail

* Advertising

* Website

* Newsletters

* Referral programmes

* Sales tools

* Employee training

* Events

* Affiliate Marketing

* Public relations

5. Prioritize

Once you’ve come up with your list of marketing activities to pursue, prioritize. This will help you when you are allocating your marketing dollars.

There are two (2) factors to consider when you’re assembling your plan, you will want to consider:

How much money goes to each area as well as when to roll that activity out? Once you put it all together, you will want to end up with a plan that outlines your marketing activities by Calendar months as well as a budget containing the cost you anticipate. It is also important to schedule periodic evaluation of your marketing plan, don’t be afraid to modify and adapt. If a wonderful opportunity arises, you may need to relocate some of your funds. Careful planning is an important part of marketing but don’t be so stopped on the plan that you miss out on a good opportunity.

PROMOTING YOUR BUSINESS THROUGH A WEB PAGE

The WWW has leveled the playing field for Companies desiring to promote their business. No matter the size of your business, prospective customers view your page through the same browser they use to access any site. So it pays off to display information that is relevant, timely and interesting to existing and prospective customers. Successful business promotion involves the following:

1. PRODUCTS

The biggest benefit of using a website is to showcase your products and services; you can update the info, change the focus or refine your look without the expense and the time involved with profit media.

* Product descriptions

Don’t forget to cover features, benefits and target audience for all of the products you offer; graphic images are a nice addition here.

* Case Studies

It is easy to publish case studies or any examples of products in action these success stories help create images in the visitors mind and establish credibility.

* Public relation – Posting press releases stories about your business and other favorable news will bolster your standing as a solid reliable company.

* E-Commerce – Bring E-Commerce to your business, offer products or services for sale online. If you don’t have the budget or the capabilities at least include a photo gallery and clear ordering information.

2. CUSTOMER SERVICES

Customer Services on a Website encourages the user to help him or herself by providing all of the tools necessary to find the answers or the Company contact who do.

* Contact Information – List ordering instructions as well as clear contact information for customer services. Post a frequently asked question sections for popular questions.

* Company Information – Include directions, your location, key management contact, company history, earnings or investment information (if it’s relevant). Don’t leave people guessing.

* Adequate Staffing – If your site offers online ordering, you’ll need to have either staff around the clock or post your hours.

* Feedback is your friend – Put up a feedback/suggestion link. Your customer will feel valued and you just might learn something useful.

3. COMMUNITY

While this isn’t necessarily a revenue-building area, a strong sense of community can lead to loyalty which in turn can help retain existence customers and bring in new ones. Anything you can do to drive traffic to your site is a good idea. And if you can keep people coming back, so much the better.

* Collect email addresses and build a database for newsletters, special offers, holiday hours and any other bulk message you want to send.

* Online chat or message board – Chat is a great way to encourage participation, builds community, and engenders loyalty. One draw back staffing and technology lost. Message boards offer a less expensive option that is less dynamic but can provide a valuable resource as the “threads” in the discussion topic grew.

* Links to other sites – Create a “hot list” of links to industry, partner, product, or services, sites your client might find interest in. Tip; program the browser to open the link in a new window that way site remains open on a desktop.

* Community Involvement – If you sponsor a little league team, participate in a charitable fund raiser or perform some other community-base service, your Website is a nice vehicle for spreading the word and building support. Add an unusual, user-friendly feature.

* Post quirky quote of the day, highlight a customer of the month, offer an opt-in newsletter or offer an interaction feature.

* Giveaways – Popular ways to give away prizes include online surveys, random drawings or a reward for a post on message board. Gifts could be anything from a pager to a car, or theatre ticket to an online bookstore gift certificate. Company logo merchandise is always a good idea.

Common pitfalls to avoid.

The size of your material is so very important. A picture is worth a thousand words. Unless it’s so large that downloading the page takes much time than it’s worth. Use images that are small enough to load quickly. JPEG and GIF images are the easiest for websites.

Post your policies. This is especially important if you have return policy or any other policy that a customer may contest in the future.

Connect your system. If you offer Email, Website, telephone and fax and/or mail orders, make sure that all of your systems talk to each other.

There is nothing more frustrating than placing an order online and calling a phone no to follow, only to be told that the order isn’t in the call system because it was a Web order. If you build it, they won’t necessarily come. Don’t forget to register your site with online search engine. Some will let you do so for free, others will require a fee. There is a science to getting your site listed. You’ll do well to hire someone who is familiar with how it’s done, or be prepared to take a crash course.

Online Business Plan

There are three reasons why you need a business plan…

To obtain funding.
Every good potential lender or investor, be they bank, angel investor, venture capitalist or business partner, will require a business plan. They want to be comfortable that you have thought long and hard about your business rather than jumping straight into a business. More importantly they want to ensure that they have a good chance of not only having their investment returned, but also making a profit out of the arrangement.

Your business plan is your sales tool – it explains your business and your strategies to make this business a success. It shows how detailed and organized you are and how you intend to make a success of your business.

To introduce your business to potential investors.
The Executive Summary in undoubtedly the most important part of your business plan. Investors receive hundreds of business plans. They decide on their initial sort of who they want to investigate more thoroughly, by viewing the Executive Summary. Yours should be short, concise and eye catching. Investors like entrepreneurs who can concisely and accurately describe their business, products and potential. If you think of it, this is what an effective sales person does every day. If your business model is not planned well enough to be able to describe in a few well written pages then it is unlikely to be successful and very unlikely to be funded.

Once a potential investor has viewed your Executive Summary and become interested in your potential business, then they will read the rest of your business plan in order to gain a greater understanding of your business and investment requirements.

Your Executive Summary should be written after the main part of the business plan and should be no more than 3 pages long. It should summarize your business plan and include an overview of your business, your business models, what you are selling and in which market. You should also summarize your financial requirements and projections as well as provide your investor’s exit strategy.

To ensure that you have a carefully planned business
A well planned business is a business likely to succeed. Do you know who your potential customers are? Do you really know who they are, where they are and what they are looking to buy that you might be able to sell to them?

Do you know how to define your company within a sales environment? Where do you want your company to be in three years?

Do you know how many staff you will need? How you will pay for these staff?

Do you have a vigorous business model? Even know what a business model is?

Have you really thought through how you will run your business?

The answers to all of the above, plus many more will be discovered, decided and defined during the business planning process. If you use a professional business planning company, you have the advantageous of not only having a well written business plan, but you also benefit from the business knowledge of the planning company.

A well written and thought out business plan will help you to clarify your own thoughts about your business, how you want to present your company to your peers, customers and investors. It will help you find out who your best customers are, where they are, what they want to buy and at what price. It will identify any weaknesses you may have in your thinking. Lastly it will provide you with a business and marketing strategy combined with a robust financial model and business model that will give you confidence to make the leap into entrepreneurship.

…..and one why you need to have it professionally written.

Why use a professional business planning company?
A professional company will have experience of writing many different kinds of business plan for many different types of companies. A plan written for a Venture Capitalist is totally different to that which an Angel Investor or a bank requires. A professional company understands this and how to answer the particular concerns of each type of investor or lender. They will pitch you plan to your potential audience.

Investors are risking their hard earned capital by investing in your business and they are entitled to be comfortable that you have a clear business strategy a robust business model and have researched your potential market in great details. They also want to be comfortable that you understand all the risks that your new business faces.

Many business owners, who write their own business plans, often do not include all the information required or include information that is not required. Many amateur plans are unfocussed and discuss information that is not required in detail. An unfocussed and unstructured business plan gives off the wrong impression that you are also unfocussed and unstructured.

To a new entrepreneur you will be very short on time – in order to produce a business plan you will not only need a great deal of time to produce the plan but will also need to take time on a steep learning curve. A professional business plan company has climbed this curve and has enough experience to guide you through the whole process, set your mind working in the right direction and prompt your thought processes.

Hiring a professional allows you to concentrate on finding and servicing your customers, although a good professional will involve you at every stage and your input is definitely required to ensure that the plan reflects YOUR business.

Your business plan consultant will be objective in reviewing your business and have the experience to offer suggestions and advice during the writing process.

Online Business Plan

Everyone knows how important planning is. From as complex as strategizing how to defeat an enemy kingdom in a war, to as simple as planning for your next holiday outing, it cannot be denied that plans are integral to success. This is even more factual if you apply it to entrepreneurship because in a way businesses are little kingdoms that are actively or passively fighting against each other for the money of clients. Competing brands battle it out through product formulas and advertising. One brand of detergent will say it can totally clean your soiled clothes even if you just soak it in it, while its competitor will say it can do that and make your clothes softer because of the fabric softening agent they’ve incorporated in their detergent formula. In that scenario, the latter is the winner, but the battle is not yet finished. The loser in that round is sure to fire back with a better detergent formula or maybe with a more popular advertiser for their product. Behind all that, meticulous planning is done. And if you have an online business, no matter how small it is, you should do the same. You should have an online business plan.

Your online business plan will be what anchors you to your intended purposes for your business. In it will be indicated your mission and vision, how you plan to achieve those through people and finances. It cannot be a two-page essay. It should be as detailed as possible as it will be what you will show people with whom you can have professional relationships, such as investors, vendors, lenders, and banks. Here are some other tips when drawing up your business plan:

You should have a sound business concept in order to not make the common mistake of not selecting the right business from the start. You’re dealing with precious capital here, and you don’t want to experience the pain of seeing all that money you’ve saved up go down the drain because you simply thought this online business was cool, not considering your capabilities and your passion for it.

Understand your market by test-marketing the service or product you plan to offer the people. It is only common sense to do that. If you’re selling T-shirts, try marketing some of those to people close to you first and let them spread the word about it also to see who among their social circles like your product.

You should consider the industry your business will be a part of. It must be healthy, growing, and stable, and this is important especially if you’re a beginner in being an entrepreneur. Refrain from trying to make a huge drop of water in dry soil when you can join in other small clouds drizzling on it.

Look for capable people you can work with, and know your capabilities yourself. You will be a key ingredient in the online business plan you draw up. Assess your résumé and those of the people you will be involving. Look for people you can admire, who are smarter than you, more hardworking than you. This will be a great encouragement in the future when you get burned out or lose track of your original goals. Also, consider your and their financial handling skills. This is obviously very important as business is primarily about the circulation of money, from it being capital to it being profit. Draw up a good business plan and you’ve already done almost half the job of starting your very own online business.

Organizing Your Future

Finally deciding that you’re ready to start your own company is a big step, and if you’ve been on the fence for a while but are finally ready to start moving forward, you should be very proud of yourself. For years people have been watching while one success story after another comes out of the online world. The fact is that the internet presents the commerce and marketing alternatives for the future, and if you choose to start now, you can be one of those success stories as well. The best way to ensure success is to create a solid internet company business plan, and if you’re new to entrepreneurship, you might be nervous about your ability to do this. Here are some steps for creating a simple yet strong internet company business plan.

The first thing that you should know about creating your internet company business plan is that you are going to have to do some research, both online and in business and economy resources so that you can have a clear picture of the market that you’re about to enter. Most people call this part of the internet company business plan, market research or audience analysis.

Once you’ve started your internet company business plan with some research about the kinds of people that you want to market your products or services to, the types of products that these demographics tend to buy, and the demand for services like the ones that you want to offer, it’s time to take a little look at the competition. Although every internet company business plan likes to think that it is unique, the truth is that if you have a great idea, someone else probably had a similar idea already. Competition isn’t a reason to abandon your business idea, but it is something that you have to carefully consider before continuing with your plan.

Now that you have an internet company business plan that addresses the current market for your product or service, and you have acknowledge the other companies and organizations that are likely to be your most stiff competition, it is time to move onto the fun part. Every internet company business plan must include details about how daily operations are likely to run in the company, as well as what products they will be offering, where they will get their supplies and what the sales goals are and when those goals need to be met.

Barbara Hauge is an online business owner who teaches new and experienced entrepreneurs the secrets of selling anything to anyone, anywhere in the world.

Using Your Business Plan

Once you have completed developing and writing your business plan, do not file it away! This important document should be kept in an auspicious place where you can see it daily. Many business owners choose to highlight certain sections of their business plans by creating images or posters they can display around the office. Consider posting a portion or the entire plan on your company’s website so potential clients can review your goals and mission. Strive to enforce the rules set by your business plan and work hard to accomplish your goals. Using this document as a road map, begin working towards running the best company possible.

Many businesses spend an exorbitant amount of time and money creating their business plan to never see, read, or use it again. Do not become one of these entrepreneurs! It is not enough simply have a business plan somewhere in your midst, you must use it on a daily basis. Let your business plan become a way of life. Work to include aspects of your plan in all decisions regarding your business.

Your business plan may need to be updated from time to time in order to stay current with the ever-changing face of entrepreneurship. Upon completion of goals, take time to update your plan with how you managed to complete your goals and address new ones. Many businesses find some aspect of the plan was incorrect or did not work. Ratify your plan to include the reasons why this aspect failed and how you went about successfully completing the task.

By using your business plan on a daily basis and ensuring the plan is current, your business will have a greater chance for prolonged success. Many entrepreneurs who use their plan initially, but then allow it to fall to the wayside experience a flash in the pan scenario where their success eventually gives out. Instead, work diligently to consult and update your plan on a regular basis to ensure your success is lasting. Remember, your business plan reflects your business and the manner in which you intend to run your business. Allowing yourself and employees to use this plan regularly will ensure your business remains on the straight and narrow for the future.