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Do I Really Need a Business Plan?

Do I Really Need a Business Plan?

Today’s article is about, you guessed it, do I really need a business plan and why do I need one? Many people who start a business never take the time to write out a business plan. And that is a big mistake in my opinion.

 

Business Plans

A business plan can greatly increase your chances of success. And I’m assuming that you want your business to be a success, am I right?

 

The following are some reasons why every business needs to put a business plan into writing.

  • It helps to map out your future

If you have decided you are ready to start a business, your first step should be to write out your plans for what you want to do with the business and where you see the business going in the future. You have probably heard the old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” That is very true when it comes to your business. The more planning you do in the beginning, the greater success you will see in the future.

 

  • To secure financing

If you decide to take your home business to the next level, a business plan can help you secure financing. A financial institution will want to see, in writing, the reasons that they should loan you money. Simply walking in and telling them why you know you’ll be a success isn’t good enough. However, if you can hand your lender a document that states your business idea, your business goals, a list of steps you plan to take in order to reach your goals, as well as your estimated earnings, you will be seen as a professional and the lender will take you more seriously.

 

Determines your Action Plan

Your plan will also help you determine your action plan. Your action plan consists of the steps you plan on taking in order to achieve your goals. This is another task that people usually sidestep. Instead of “just kind of knowing” or “having the ideas in your head”, you should take the time to put them on paper. The reason this part of the business plan is so important is that it literally walks you from point A to point B. While your business plan, in general, serves as a map, your action plan is the “turn-by-turn directions.”

 

Having a business plan to present to your spouse or partner can also help them to realize your business idea is more than just a passing amusement. This can really help you, especially if they are skeptical. They can see that you are serious and will become more helpful and more encouraging. Having the support of your spouse or partner can really motivate you and help you find success. And that’s what you want your business to be, successful!

 

Need help with planning this out? I would be happy to help you. Book a call with me here – Free Appointment

Creating a One Page Business Plan

Creating a One Page Business Plan

Creating a one-page business plan is the topic of this article. Many small business owners get overwhelmed when it comes to the necessity of writing their business plans. It doesn’t have to be hard you just need to do it.

Unless you are looking for major financial funding from a bank or other loan institutions, a simple business plan that includes answers to the following questions will be perfect for your small business purposes.

 

The Simple Business Plan

 

1. Where am I now with my business?

2. Where do I want to be with my business? If you see your deadlines in front of you as you work your business, you’ll be more likely to meet them. Break this answer down into a timeline to make it easier, using 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, or whatever times work for your particular business.

If you are looking for a way to get a bit more detailed with your plan or you foresee needing it to request funding later, you may want to devote more time and attention. You can still easily do this by devoting no more than one page to each section of your business plan.

 

Creating A Detailed Business Plan

 

Page 1 – Overview

Include your vision for your company (possibilities), the purpose of creating your company (why you started your business),  and the mission of your company (plans for achieving).

Page 2 – Business Information

Here is where you would include information about yourself including name, business name, and entity, address, and phone number.

You’ll also want to summarize your business objectives on this page. List your goals and how you plan to reach them. Including what you’ll do to create a profit and what tools and resources you plan to use to do so.

Page 3 – Market & Customers

Answer the following questions in this section of your plan.

Your target market – Who are they? Where are they? How many?

What do you need to know about them?

Why do they need your service?

Is the market growing?

Give specifics about growth and spending habits. Do as much research on your market as you can and put it in this section, including any barriers or hard to overcome issues.

Page 4 – Competition

Who are your competitors? What makes you different and the same as those competitors? How are you competing with them? With price, quality, etc? How will your market feel about you compared to your competitors?

Page 5 – Marketing

This is a bit like your competition section because you’ll want to discuss how you will market your business products or services. What makes your business unique?

 

In Conclusion

 

No matter which method you use to create your business plan, be sure you are answering each of the questions to make it efficient for its purpose. Whether it’s for you or someone else, the ultimate goal of a business plan is to keep you on track and focused, and working toward growth.

As your business grows don’t forget to update your plan to grow with it as well.

Need help? I’d love to – Contact Me Here

Why Small Business Owners Don’t Set Goals

Why Small Business Owners Don’t Set Goals

Why small business owners don’t set goals is the topic of today’s article. There are several reasons why small business owners fail to set goals. It’s a common problem and can adversely affect their businesses.

The following are some of the more common reasons:

  • Afraid of Failure

By setting goals, if the business owner doesn’t meet them, others may see this as failing. This can be a fear for the owner and could be a big reason why they don’t set goals.

  • They Are Not Sure How

This is one of the biggest reasons why small business owners avoid setting goals; they don’t know how. It’s one thing to list a bunch of desires and another entirely to create a plan that may actually move a company forward.

  • Afraid of Success

Just as strong as failing is what happens when a business owner sees success. Are their companies big enough to handle that success? If they set goals, they may have to take on more activities such as hiring and expansion of facilities, etc.

Are You A Small Business Owner That Doesn’t Set Goals?

 

Here are a few more reasons why:

  • Will Be Held Accountable

When you make your goals official, you now have a roadmap that holds you accountable. This means that the expectation is much higher and can put unnecessary pressure on these already busy owners.

  • Too Time Consuming

It takes time to brainstorm ideas and to create tasks that are associated with the goals. This is time taken away from core business functions. Unless they have employees to take up the slack, many business owners are sole employees and have to manage the day-to-day activities.

  • Why Bother? You Are the Only One

This was covered somewhat in the previous paragraph but when you are the only person in your business, why do you have to come up with goals? Many small business owners think they know what needs to get done.

  • Just Go with the Flow

Many smaller business owners are under the impression that they can just wing it, i.e., to go with the flow. The belief is that whatever is going to happen will just happen as if it’s meant to be. Setting up goals is a waste of time for people who feel this way.

While there are business owners who have been successful without setting goals, most struggle with their business. In fact, this could be the single reason why a majority of small businesses won’t last past a couple of years.

So, in conclusion, by having a roadmap, you will be in a much better position to see what is working and what needs help. It sure is better than going back to square one and starting all over again!

Here’s an example of a business roadmap, it’s a screenshot from Product Plan, a resource you might try using for your business.

Business Roadmap

How to Stay Motivated with Your Business Goals

How to Stay Motivated with Your Business Goals

How to stay motivated with your business goals and why you should. Today’s topic is about staying motivated with your business goals, why you should, and why it’s important to business success. YOURS!!

Setting Your Business Goals

When you set up your business goals, you have an initial surge of motivation. The planning stages are exciting because of what you may accomplish by proceeding with your plan. However, as time passes and other aspects of your job get in the way, you may feel less motivated to make those achievements happen. You begin to make judgments about everything.

Motivational Ideas

Here are some ideas on how to stay motivated:

Keep a written copy of your goals and tasks on your desk. Create a daily task list that you print out and keep near you as you work. Daily tasks are more granular than the task list that supports the goals.

Then you can check them off as you complete them. Make sure those daily tasks are as relevant as possible to the tasks on the master list. It’s understandable that you will have to perform tasks outside of the goals but try to keep those to a minimum.

The Benefits

Think about the benefits of completing the goals for your business. You will be responsible for bringing your business to a new level. Of course, that is dependent on what the goals are. However, even smaller-scaled goals will contribute to the success of your business in some way.

Sometimes, as you work through your goals and tasks, you may find some that are no longer relevant. Perhaps your has changed direction, and some of the previous goals are no longer valid. It is a worthwhile exercise to readjust and create alternative plans or even start from scratch. Speak with your mentor or coach if the changes are major enough.

Tracking Your Goals

Another way to motivate yourself to keep on track with your goals is to imagine what may happen if you don’t complete them. Your business may stagnate, or you may not be getting the recognition you deserve. This can be a great way to ensure that you push forward and complete your goals.

When you and your team complete a task, find ways to reward yourselves. This can be as simple as going out for a celebratory drink after work. Don’t forget to invite your boss, even if he or she wasn’t as involved as the rest of the team. He or she may have been more involved at a higher level than you realize.

Achieving goals often become habit-forming (the good kind) so the more you do it, the higher the chances you will succeed.

Be Grateful 

Be Grateful 

How to be grateful while creating your business. It is easy to expect success as if being successful was a right instead of a privilege and a gift. That’s today’s discussion because it’s not a topic that most people think about. Do you?

The problem with expecting to succeed is that, without more, the self-absorption of that expectation can slowly and subtly poison everything around you, including your business. True success is earned and when it arrives it should be, and needs to be, accompanied by a stirring sense of gratitude.

What Is Gratitude?

This gratitude is not simply about being grateful for what you have achieved. It is about being grounded enough in the moment of success to remember and recognize everyone who helped you get to this particular time and place. Without this grounded gratefulness any success is lessened and will, in all likelihood, be fleeting. Now you don’t want that do you?

Are You Obligated?

So how do you repay those how helped you in achieving your goals? Well, obviously, acknowledging those individuals and sharing the benefits of your success with them is a great place to start.

Yet, above and beyond taking care of your nearest and dearest, you also need to pay it forward” by becoming a mentor and helper to others who are currently on their own journey towards success.

Think about how you can collaborate with someone else in order to further their efforts. See if you can contribute in some way to their projects. This contribution doesnt have to be monetary.

The Ways You Can Provide Gratitude

Advice and the wisdom of experience are often far more valuable than cold cash. 

This gratitude can extend even further. There are people who are currently helping you every day that you may not see as mentors. Your customers are among these people. Without them, success becomes impossible.

Take the time to let them know how important they are. Your vendors are also equally important. Yes, they provide you with materials that you pay them for, but a truly grounded and grateful attitude would also recognize each of them for the critical element they play in your business.

Look outside the box and youll see that success is not a solo effort, its a team sport. Where is your team? Have you thanked them lately?

Networking and Connecting 

Networking and Connecting 

 

Networking and connecting in business are super important. Just as in life, you cant go it alone. Its said that none of us are islands, but if we were, each of us would form a vast and interconnected archipelago. Bridges and boats would stream traffic between all these islands and that traffic is largely information. If you cut yourself off from this flow of information, either purposely or by mistake, you do so at your own peril. 

Why is it so important to make connections with other business owners? This topic of networking and connecting comes up often so why is it so important?

Here’s one reason why. If you don’t, the island next to you is going to make those connections you’re making and the information they provide and use it to his or her advantage. What are am I even talking about? Let me explain in further detail below.

Why You Should Network

Networking is an essential element of every successful business. It provides you with contacts, leads, clients, partners, suppliers, and much more. It will carry your name and your business reputation farther and more efficiently than most advertising will. Most importantly, it is an endless source of profit, ideas, collaboration, and support.

The IFS and the BUTS

If you are networking, you should do more. If youre not networking, you need to start. If you dont network, your business will stagnate and die. But why should I do this you might ask? Aren’t people just going to find me online searching for me? After all, I have a website! Ha…so does everyone else! 

Networking Tips

When youre networking you need to keep a couple of important points in mind.

First, every social or professional engagement can provide you with an opportunity to network. Theres often nothing more formal about it than an exchange of information and follow-up connection. Remember, as a business owner youre always on the clock, so to speak. Be ready to take advantage of a potentially lucrative networking situation should the opportunity arise. 

Second, when you are networking, treat people naturally, the way youd want to be treated. Offer no-strings advice. Often solving a problem for free generates more long-term profit than the cost of the advice or service. Also, listen more than you talk. Silence really can be golden when you take the time to hear what another person is saying. 

Finally, always remember that honesty is the best policy. Dont promise something that you cannot produce. Dont be someone youre not in order to close a deal. Be yourself and watch those connections grow! 

Connections & Business Collaborations

Networking and connecting with other business owners gives you the opportunity to collaborate with others also. You never know what you might teach each other or you might just find someone you can partner up with. Some of the most interesting aspects of your business might be just around the corner. So, remember that when you’re connecting with others.

 

Cultivate Your Creative Muscles 

Cultivate Your Creative Muscles 

Cultivate Your Creative Muscles

Creativity can be elusive. Its not something that you can summon at will. But, I certainly wish it would sometimes don’t you? Today we’re discussing how to cultivate your creative muscles to further your business success.

When creativity happens, it strikes like lightning. Like an explosion! Yet, like lightning, it can be maddeningly unpredictable. However, because creativity is an essential element of a successful business mindset, it is necessary to understand the creative process. And how you, the business owner, can cultivate your own creative juices. So how do you do that?

The Creative Process

The creative process is largely internal and unconscious. Click To Tweet No one ever wakes up and says Hey! Today Im going to be creative.” Would that be true for you or not?

Creativity is all about taking in a lot of influences and letting those influences combine, ferment and morph in your subconscious. Together, they form a sort of mental potting soil where new and different ideas have a chance to germinate and grow. The more things you learn, read, see and hear the more creative soil you are able to produce. Kinda sounds just like gardening, don’t you think?

Why Be Creative?

Be clever, innovative, and definitely think outside the box. As a business owner who wants to be creative, the best thing you can do is get out there in the world and open yourself up to new experiences. Be curious about many different things. It’s very natural to do this.

Develop hobbies.

Challenge yourself.

Do the unexpected.

The more you push your own personal envelope the more you are charging your own creative batteries. When those batteries are charged, it is much more likely that inspiration will strike. Be inspired by what you create.

Creativity Pushes You To Think Outside The Box

What other types of creativity can you think of to become successful? Maybe work on your content for your business. Make pretty graphics in Canva or whatever you use to make graphics. Stretch your imagination and create some unique items for your business.

There are so many things you could do, you just need to try things out. Use your imagination, daydream but most of all, just try different things out.

If you cultivate your creative muscles, you will find yourself energized and enthused to continue creating your successful business.

Who knows where that new idea will take you? 

Cultivating Optimism For Your Day

Cultivating Optimism For Your Day

Cultivating optimism is pretty easy, but you might be surprised to hear that optimism is not an innate quality. Optimism and pessimism are ways of looking at yourself and the world through a positive or negative filter.  Once you think of them as reflections of your mindset, it becomes much easier to believe you can change. Like any new behavior, you need to practice every day for it to become a habit. So how does cultivating optimism work?

You can try these six suggestions:

  1. Keep a journal

Journaling or keeping a diary allows you to process events and to get a different perspective on them. It encourages self-reflection and captures insights into your thinking and behavior.

You can write down what happened during your day and document, not just the bald facts but how you did it, what you did to make it happen, and what you did right. And, importantly, how it felt while you were doing it.

What Happened?

Don’t just record the good things (a promotion, a presentation, or meeting that went well). Remember to write down the thing that didn’t go so well and reflect on what happened, how you dealt with it, and what you might do differently next time.

 

Journaling Series

In case you missed it, there is an entire series about journaling that was posted. For the first in the series, you’ll want to check it out here.

 

  1. Laugh to Cultivate Optimism

Consciously notice the funny side of things and write them down. So, if the technology didn’t work, and you had to give the presentation without the slide deck, just laugh about it to your audience. I’m sure that they will understand. Tech doesn’t always work because sometimes the power might go out.

Maybe there was a fire drill in the middle of your crucial meeting. What can seem like a disaster at the time can also be looked back on as a comedy of errors.

 

Comedy Central

Like yesterday, I was attending a webinar when the internet went down, this was not the person’s fault. The entire internet when down in their area. You just have to laugh about it and just reschedule it, which is exactly what this person did.

 

  1. Write to your future

Write a letter or a journal entry that sets out the future you want. What job are you doing? Are you running your own business? What have you learned? What has changed? Imagining how your future life looks and feels can be a powerful motivator. Just like positive thinking will help you get out of negative headspace.

 

  1. Keep a kindness list

Have a page in your journal where you note down kind gestures. Write down when you are kind to someone, or when someone is kind to you. Even little things count, like opening a door for someone or letting them go first in the line for coffee. You’ll be surprised at how quickly they mount up, and your ever-lengthening list will give you a different perspective on things.

 

Here’s a HUGE one for cultivating optimism

 

  1. Say thank you

Write a letter or email, phone or visit someone (a person outside your family) who has been genuinely kind to you. Tell them how much you appreciate what they did or said and how it has affected your life.

I’m sure that there are plenty of people that come into your life you can practice this on. Just think about it, there will be people that pop into your mind.

 

  1. Choose positivity

Make a positive choice to develop and maintain an optimistic outlook. Do this every morning when you wake up. Decide that today is going to be a great day. Everyone will have some level of suffering in their life. Choosing to be optimistic will make it easier to bounce back from the bad times and to enjoy and be certain of the good times.

 

If you’re looking for help with any mindset issues, please contact me by using the form below. Let’s set up a call so we can get to know each other, it’s the best way I know how to help you.

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Tips for Developing Your Daily Optimism

Tips for Developing Your Daily Optimism

Optimism is a learned skill like any other skill or habit you want to develop. Having an optimistic attitude of yourself, of life and the world can have a huge impact on your mental wellbeing and resilience. It will even boost your immune system and lower your blood pressure. Studies have shown that optimists have better career prospects and live longer happier lives. Below are Tips for Developing your Daily Optimism. Enjoy reading this article in our continuing series on mindset.

Here are five tips for developing a more optimistic view of the world.

  1. Identify as an optimist

Self-talk is powerful! Start telling people you’re an optimist, and you’ll soon begin to believe it, and forget you were ever even slightly pessimistic.

  1. Accentuate the positives

Notice and acknowledge the positive things around you. Small things like having good food, clean water, and being able to read this article for example. Tips for Developing Your Daily Optimism is a good article to read especially when you start to feel down.

A good exercise is to list ten things you’re grateful for every day – they don’t have to be big things, jot down whatever comes to mind. Go ahead, I’ll wait!

  1. Stop comparing

No good comes from comparing yourself to others. There will always be someone who is richer, thinner, more successful than you at any one time, and their success or luck isn’t connected to you at all. Don’t be tempted to lock yourself into a small, comfortless cell of jealousy. Instead think that if they can do it, so can you. Think abundance (there’s more than enough for everybody) instead of scarcity (if they’re successful then you can’t be).

Tips for Developing Your Daily Optimism – It’s definitely a start, don’t you think so?

 

  1. Shift your focus

Optimism is dynamic and forward-looking. Develop a more optimistic outlook by moving on from the past and instead enjoy the present and actively look forward to the future. Optimists also don’t spend much time dwelling on whatever not-so-good things are in their lives. They acknowledge that bad things happen to everyone, and when bad things do happen, it’s not necessarily their fault. Bad times come, and bad times go, and good times usually happen just as often. Tips for Developing Your Daily Optimism is really great to help you focus on your goals also.

  1. Don’t get hung up on one outcome

Putting all your eggs in one basket is risky, and it’s highly likely you will be disappointed. It’s also harder to pick up and move on if things don’t work out. An optimist will be flexible about outcomes and see that there are lots of different possibilities. If this one didn’t work, another maybe even better opportunity will come along.

Optimism and pessimism are not hard-wired into people. They are qualities you can change. You can choose to develop a more positive outlook on life and find that you’ll have a happier, healthier, better life!

 

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Optimism

Stay tuned, there’s more to this mindset series!

 

Daily Optimism-The 5 Benefits

Daily Optimism-The 5 Benefits

There is increasing evidence that being optimistic about life has measurable benefits, not just for your mental health, but your physical well-being too. So, just what are the 5 Benefits of Daily Optimism?

Well, scientific studies have shown that as you become more optimistic, your life will improve in all sorts of ways. You’re even likely to have a longer life, just from being more hopeful and positive.

Among the many benefits of being optimistic are:

  1. Optimists are healthier

Optimists not only rate their own health and wellbeing as better, but studies have also shown that optimists have better mental and physical health than pessimists. In a study of the effects of positive psychological well-being, optimism was found to be the biggest predictor of improved heart health. Optimists also have lower blood pressure and cholesterol and a lower risk of developing heart disease.

  1. Optimists live longer

A study by the University of Pittsburgh found that of the 100,000 women studied over eight years, optimists were less likely to die from any cause than women with a more pessimistic outlook.  That was confirmed by a later Harvard study that showed the women who had a positive outlook had a much lower risk (nearly 30% less) of dying from serious illnesses. So, you can see that using the daily optimism habit is pretty important even to your health.

  1. Optimists are happier

It might seem obvious that an optimist would be happier than a pessimist. But, it has been shown that optimists are not just sunnier in their dispositions, but they are measurably happier in their relationships, jobs, and life in general. They deal better with stress, are more resilient in bad times, and produce less cortisol, the stress hormone that leads to inflammation and a lowered immune system.

Daily Optimism is Key

 

  1. Optimists have smoother career paths

Researchers from Duke University found that the optimistic MBA graduates they studied were more likely to find a job, earn a higher starting salary, and have more frequent promotions than the pessimists in the group. Optimists also deal better with negative feedback, seeing it as an opportunity to improve and increase their chance of promotion in the future.

  1. Optimists roll with the punches

Life’s adversities do not crush an optimist; they remain hopeful about the future. Optimism helps you deal with whatever limiting beliefs you have developed and shows you a way out. Being positive about life’s possibilities means you focus on what you can do. It boosts your confidence and makes you more likely to look for constructive solutions. It stops you from feeling stuck or at the mercy of other people.

If you’re optimistic, you know you can do it!

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5 Benefits of Daily Optimism
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Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

 

Join us next time as this series continues with more information about mindset.

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