http://www.sba.gov/community/blog/rss/13741/feed en Business Planning Tutorials http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials/business-planning-tutorials <p>Have you struggled with mapping out your business&#39;s plan? Is it an item on your To Do List that you keep ignoring? Have you even considered writing one?</p> <p>Tim Berry, one of <a href="/community/blogs/guest-blogs/the-industry-word">The Industry Word</a> authors, has contributed a<a href="http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials" title="Business planning tutorials"> video series</a> in his area of expertise,<br /> Business Planning.</p> <p>Enjoy!</p> http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials/business-planning-tutorials#comments http://www.sba.gov/crss/node/118481 Business Planning Tutorials Managing Starting Mon, 26 Apr 2010 09:37:07 +0000 Stephen Morris 118481 at http://www.sba.gov Business Planning: Business Plan Flesh and Bones http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials/business-planning-business-plan-flesh-an <p>I like to think of defining flesh and bones as setting the steps. You have a strategy, you&rsquo;ve got the heart of your business settled, but you want to set it down into concrete steps you can follow and track.</p> <p>To follow up on a plan and turn it into effective management, you have to have specifics that you can track and manage. This turns a plan into a planning process, and it makes for management. This section deals with the specific steps you can take to make things happen. Remember: Good business planning is nine parts implementation for every one part strategy.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" src="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/jv1z6UhTRkw?rel=0" width="640"></iframe></p> http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials/business-planning-business-plan-flesh-an#comments http://www.sba.gov/crss/node/118441 Business Planning Tutorials Fri, 12 Feb 2010 05:21:36 +0000 Tim Berry 118441 at http://www.sba.gov Business Planning: Dress and Grow Your Business Plan http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials/business-planning-dress-and-grow-your-bu <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As your company grows, your planning grows. As you grow, if you add people to your team, then you want to bring them into the process, and make sure you&rsquo;re on the same page. You bring in skills.</p> <p>The business gets more complex as it grows. Cash flow gets more sophisticated. You start to manage the money and administration differently.</p> <p>Or you have a business plan event. You want or need to present a complete formal business plan, or the elevator speech, or the pitch presentation, or summary memo.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s what this section is about. Grow it and dress it as needed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" src="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/CHz8i9-tvz4?rel=0" width="640"></iframe></p> http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials/business-planning-dress-and-grow-your-bu#comments http://www.sba.gov/crss/node/118461 Business Planning Tutorials Fri, 12 Feb 2010 05:21:36 +0000 Tim Berry 118461 at http://www.sba.gov Business Planning: Form Follows Function http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials/business-planning-form-follows-function <p>Your plan-as-you-go business plan is no more than what you need to run your business. In the beginning, it might be as simple as an elevator speech, as explained in the Dressing and Growing section. Be able to talk through those key points: the customer story, what makes you unique, how you&rsquo;re focusing and on what you&rsquo;re focusing, and, if it comes to that, your close &mdash; what you want from whoever is listening.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Or it might be a simple sales forecast, and perhaps, a burn rate in the very beginning because you know what you&rsquo;re doing &mdash; maybe you&rsquo;ve been doing it for years already and you don&rsquo;t need to verbalize it right at this moment &mdash; and you&rsquo;ll set those figures down and start tracking them.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="message-edit-history"><span class="edit-author">Message Edited by AriM on </span><span class="local-date">08-28-2009</span><span class="local-time"> 12:16 PM</span></div> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" src="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/uJewJ6n-rBk?rel=0" width="640"></iframe></p> http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials/business-planning-form-follows-function#comments http://www.sba.gov/crss/node/118411 Business Planning Tutorials Fri, 12 Feb 2010 05:21:36 +0000 Tim Berry 118411 at http://www.sba.gov Business Planning: Introduction and Orientation http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials/business-planning-introduction-and-orien <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" src="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/El9EANupLjY?rel=0" width="640"></iframe></p> <div class="message-edit-history">&nbsp;</div> <div class="message-edit-history">&nbsp;</div> <div class="message-edit-history"><span class="edit-author">Message Edited by AriM on </span><span class="local-date">08-28-2009</span><span class="local-time"> 11:39 AM</span></div> <div class="message-edit-history"><span class="edit-author">Message Edited by AriM on </span><span class="local-date">08-28-2009</span><span class="local-time"> 11:52 AM</span></div> http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials/business-planning-introduction-and-orien#comments http://www.sba.gov/crss/node/118391 Business Planning Tutorials Fri, 12 Feb 2010 05:21:36 +0000 Tim Berry 118391 at http://www.sba.gov Business Planning: Planning is Management http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials/business-planning-planning-management <p>Planning should become management and better business, long-term progress towards goals, prioritizing, and focus; but you have to do it. It&rsquo;s up to you to make your planning work. It&rsquo;s not really about the plan, per se; it&rsquo;s about the discipline to use the plan to run the business.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A good business planning process grows organically; it evolves as your business evolves. With monthly review schedules and performance tracking, your planning, unlike the classic plan document, stays alive and present &ndash; on top of your mind where you consider it regularly.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>For that to work, you have to keep assumptions at the forefront. You have to develop accountability by setting goals, usually with metrics, and then following up on performance with people.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Keep the plan visible, to all team members, using the review meetings if nothing else. Ideally, key points, numbers, metrics, and assumptions are somewhere that team members can see them.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="message-edit-history"><span class="edit-author">Message Edited by AriM on </span><span class="local-date">08-28-2009</span><span class="local-time"> 12:15 PM</span></div> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" src="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/oTEoOJq_4KU?rel=0" width="640"></iframe></p> http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials/business-planning-planning-management#comments http://www.sba.gov/crss/node/118421 Business Planning Tutorials Fri, 12 Feb 2010 05:21:36 +0000 Tim Berry 118421 at http://www.sba.gov Business Planning: Planning is Modular http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials/business-planning-planning-modular <p>Think of your business plan as a matter of blocks, like interrelated pieces. You don&rsquo;t have to have the whole block structure done before you take any next steps. Start your blocks where you like. Some common blocks are the mantra, the sales forecast, the mission statement , the keys to success, maybe a break-even analysis, or a SWOT, or how about the heart of your plan, as in the whole discussion of <em>who</em> needs your product or service and <em>why</em> and <em>what</em> it is? A sales forecast is a block, and so is an employee or personnel plan, as in laying out month by month how many people will be working in your company, and how much each of them will be paid.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The key here is that you don&rsquo;t get bogged down on having a finished business plan before you do anything else. You&rsquo;re planning as you go. You&rsquo;ve heard the stories of people who spent months developing their plan, but never get started. So instead of that, think of the blocks. Choose where you want to start. Get going.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="message-edit-history"><span class="edit-author">Message Edited by AriM on </span><span class="local-date">08-28-2009</span><span class="local-time"> 12:23 PM</span></div> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" src="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/BakjKqer5h4?rel=0" width="640"></iframe></p> http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials/business-planning-planning-modular#comments http://www.sba.gov/crss/node/118401 Business Planning Tutorials Fri, 12 Feb 2010 05:21:36 +0000 Tim Berry 118401 at http://www.sba.gov Business Planning: Sales Forecast http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials/business-planning-sales-forecast <p>Your sales forecast is the backbone of your business plan. People measure a business and its growth by sales, and your sales forecast sets the standard for expenses, profits and growth. The sales forecast is almost always going to be the first set of numbers you&rsquo;ll track for plan vs. actual use. This is what you&rsquo;ll do even if you do no other numbers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When it comes to forecasting sales, don&rsquo;t fall for the trap that says forecasting takes training, mathematics or advanced degrees. Forecasting is mainly educated guessing. So don&rsquo;t expect to get it perfect; just make it reasonable. There&rsquo;s no business owner who isn&rsquo;t qualified to forecast sales &mdash; you don&rsquo;t need a business degree or accountant&rsquo;s certification. What you need is common sense, research of the factors, and motivation to make an educated guess.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" src="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/mhU71wQb_wo?rel=0" width="640"></iframe><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" src="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/k4lqnfVcXJk?rel=0" width="640"></iframe><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" src="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/csYnwpaTE0o?rel=0" width="640"></iframe></p> http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials/business-planning-sales-forecast#comments http://www.sba.gov/crss/node/118451 Business Planning Tutorials Fri, 12 Feb 2010 05:21:36 +0000 Tim Berry 118451 at http://www.sba.gov Business Planning: Strategy http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials/business-planning-strategy <p>I often suggest building a plan like an artichoke, with its heart in the center and the rest of the plan wrapping up and around it. I also suggests starting anywhere you like, which is a bit of a contradiction, or perhaps just another paradox. You can start anywhere you like, but build your plan around the heart, which implies that the heart comes first. And usually it does.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The heart of the plan, which is also the heart of the business, is made up of a group of three core concepts that can&rsquo;t be separated: market, identity, and focus. Don&rsquo;t pull them apart. It&rsquo;s the interrelationship between them that drives your business.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>So let&rsquo;s look at what I call the heart of the plan-as-you-go business plan, the core strategy, which is this enmeshed combination of the business identity, the target market element, and the strategic focus. I&rsquo;m going to go through each of these in more detail in the rest of this section, but let&rsquo;s first establish that they are completely interrelated, and that you never separate any one of them from the other two.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="message-edit-history"><span class="edit-author">Message Edited by AriM on </span><span class="local-date">08-28-2009</span><span class="local-time"> 12:14 PM</span></div> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" src="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/z7m32e8yHcQ?rel=0" width="640"></iframe></p> http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials/business-planning-strategy#comments http://www.sba.gov/crss/node/118431 Business Planning Tutorials Fri, 12 Feb 2010 05:21:36 +0000 Tim Berry 118431 at http://www.sba.gov Business Planning: The Formal Business Plan Document http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials/business-planning-formal-business-plan-d <p>I hope at this point I&rsquo;ve made it clear that you don&rsquo;t necessarily need to have a standard, traditional, formal business plan. Until you really need to show a plan to some outsider who needs, wants, or expects the full formal plan, you can just use your plan-as-you-go plan to reap the benefits and avoid the hassle of the document.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>However, there are business reasons that force you to produce the traditional plan document. We call these business plan events. The more common business plan events are related to seeking loans or investments. Ironically, the bank loan manager, angel investor, or venture capitalist may not read your plan, but most of them want to know you have one, which means they want it to appear in their inbox or on their desk.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Approaching a business plan event without being ready to produce a traditional business plan is something like approaching a publisher without having an outline and sample chapter. You&rsquo;ll look dumb if you don&rsquo;t have it. So have it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The good news is that you already have the core of your plan ready, so you&rsquo;re a long way down the path from start to done. You have only to dress it up to make it a formal business plan. You know what you want to do, and why, so from here you spin it out from your core into the proper words. You already have the numbers, right? And you know your strategy, too, as well as your dates, and deadlines, responsibility assignments, and metrics.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" src="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/hBA1jy81mps?rel=0" width="640"></iframe><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" src="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/KiMOaXgIkD0?rel=0" width="640"></iframe><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" src="http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/1Yteqqd7cJg?rel=0" width="640"></iframe></p> http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials/business-planning-formal-business-plan-d#comments http://www.sba.gov/crss/node/118471 Business Planning Tutorials Fri, 12 Feb 2010 05:21:36 +0000 Tim Berry 118471 at http://www.sba.gov Crisis Communications Planning http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials/crisis-communications-planning <p>One of the first things you need when starting a business is a plan.&nbsp; Your business plan serves as your guidebook for business success. The same type of logic applies to a business disaster plan.</p> <p>If you have to close your doors after an emergency or a natural disaster, you&rsquo;ve got a short amount of time to communicate effectively with your staff, customers, vendors, and the media. Precise, effective communication&mdash;within your organization, and out to the public&mdash;is vital for a smooth recovery. This is where your disaster plan kicks in.&nbsp; SBA and Agility Recovery Solutions can help you build your plan.</p> <p>Bob Boyd, vice president of Agility Recovery Solutions, provided tips on crisis communications planning for small businesses during a recent webinar. These tips will help you construct your disaster plan.&nbsp; Here&rsquo;s the link:&nbsp; <a href="http://owl.li/5nUrj"><u>http://owl.li/5nUrj</u></a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re looking for more business continuity tips, visit Agility&rsquo;s website at <a href="http://www.preparemybusiness.org/education"><u>http://www.preparemybusiness.org/education</u></a>to check out past webinars.</p> <p>Remember, being prepared for an emergency or natural disaster can make the difference between rebuilding quickly, or languishing in confusion.</p> http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/community-blogs/business-planning-tutorials/crisis-communications-planning#comments http://www.sba.gov/crss/node/119991 Business Planning Tutorials Fri, 01 Jan 2010 21:34:47 +0000 Carol Chastang 119991 at http://www.sba.gov