Breaking Down Business Planning Roadblocks

Kicking & Screaming

Most business owners and department managers know they “should” have a plan. Yet in all my 25 years of helping business owners and managers grow their businesses, just four of my clients possessed a written plan, and only one was actually using it. Why do so many business owners skip this crucial step? Some common explanations I’ve heard go something like:

  • “I don’t need funding, so I don’t need a business plan.”
  • “My plan is going to change anyway, so why should I waste my time creating it?”
  • “It will take too much time.”
  • “I started to and found it overwhelming.”
  • “I didn’t start a business to do the types of things I did when I worked for someone else.”
  • “I don’t want a big company. I don’t want employees.” (I just created a J.O.B. for myself.)
  • “I don’t know which planning program to use; there are so many out there.”
  • “It’s expensive to plan and I need to spend my money on other things.”
  • “I don’t need to plan; I just want to work in my business.”

Does any of that sound familiar? For the most part, “winging it” from day to day works-until it doesn’t. Many business owners learn this the hard way. Whether at the $60,000 per year income level or at the $30 million level, without a plan, a business or its owner will eventually crash. Owners or managers will often agree to use a plan if someone else creates it for them. That’s a BIG no-no in my book. It’s important for business owners to gain the experience of the planning process. At least once, they must tackle the questions they’ve put off answering. Otherwise they run the risk of never gaining real clarity regarding the direction of their business.

The Care and Feeding of Business Owners & Managers

As the old saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” Clients who come to me for help with their strategic plan are often feeling a “pain”. It is a common experience, often necessary to compel them to take a “drink” from the strategic planning process. Here are a few common “pains” my clients have reported:

  • They’re not attracting their ideal clients and are sick and tired of working with jerks.
  • They need to be making more money.
  • Their spouse informed them that if they don’t spend more time together, they’ll file for a divorce.
  • Their spouse wants them to get a “real job”.
  • They’re retiring from a job in “x” years and want to have an immediate income at that time.
  • They’re retiring in “x” years and want all the work, time, and money they invested in their business to be their nest egg.
  • They’ve discovered that a business isn’t just a place to work, but an entity to grow.
  • “Someone” told them they had to create a plan.
  • “Someone” told them that their marketing is “all over the place”.
  • They need help managing their company or department.
  • They became an “accidental” business owner or were promoted suddenly, and need help fast.
  • They’re turning 50 and want to examine the next 30 years of their business with someone who isn’t as vested in the business as they are.
  • They want to work one day per month because they want to start a non-profit.

These and many other possible “pains” or problems will hopefully lead a business owner to re-evaluate the need for planning. But where to begin? The task of planning can seem monumental. Luckily, there is a one-page process which makes planning not only exciting, but simple and straightforward.

When the Light Bulb Flickers

When someone seeks my services, they often need more clients, better clients, or more money. In determining what is hindering their growth, we find they have no vision, mission, objectives, or strategies written down. They usually have no action plan, marketing plan, or financial plan, either. Here are some reasons they’ve given for finally taking the planning plunge:

  • “My original business vision was thrown to the wind and all I’ve been doing is looking at ‘today’.”
  • “I realized that the business I envisioned is not what I have, and I don’t like the business I have.”
  • “I read Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited and realized I need systems.”
  • “I’m getting older. I want to get top dollar for my business in (5, 10, or 20) years, and I know I need to have a turn-key business. My business is anything but turn-key.”
  • “I’m getting bored of running my company, and want to get it ready to sell/hire a CEO.”
  • “I have tried to grow my business for the last two years and what I’ve done isn’t working.”
  • “I want to start my business right; I know I need a plan.”
  • “I want to earn more money.”
  • “I’m frazzled. I network and market all the time and am not seeing the results I once saw.”
  • “I am creating a new position within the company. I need to bring the concept to my boss in an organized way.”
  • “Although I work for a company, I’m paid on commission, and I need a plan to expand.”
  • “I want to open a branch office, but I can’t see having two unorganized offices. I need the first office organized, and systems created before I start the second.”
  • “I don’t like my business model but don’t know what to change or how to do it.”
  • “My business does not have an inner brand, niche, or focus.”

Back in 2000, with a year-old business of my own, I had the opportunity to attend a one-day planning program which helped me to create a plan on a single page. This plan would encompass all of the plans mentioned above. As a participant, I realized the importance of planning strategically before attempting execution or implementation. Today, my clients use that same methodology to bring greater success to their businesses. And when someone wants me to create the plan for them, I do it with them. My clients are present during the process, learning a system that can be reused in the future to make their lives easier-and more profitable-in the long run.

Small Business Owners – Know the Success Methods Before Getting the Stimulus Money the Business

Anyone who wants to start a small business may sometimes find it difficult to start because of the capital that involves the formation and establishing of the business. For instance, one would wish to get government grant or stimulus money for financing the small business. But before even one establishes his business, he may ask, Where do small business get stimulus money? What are the Impact of the economic conditions to small businesses? But above all this is the fact that is key motive for starting or operating of the business, and that is to see a profit in the longrun. In all major businesses whether small or big, whether started on a limited capital or budget, the key factor is how to market the business successfully and quickly receive a better ratio of Return on Investment, or Break even in the short run that is,sell to a point where the expenses are all equal to revenue.

How to market and profit from your small business is all a small business owner needs to do. But did you know that 80% of your prospects and customers can largely come through and by use of the internet? When did you last Google your business name, the name of your company or even your own name and it appeared on the search list?

To learn of the most profitable strategies and techniques that can change your small business and create a booming effect to your revenue base, learn of the latest marketing techniques that can help boost by a large percentage the sales of your business delivered to you through the wonderful power of the Internet.

Small business owners can exponentially record a rapid growth in sales and revenue by 400% almost overnight, through employing the techniques of the Internet.

All businesses can be promoted in a greater way over the internet, the only cutting point between promoting a successful business online and the failure of the business is the techniques and methods that are applied in promoting the business. The techniques that can be learned through marketing the business on the internet can help anyone who is here to promote the business and achieve the results that one never thought achievable.

But in Promoting a successful business online, real work is required and a lot of determination,as long the resources and tools provided by the system are to be applied diligently. Combined with the entrepreneurial spirit and self drive, one is sure to achieve the results that one desire to get and in a greater way.

The statistics that have always shown that all businesses that are formed don’t usually stay in business within a period of 4-6 years. All that one need to know in promoting the business is the fact that Internet users have increased over the years and the fact that it can facilitate the reach of the wide global market in a short time and one can see a large increase of sales in the long run.

Online marketing techniques and skills that offers the latest, most innovative and groundbreaking trends of marketing skills, given that the internet is a growing entity,can dramatically help improve sales.
Network marketers, business owners, mortgage professionals, real estate agents and all professionals through the education and training offered through the internet skills have been continually in a position to use the profound techniques offered to making money online and create massive income through the wonderful and educational training offered

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Who Wants To Know About High Profit Low Cost Business Ideas?

Low cost business ideas are fun to find. Once you find your ideal idea you know you’re in for a quick turnaround of profit in your first year in some cases, and in others even on your first day of business!

Who wants to know about high profit low cost business ideas? We all do! I have chosen 5 core areas I believe are high potential businesses with a history of long-term sustainability, healthy growth and demand, and can be started with a low budget in many cases.

The 5 low cost business ideas I have chosen are in Jewelry, Arts & Crafts, Interior Designing, Manufacturer and Wholesale products, and SME Bookkeeping. Lets get started.

Jewelry Seller

Think you can run your very own dream jewelry business? We all know that our the love for gold and silver, and for precious stones like diamonds, rubies, and sapphires, is so age old this trade is going to last as long as there is romance on this planet of ours. You can bet your enchiladas the jewelry business is here to stay and to service that love!

While this business may sound expensive to run, you can start small by spending only a few hundred dollars in carefully selecting your merchandise at good wholesale prices.

I have a client who works for a telecommunication company who also runs a part-time jewelry business on the side. She buys pieces she adores and only from a couple of trusted gems and jewelry wholesale suppliers and on sells her merchandise to her clients. You can easily Google for these wholesalers in your local area.

Buy only from certified suppliers who can give you assurance you are buying the genuine article. Once you find reliable suppliers, stick with those. My client runs her business without a fixed shop by promoting her business to bridal shows and to expos that women and couples attend, women organizations, business owners, company executives, and at the local chamber of commerce. She does well. She also sells her more unique merchandise at high markups to other jewelry stores.

Make sure you buy pieces that have that ‘sellable’ factor, the ones that have classic designs at very competitive prices. Try to stay away from abstract designs when you start out, unless you want to specialize in certain types of looks and make.

If you are going to set up shop try checking out these ideal spots:

  • Shop in a busy mall
  • Busy city areas
  • Tourist hot spots and resorts
  • Uptown hotels
  • Your own online store
  • eBay
  • Bridal shows
  • High fashion zones

One great piece of advice she gave me was to make sure the collection you buy has an interesting mix of gems that are already set, gold and silver pieces, and an array of loose gem stones. You will need classy looking velvet boxes and pouches, and black velvet mats to place your merchandise to showcase to the customer.

One thing about this business is that it will never be without an audience of interested or potential buyers.

Interior Designer and Consultant

An interior designer usually ‘discovers’ his or her own unique decorating flair early in life. If you have a natural passion and talent for decorating and designing interiors, this might be a great business to let loose your designing skills and be paid well for it!

The reason why I feel this is potentially a very good business idea is from a recent personal experience I had. My wife and I hired a decorator and for around $400 she helped us with some needed renovation ideas. She came to our house and gave us the best 3 hours in home decorating tips and ideas. For us, it was well worth the money we spent which wasn’t that much in the scheme of things. In fact she’s been back several times to drop off a few more research she did on what we had asked her about. We got a new lease of inspiration for our home that we couldn’t have achieved ourselves and she got our life long recommendation.

By the way, we were referred to her when we were looking at color schemes at our local paint shop. So go and make sure you network at places that spins off from what you do such as the paint shop, the hardware store, the curtain place, the local real estate office and so on. You get the idea.

There will be so many situations and places that will require a service like this if you stop to think about it. Here are some you can start your list on:

  • Businesses with reception areas
  • Practices such as doctor’s waiting rooms
  • Private residences that are going through renovation
  • Government offices
  • Luxury boats and yachts
  • Commercial premises
  • Factory offices
  • Portables such as classrooms and temporary offices
  • Tired-looking business establishments
  • Businesses that have just moved in

It would help your business success greatly if you have evidence of experience, testimonials and perhaps a relevant qualification. A nice website would be advisable to showcase your work.

Arts & Crafts Market Business

Ah this is an evergreen. No matter how futuristic life gets we will always need the works of interesting arts, paintings, and hand-made crafts to bring that touch of life and joy into a place.

This is another lucrative business idea and it can be started with a few hundred dollars for products and material. By observing the constant announcements of art shows, craft fairs and market days held in streets, shop fronts, galleries and open car park spaces across the country and in every suburb you can tell this is one thriving industry.

If you are good at creating something that people have said they’d give you money for, the arts and craft business might be a business to consider seriously and get paid for what you love doing. If so, here are some things you can do to get a feel of the potential before you start out:

  • Check out a few arts and craft shows and markets yourself
  • Get a feel of how you might run your business
  • Investigate the various costs to hiring a booth or a stand
  • Factor in transport costs, packaging, and signage
  • Apply for a credit card machine
  • Get a permit if required
  • Call your local council and make some enquiries
  • Learn some good customer service techniques

If it is convenient to do so (I don’t see many operators do this) try to collect contact details of your customers to build a dedicated mailing list. This is going to come in handy to make your business hum with profitability.

By building a list you can offer your customers a periodical arts newsletter and use it to announce where and when your next show or stand will be at and the specials you are going to offer. The more you interact with your list, the stronger the loyalty you will earn. Your list will eventually be worth a lot of more money than you imagined. Start by collecting email addresses and or telephone numbers of your customers and from enquiries you get.

Do the above and pretty soon you will have more people than you can manage!

Independent Sales Rep For A Manufacturer/Wholesaler

This idea may sound like a job, but its not. Yes, there are sales reps that are employed by companies to represent them but there are many manufacturers and suppliers who prefer independent sales reps who can sell for them, all at a cut of the sales or for an agreed sum. This can be a quick-earn business that you can get up and running in no time.

You can source for products to sell by visiting trade expos, industry showings, to the manufacturers themselves. Choose the kind of products you want to sell. Do your research. Find out what the market wants. Use good old Google to find a good list of manufacturers and product suppliers you can contact. They would love to hear from you. If you can prove your ability and experience they would love to load you up with goodies.

You are not tied to a fixed schedule or territory, however this might depend of the needs and demands and the specific arrangements both parties agree on.

Try to start with products you can physically transport and showcase. Although this is not necessarily always the case with every manufacturer, sometimes you can sell large machineries and equipment that normally are just not possible to access or carry. Your customers are already used to seeing these ‘heavy’ products via brochures and video presentations.

As you can see, this is a business you can start as quickly as you find a supplier who will agree for you to rep for them. If you get a hold of a product that enjoys high demand you can be turning a profit on your first sale.

Your market is dual, you can sell direct to businesses or the end user retail consumer, depending on what you are selling.

Bookkeeping Services to SMEs

If you are meticulous about balancing the account, and numbers bring a smile to your face, then you were made for this business!

Ask anyone at a party or your local businesses, chances are that they will tell you that their accounts are in a mess or that they dread pulling out their financial statements to fix them. That’s where you come in!

Here are some of the key issues that businesses and business owners suffer from that make the bookkeeping service such an attractive proposition for the right person:

  • They are just too busy to do their books
  • They dread ‘doing the numbers’
  • They feel inadequate to do so
  • They are not happy with their current bookkeeper
  • They struggle with keeping up to date with the ever-changing accounting laws

Depending on the depth and breath of what you offer you can charge anywhere from around $20 to $70 an hour and packaged deals or fixed fees for more specialized preparation of financial and tax statements.

Here are some things to consider before you start:

  • Your qualification to be a bookkeeper
  • Public liability and professional indemnity insurances
  • Permits
  • An office or office area
  • Telephone to contact businesses
  • Stationary with letterhead and business cards
  • Computer and or laptop
  • Bookkeeping software program
  • Scanner and fax
  • Back up hard drive
  • Filing cabinets
  • Marketing budget to promote your business
  • An optional answering service

While its nice to hold a double degree in math, nowadays SME operators just want a good bookkeeper who can spot the numbers and provide accurate and great looking balanced monthly statements.

Most business owners and individuals require some kind of bookkeeping help and advice, and many can’t afford to keep a full time bookkeeper. The idea of an off-site on-demand bookkeeping service is great news for businesses and for individuals. It’s a boom industry for anyone who can deliver on-time accurate bookkeeping management.

In summary

I hope you’ve enjoyed my 5 low cost business ideas in Jewelry, Arts & Crafts, Interior Designing, Manufacturer and Wholesale products, and SME Bookkeeping. These were chosen for their potential to turn a profit quickly. However, its advisable that you seek guidance from a professional before embarking on any of the ideas listed here.

In closing let me list a few more low cost business ideas for you to investigate. I feel these have unique market potential and long term business growth:

  • Wellness & Diet Personal Instructor
  • Gift and Fruit Basket Business
  • Health Snacks Vending Machine Business
  • Resume and Covering Letter services
  • Residential and Commercial Cleaning Business
  • Beauty and Hair Supply Business
  • T-Shirt With Unusual Taglines business
  • Outdoor Furniture For Children Business
  • Garden and Organic Lawn Care Business
  • Band Promoter & Scout
  • Mobile Hairdresser Service
  • Private Home Tutoring Service

There’s nothing like finding your own low cost business idea that can turn a profit in your first year! Be independent. Go for it.