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 online courses Session 2

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PostSubject: online courses Session 2   Sat May 07, 2011 1:36 pm

The primary function of a business plan is to create a written outline that evaluates all aspects of the economic prospects of either a start-up or an operating business. We believe that preparing and maintaining a business plan is important for any business regardless of its size or nature. But it will not insure your success. If you maintain a correct assessment of the changing economics of your business, your plan will provide a useful roadmap as well as a financing tool. But if you have miscalculated the potential, then your business plan could become a roadmap leading to failure.

The My Own Business course contains sixteen sessions which cover the important areas of risk when operating a business. At the end of each session there is a business plan template which you can fill in and print off. Your overall business plan will be made up by compiling together these filled-in templates at the end of each session. (Session 2 contains templates for both Sessions 1 and 2.) Your resulting plan will focus specifically on your own business and goals. To begin, let's take a preview look at each of the 16 Business Plan Sections:

Search engines, libraries and bookstores provide sources that sell ready-made plans for specific businesses. But it is our recommendation that you be the sole author of your plan. Write out the plan yourself, in your own words.

Be aware now that most start-up entrepreneurs are reluctant to write down their business plan. It is, therefore, strongly recommended that you complete each segment of the plan as you progress through this course.
Do not expect that at of your plan's initial assumptions will be correct. Instead, look at your business plan as an ongoing assessment that you will frequently review and change to conform to actual operating experiences. For example, your cash flow projection should be updated frequently to insure ongoing liquidity (not running out of cash).

What to Avoid in Your Business Plan




If you had to do it over again, what things would you do differently?
Place reasonable limits on long-term, future projections. (Long-term means over one year.) Before starting, it is better to focus on short-term objectives and modify the plan as your business progresses. Too often, long-range planning becomes meaningless because the business can evolve to be different from your initial concept. Once you are operating, your business plan focus will shift toward growing your business
Avoid optimism. In fact, to offset optimism, be extremely conservative in predicting capital requirements, timelines, sales and profits. Few business plans correctly anticipate how much money and time will be required.

Avoid language or explanations that are difficult to understand.

Don't depend entirely on the uniqueness of your business or even a patented invention. Success comes to those who start businesses with great economics and not necessarily great inventions.



The Business Plan format is a systematic assessment of all the factors critical to your business purpose and goals. Fill in and print off the templates at the end of each session as you proceed through the course.
A Vision Statement: This will be a concise outline of your business purpose and goals.
The People: The most important ingredient for success will be you. So focus on how your prior experiences will be applicable to your new business. Prepare a résumé of yourself and one for each key person who will be involved with you in starting the business. Be factual and avoid hype. This part of your Business Plan will be read very carefully by those with whom you will be having relationships. Templates for preparing résumés are available on search engines under "resumes".
However, you cannot be someone who you are not. If you lack the ability to perform a key function, include this in your business plan. For example, if you lack the ability to train staff, include an explanation how you will compensate for this deficiency. You could add a partner to your plan (discussed in Section 4) or plan to hire key people who will provide skills you don't have. Include biographies of all your intended management.

Your Business Profile: Define and describe your intended business and exactly how you plan to go about it. Try to stay focused on the specialized market you intend to serve. As a rule, specialists do better than non-specialists.
Economic Assessment: Provide a complete assessment of the economic environment in which your business will become a part. Explain how your business will be appropriate for the regulatory agencies and demographics with which you will be dealing. If appropriate, provide demographic studies and traffic flow data normally available from local planning departments
==========

Eight Steps To A Great Business Plan
Here are steps that will produce an outstanding plan:

Review the two sample plans furnished in this session.
Focus and refine your concept based on the data you have compiled
Gather all the data you can on the feasibility and the specifics of your business concept.
Outline the specifics of your business. Using a "what, where, why, how" approach might be useful.
Include your experience, education and personal information.
Fill in the templates at the end of each session with clear language and realistic projections.
Print off the business plan templates from each session into a MS Word document.
You may wish to enhance your presentation with bar charts, pie charts and graphi
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