For over 40+ years I have been building and delivering the following for companies from mom – n – pops to the world largest retailer:
STRATEGIES & “WHITE BOARDING”
Do you have an idea? Or a concern? Or just questions. Sometimes it is best to talk with someone outside of your normal sphere of influence.
Hard to imagine a business being started without a plan. Typically, the business owner has lots of written notes as the basis for his reason to be in business and for moving forward. OK to start. But the road ahead is full of opportunities; some that are positive and growth-oriented while some being hurdles and roadblocks.
Generally, the degree of success of a business can be traced to the level of details in a written plan. A business plan is a road map with emphasis on “what happens if …”. How to navigate the hurdles and roadblocks and how to expand or exit.
***There are varied types of business plans and formats. Many can be found via the Internet. The SBA offers one solution which is many times what a lender will look to have completed for their decision making process. Costs for the writing of a business plan vary from zero to $30,000.00 and up. “Templates” have been found on the Internet for a range of $1,000.00 to $3,000.00 .
My value to the building of a business plan, as with almost any of the documents that I write is less in the actual writing but – first, primarily in the depth of research and analysis that I bring to the assignment. Second to what I do is the level of clarity that I assist the owner with as they are defining their goals and paths.
A pro forma is a projected budget; a pivotal aspect of a business plan. Most of us know and live within a personal budget and even more critical for a business.
A pro forma is typically a month-by-month projection for the first 36-months and then annually for years four and five.
***When a pro forma is built it should include allowances for all possible points of revenue and expense even if those areas are not immediately to be addressed.
OPERATIONS MANUAL (OM)
The second point of success for most businesses is found within its level of consistency. The OM lays down the daily play out of the business plan. Depending on how large or diverse a company is the OM can be housed in multiple binders, each about three inches in size. But the OM begins with an outline and grows from there.
***There are varies levels of types of OM’s. A basic OM outline can be found on the Internet but free templates are rare. Custom OM’s typically range from $25,000.00 to $40,000.00.
My OM’s are generally considerably less as my overhead is generally less. Like with my business plans I do not work from a template. My pricing is affected by the percentage of content or data I am asked to research for; i.e. when a company has a high percentage of content or data my costs are reduced.
TRAINING MANUAL (TM)
The third point of success for a company is found in the ability of the owner to release various levels of duties to others. As with the written business plan and the OM, the TM is a document for clarity and consistency.
***Same price savings consideration as above OM
MARKETING & SALES PLAN
In the business plans pro forma there is a line item for marketing. No matter how large of a percentage there is for marketing there must be a plan; again for clarity and consistency. It will also be helpful for the sanity of the business owner as there will be plenty of callers wanting to sell the company advertising. The easiest solution is to rely on a budget.
If the business is seasoned it should have a seasoned sale plan as well. If not working as planned or desired it may be due to the sales plan’s management.
A new company normally has one person who is responsible for sales. As the company grows most companies tend to look to the hiring of someone to free up the owner / sales person. WRONG! Staff expansion should be in operations or sales support and not to replace the successful owner / sales person.
SALES MANAGEMENT & COACHING
SUCCESSFUL SALES IS BEST FOUND IN ITS MANAGEMENT AND COACHING. (and all caps is correct!)
A company tends to produce a product or to deliver a service based on some level of expertise. Most companies do not normally have a clue as to the selling process and the basis for successful sales.
FRANCHISE DISCLOSURE DOCUMENT (FDD)
When thinking about franchising thought is given to various aspects. Beginning with a review and respect for the FDD should be mandatory.
While not all states have the same requirements for the franchising of a business addressing the elements of the FDD, even if not needed, will set up one solid point of reference as to whether or not franchising is the best option and the foundation for the franchise.
E & E
A truly successful business plan was not written without chapters for Expansion and Exit.
While a company can last forever (as with most insurance companies) the interest or validity of the people behind the company will change and the business plan should address this as well.
REAL ESTATE SITE ACQUISITIONS
For the first 20-years of my career half of my months were spent in:
*Market Analysis and Demographics
*Real Estate Site Acquisitions, beginning with location analysis, government permit (s) filing and acquisition, lease or fee purchase
*Build Out / Contractor Management
***I have a Sales Management tool available
***I do have a full packet of 7+ Site-Selection forms available
***Business Plans and Operations Manuals that I build are not from templates … I do not have any templates available.