Saturday, 9 January 2016

get creative and start planning - why write a business plan?

a plan without a goal is just a wish - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
What is so great about a business plan?  A business plan will help you grow, remain competitive, keep you on track and motivated and will help you achieve your goals.  That is what is so great about a business plan!

a business plan will support you when seeking finance
Big or small, new or old, if your business is seeking finance you want to be certain that the banks and other interested parties know why they should invest in your business (and you).  You know that your business is brilliant, you know that your ideas are cutting edge and you know that you can make it work, others don't and they will only risk their money and time if they believe that as well.

A well developed business plan:
  lets others know you are serious and passionate about your business
  ensures that lenders and investors understand your business vision, ideas and ethos
  allows others to see your predicted profit and income streams (this is impotant when people make decisions about investing)

a business plan will keep you on track and your goals in sight
Staying on track can be difficult, especially when you have so many new and wonderful ideas that you want to implement.  It can be easy to lose focus.

A business plan will give your business direction, naild down your objectives and help you picture your strategies that will be used as you work toward achieving your goals.  A business plan will prepare you to manage those inevitable bumps in the road that you will encounter along the way.  It will also ensure that you able able to use the resources you have and the energy you need in an effective and efficient way.

A business paln will:
  remind you of your goals and priorities
  gauge if your strategies are working
  give you a chance to adapt and respond to market changes
  let you be innovative when new opportunities present themselves

a business plan will keep you in control 
It is important to be able to take a gian step back and have an honest and realistic look at your business and see what is working and what is not.  There is always room for improvement.

Don't be afraid to ask other if they have any new ideas or where they think you could be doing things better.  You need to be prepared to listen to the feed back, good and bad.

Business planning can seem to take up much of your already limited time and can be mind-boggling, but it should be looked at as an opportunity to put your thoughts and dreams for your business in writing.  For those starting out a business plan will give you the chace to set your goals and miles stones and if you are already up and running in business it will let you see what is working and what is not.

It is your business so you should invest time into working toward your future and not worrying about it.

Preparing a business plan is an opportunity to:
  look at and learn about your industry, market and competition
  commit in writing where you are in the market and the direction you to go
  actively seek out the challenges you may face and work on strategies to sidestep or overcome them
  understand your business financial situation, don't ignore your cash-flow or break-even point
  be proactive and set goals you want to achieve and the timefrace for doing so.  This wil give you something to measure your performance and success against
  take the time to look at how your business decisions will impact of how you use your resources and maintain your competitive edge

it is great to have a busiess plan but you need to keep it up dated
A business plan should grow and change with the business so it is important that is is updated and remains true to your business vision and ethos.  Successful businesses will review and update their business plan whenever their circumstances.

how exciting, let's start putting together a business plan
It is exciting, this is your business, your vision and your oppurtunity to do what you have been talkiong about, so let's do it.

Writing a business plan will require dicipline, time and focus but don't let that put you off as the end result will be rewarding and worthwhile.

You don't need to have a lenghty and wordy document with charts and spreasheets created by experts (you can do that later if you like and I can show you how).  When starting out this creating a complex business plan can be intimidating and off-putting, knowing ones stuff and putting in on paper is just as important as long as it gives you a clear and concise procerss to follow.

a few things to do before you start writing your business plan
Analyse your business idea (be honest)
  Is it viable?
  Is there demand for your product or service?
  Do you need to protect your ideas (intellectual property)?
  Do you and those you are working with have the necessary skills?
  Who are the competition?
  What does the business offer that is different to others already in the market?
  Do you have the funds to start a business?

Analys yourself (be brutally honest)
  Why have you decided to start a business?
  What are your business and person hopes and goals?
  What skills do you have?
  What income do you need and what would you like?
  What are the pluses and minuses to starting your own business?
  Have you identified any barriers to starting your business or helping it grow?  Have you thought how you will overcome these?
  How will you leave the business (exit strategy, succession planning)

a few last minute tips
It is worth getting out there and talking to people who have been there and done that.  Not everyone will share your vision and ethos (and some will tell you not to do it) but they will all have something to contribute that you can learn from.  Find networking events that you can attend, this will ensure you keep your finger on the pulse and stay up to date and give you an oppurtunity to build contacts and promote your business.  You can always learn something.

Seek out a mentor or business coach and they can work with you to help you understand the world of business and provide you with skills and support to grow and improve your business.

just before you go
  set aside enough time
  do your research
  set clear goals
  update your finances 
  say what your business is about
  seek help and assistance

Saturday, 14 November 2015

time wasting - let's not waste any more

We all have 24 hours in our day the only difference is how we use it (or not).  I won't waste your time with a long list of ways to be more efficient, as we have all heard them before, I just want to remind you of a few that will keep you focused and on track.

Lack of planning

Without a clear plan we can be left feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the task at hand.  A list of things-to-do will help you to prioritise what needs to be done and when, but don't let yourself to become daunted by the long list you have created.  Don't over think it, that won't make it any shorter, take a moment, take a deep breath, and decide on what one  task or goal and get to work on it.  Break projects into smaller tasks, it can be, at times, to much to look at the end of the project without thinking about those all important steps needed to achieve the end result.  Set your goal and put in place smaller, more obtainable tasks and complete them one at a time.


Interruptions are unavoidable but we can manage their impact on our time.  It happens often, working from home does not make you immune either.  Co-workers stop by to discuss a work issue and it turns into a chat, the phone rings and you make general chit chat before getting down to business, emails that have no relevance to what you are doing keep appearing on your screen distracting you from your task.  The interruptions are many and varied and it is important to recognise when to say "no".  There will always be times when the interruption needs to be dealt with, be strong, set a time limit in which to deal with the issue, deal with it and get back to your task.  

If the phone is what interrupts you, put it on silent (put your mobile phone somewhere that it is not readily accessible), complete what you are doing then listen to the messages and return calls when you have the time available.  Leave your outlook minimised or off and allocate a time of day that you can devote to replying to emails, you can set up an automatic reply that lets people know when you will be checking your emails.  If you have an unexpected visitor, stand up to speak with them, avoid letting them become comfortable, standing will make everyone aware of time.  By eliminating or minimising the interruptions you can devote your time and focus to the task at hand and achieve your goals.


Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished and we usually do this by doing things that are more pleasurable than the task that we should be doing.  We often find ourselves doing the less urgent task instead of focusing on the more urgent ones.  Too much time can be spent thinking about the available options, then we become overwhelmed by the choices and fail to do anything.  Make a decision (the only bad decision is indecision), if you fail to make a decision it will result in inactivity.  Once you have made a decision you can start getting things done.  You can always keep your options open because sometimes things don't turn out the way you hoped.

Say "No"

It is ok to say no and the sooner we learn that, the better off and more effective we become.  We waste time doing those tasks we did not want to do or are doing for others because we did not say "no".  Say yes to those things that you care about and know that you have the time to do.  Saying "no" will give you the chance to use the extra time to do the things you enjoy and be with the people you want to be with.  

Get enough sleep

Not all of us can function on minimal sleep and even if you think you can it is only for a short length of time before you start to notice the effects of lack of sleep on your performance.  The average adult requires around 8 hours sleep a night, some need less, others more.  You know how much sleep you need to ensure you spring out of bed the next day.  Getting less sleep than you need builds up a sleep debt and, like all debts, it will eventually have to be paid back.  You may not notice that you have been missing out on sleep to start with but it is not a good habit to get into.  If you continue to miss out on sleep you won't be able to think or react to things as quickly as you could.  Even if you don't feel sleepy your brain is and it won't be working as well as it could.

A few more time wasters to watch out for

  • time spent on social media 
  • not being organised 
  • playing games on your devices
  • staring at the box (watching TV)