18 Business Planning Made Simple

Writing a solid Business Plan doesn’t have to be as hard as you think.  If 2011 is the year you want to start a business, chances are, you’re going to need a Business Plan.

Whilst some people see the process of writing a good Business Plan challenging, good practical help  is always at hand, if you look for it in the right places.

In this episode, I speak to Craig Frazier of Business Plan Examples about what inspired him to come up with  The Business Plan Toolkit, a DIY  business plan writing template. It is based on a real life coffee shop business plan and uses the familiar MS Word format so it can be updated for any small business.

The Toolkit also includes the 1 year financial Pro-Forma used to project profit and loss, as well as a break-even analysis chart to graphically display to investors where the break-even point is for sales and profit.

Craig discusses:

  • His entrepreneurial beginnings and what keeps him motivated
  • Why the Executive Summary is the Make or Break element of a Business Plan
  • Why a Business Plan should be for a specific audience  – i.e  board of directors, a bank or venture capitalist or for personal use
  • Getting Started and taking the first Step in Writing a Wining Business Plan
  • How he draws inspiration for the book Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose written by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos  and to “stick with your gut”  while growing a business.

“If you can’t articulate who you are and what you want to be through a business plan then your company will lack direction and focus”

As a special gratuity gesture to a few lucky Small Biz Kaizen Podcast Listeners, Business Plan Examples has kindly donated 5 Free Business Plan Toolkits to the first 5 people to write a comment on this very post !

So Hurry and be one of the first 5 people to comment, and receive a FREE complimentary copy of this tried and proven template.

Leave Your Comments Below !

Why Six Sigma DMAIC Problem Solving Always Works

basic_dmaic_problem _solving stepsSix Sigma DMAIC is one my most successful Problem Solving Methods that I use in a business or project context . Basic DMAIC is a problem solving process involving 5 steps summarised as: Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control.

Though there are hundreds of other methods available,  DMAIC is one I highly recommend because it remains true to the fundamental principles of Continuous Improvement. It is Simple in Approach,  follows 5 Logical steps  and ensures the decisions you make are based on hard core measured data which helps you deduce the root cause , implement solutions to eliminate the root cause then track to see what results you get. There’s no rocket science here, just  pure common business sense.

DMAIC is ideally suited in situations where your business is constantly faced with reoccurring/repetitive problems that prevent you from forging ahead. Problems that don’t seem to have a known root cause and therefore cannot be solved, typically lend themselves to DMAIC. Let’s explore what each stage is about.

DEFINE:

Problem definition is the first stage of any problem solving. Not only are you recognising your business has a problem, but defining the problem will give you the real purpose and scope of the problem. Always write it down.

The define phase also involves the making up of the wider “Project Team”, people you believe ought to be involved in solving this problem. Together, you all establish and agree to a detailed project plan with key milestones, deliverables and responsibilities.

MEASURE:

In the Measure step, the Project Team goes about collecting data on the problem and start to analyse, root cause style, what could be the potential causes.

ANALYSE:

Analysis phase of the project is typified by maximum participation of everyone in the team to brainstorming the possible causes and confirm the root causes using several different techniques.

The whole DMAIC approach is fact based and therefore no room at all for assumptions. All decisions need to be supported with measured data or indicators, the hard core evidence.

IMPROVE:

Improve stage is all about finding a solution that will nullify or at least significantly reduce the root cause of the problem. Hard core evidence is required to confirm the impact of the solution has had on the problem identified. Success criteria should be clearly measurable.

Depending on the outcome, further actions, responsibilities, timing and a revised plan may need to be agreed by the Project Team to verify the effectiveness of implemented solution.

CONTROL:

Control is there to ensure, the business, process, systems or people do not slip back to old habits. The newly established solution(s) should be embedded and Standardised as a new way of working.

This could involve issuing out new work policies, procedures or instructions or defining training needs as a result of the new way of working. Finally, Control has to do with the sharing and celebrating of successes.

That’s Six Sigma DMAIC Problem Solving – in a nutshell

Is Your Iceberg Melting ?

John Kotter is the undisputed guru in Leadership and Change Management and author of the bestselling book, “Our Iceberg Is Melting”. In this episode, I discuss Professor John Kotter’s 8 Steps of Change and how you can apply the same approach to successfully change your business under any conditions.

Entrepreneurs and business leaders ought to take valuable lessons from the authoritative subject matter expert on Change Management and Leadership. The 8 Steps of Change are based on Kotter’s extensive research spanning several decades, where he studied the science and art of successful and sustainable business change. If you are serious about turning your business around, there is a tried and trusted way, the John Kotter way.

an iceberg and glacier out at sea

Gallery Photo Credit

Pareto’s Magnificent Seven Rules of Business

Pareto’s Principle is a fundamental business principle that holds true, irrespective of the nature of your business. Also known as the 80:20 rule, it is a simple, yet powerful approach to look at your business and more importantly focus on the issues that really matter.

So which one of these statements ring true for your business?

1.            80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers

2.            20% of your product or service range contributes 80% of your profit

3.            80% of customer complaints originate from 20% of the causes.

4.            20% of your individual effort and time achieves 80% of the desired results

5.            80% of your business productivity losses results from 20% of the causes

6.            20% of your staff is responsible for 80% of the business outputs and results.

7.            80% of the value in the business is generated by 20% of the processes

Look at your business long and hard and identify those vital few elements which are all that matter, everything else is hot air.

Image: healingdream / FreeDigitalPhotos.net