Business Plans

Are you ready to start a business? Looking for small business ideas? First step: learn how to write a business plan with our business plan template and examples

A 6-point quality check for your business plan

We all know we should check our cars before travelling. Equally important is the need to check your business plan for faults and potential failures before making it the core of your business, or using it to ask for financing. Ask yourself these six questions to check the quality of your business plan. For example, have you done a sensibility check? Is there really a reason for customers to buy from you? And more.

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Avoid these mistakes when pitching your business

Every business owner comes to the point where they might the need the backing of investors. Sourcing investors is not the difficult part. Trying to hook them onto your concept can prove to be difficult, especially when you are trying to show them your concept and how joining with you can bring them just as much success. Here are some guidelines on which five mistakes to avoid when pitching your business or business idea.

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Checklist for opening and marketing your business

Before you open for business, make sure that all the elements of your business are in place. In order to do this, we have provided a "Before you start" checklist for you to review and supplement with appropriate items. Through this checklist you will learn how to buy, and how to market, promote, and advertise your business. Read on for more information.

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Checklist for starting a new business

Want to start a business and need help organizing the first steps? This tool is intended to walk you through all the issues you should consider in view of starting a new business. You may adapt it to reflect your business needs, type of clientele, products, and services you offer.

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Create a business plan – download this book now!

This Business Plan e-book is widely regarded as one of the best preparatory publications on writing a business plan. It deals extensively with the all-important background information required for a business plan – everything that potential financiers may require before considering a business loan. More than just a business-plan writing aid, the Business Plan Book constructively helps the would-be business owner or existing business owner wanting to expand his/her business to identify and deal with potential problems before they arise.

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Creating an effective business plan

This article series will help you create a business plan. It includes a business plan template to guide your business through the start-up or growth phase, a search for capital, or any other endeavour your small business undertakes. We've distilled the typical business plan template into seven key elements. For each and every element you will find a description, instructions for creation and, for many, tips for avoiding common pitfalls.

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Deciding on the type of organisation you want to establish

Deciding on the type of business organization you should establish? This article will help you understand the business types and help you in your choice. When you have decided which business is right for you, you will have three important decisions to make. Through this article, you will discover: whether to go into business alone or with a partner; the type of business organisation to use; and what professional advisers to select.

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Effective competitive analysis

For your small business to succeed, you need to know almost as much about your competitors as you do about your own company and customers. Unfortunately, many small business owners make the mistake of waiting until a competitor has opened up shop across the street and is cutting into profits to find out who and what they're up against. A competitive analysis allows you to identify your competitors and evaluate their respective strengths and weaknesses.

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Essential Business Components (EBC) business model checklist

The EBC business model canvas points out 6 components which are crucial for entrepreneurs to focus on; they fit most business types, and serve as guideline of what is vital in running a profitable, sustaining and growing business. The EBC model is not limited to venturing by entrepreneurs; it’s usable by other value providers such as consultants, freelancers, photographers, musicians, designers, engineers and others.

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Four start-up tips for solo entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship, in any type of business endeavor, must start with the recognition that success comes to managers who leverage all resources around them extremely well. Practically speaking, your time should focus on activities that produce the greatest payoff in terms of new customers, revenues, and profitability. While this is possible, it requires discipline and making the right connections. So how should solo entrepreneurs make better, time-saving choices?

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Guarding your intellectual property

Theft of confidential information and trade secrets can be just as damaging to your business as embezzlement or other employee fraud. Learn how to protect your intellectual property with tips including utilising paper shredders, having a plan in place for terminated employees, using passwords, as well as having employees sign non-disclosure agreements, among others.

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How do I come up with a winning business idea?

Developing large or small business ideas is a matter of creating a vision, leveraging your strengths and determining what the market needs. This article looks at three main steps which should help get you started. First, create a vision – a detailed image of your life in five years. Second, determine what you're good at and what you like to do – successful entrepreneurs build businesses around their passions. Third, figure out what the market needs – successful businesses meet an existing demand.

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How to select a niche market

A niche market is a subdivision of the market at which a specific product/service is aimed. It gives definition to the characteristics of the specific product/service that is aimed at meeting the specific needs of the market, as well as the price category, product/service qualities and the demography on which this should impact. A niche market strategy may help you focus your resources on obtaining clients for whom your product or service provides the best fit to achieve their goals, address their needs, or solve their problems. Here's how to find one.

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How to write a business plan

Open Colleges (Australia) has been providing life changing education for over 100 years, earning recognition as Australia’s leader in online education. Since its inception, Open Colleges has helped over 800,000 students gain the skills to launch, change or take the next step in their careers. One of the resources Open Colleges provides is a five-part guide on how to write a business plan. Following this guide will help you get started and tailor your business plan to your industry.

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Initial cash requirements template

This template will enable you to compute the amount of cash you will need to start your new business. The template is broken down into two parts. The first part computes the amount of cash you will need from day one of planning your business to day one of opening the business for customers. The second part of the template computes the cash needs for the first three months you're in business.

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Is your business feasible?

Before you can start a business you must be reasonably sure that the business is feasible. Hence, the feasibility study. A feasibility study is a due diligence or evaluation process that enables you to determine whether the business you want to start will be financially viable, in other words if this business will generate profits. It also gives you the opportunity to assess the cost of starting the business and sustaining it for at least the first year. Here is how to you determine if your business is feasible.

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Planning and your mission statement

As an entrepreneur, there are three main types of planning that you need to address when writing your business plan: strategic planning, tactical planning, and operational planning. These focus areas are such an integral part of your life as a business owner that without them it would be difficult to remain focused on achieving your goals. Planning however doesn’t come easily for some people. This article looks these three types of planning and how to incorporate them into the mission statement in your business plan.

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Preparing a business idea

Ok, so you have a great idea. In the early hours of the morning this idea has the potential of Google as it floats around in your semi-sleep state. You wake up and write it all down with flow diagrams and income streams all neatly defined. Now what? Taking an idea from concept to reality is what makes us Entrepreneurs. Here are some simple questions to explore when next you have an entrepreneurial epiphany. Knowing the answers to these questions will assist in placing your concept on the road to reality.

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Projected staff scheduling tool

This simple tool will help you manage and plan your human resources (i.e. schedule your staff). It will enable you to calculate the number of employees you will need over a certain period of time, or to start your new business. You can customize the hours covered in each shift (morning, afternoon and evening) and use a color code or an X to mark which employee covers each shift. You can use it on a weekly base and/or have monthly planning.

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Start-up mistakes that are too common

About 75 percent of start-ups and 90 percent of tech start-ups are doomed to fail. Too many wonderful ideas never make it past the initial stage, and many that do lose momentum and die an untimely, soon-forgotten death. Avoid these common mistakes that can lead to a new business closing down soon after it started. Don't become a statistic.

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The business plan

The business plan is the key ingredient for a successful business and is often ignored or executed poorly. This article shows you how to create an ideal, detailed, and individualized business plan, and provides the tools to make it easy.

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Writing a business plan

To consider financing, financial institutions require a comprehensive and well-motivated business plan that provides a thorough understanding of your existing or proposed business, your own goals and objectives and your financing requirements. This is merely a guide to writing a business plan. Circumstances vary and you will need to tailor your business plan depending on the type of business. But, the basics remain the same.Here are the sections that every business plan should cover.

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Your complete plan on just one page

By the time you have completed your business plan it may already be out-of-date. That’s why, in the rapid-changing world of today, we need to plan for the next step towards our goals without always knowing the full path of getting to the desired destination. This is pretty scary, since we must acknowledge that we will never know for certain exactly how things will pan out, even after completing our business plan. Use this one-page to go beyond traditional ways of planning for your business.

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“Quick success” is possible

Most businesses do take time for success. Many people give up when there’s no immediate success and the “Business Ownership Honeymoon” ends after a few months. They’ve only heard about the “instant success” ones and weren’t prepared for the unexpected challenges and the price one needs to pay. If succeeding as an entrepreneur is really important to you and succeeding quicker than the norm, then never stop learning and acting on what it takes to reach the top of your game. Use these 10 principles to help you achieve quicker success.

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