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Small Business Plans

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Why Values Matter in Business Planning

A company’s strong sense of values during the business planning process and later, can guide it through troubled times and also improve the bottom line. Studies have shown that companies that recover best [more…]

Value and Vision Statements in Business Planning

Your mission statement and your business goals and objectives provide a business planning road map that keeps your company moving in the right direction, but a map isn’t enough by itself. [more…]

How to Put Your Business Plan’s Principles into Practice

Use your mission, vision, and values in your business plan to guide the way that your business functions as a socially responsible contributor to the world around you — to your employees, your clients, [more…]

Business Planning Case Study: The Future of the Education Industry

Those planning for business need to understand the current state of education. For generations, those in the field of higher education were clear about how to deliver what students wanted from the college [more…]

Business Planning Considerations: Industry Conditions and Forecasts

Understanding the larger forces at work in your industry is a crucial part of business planning. To help you formulate your business plan based on these conditions, ask yourself these questions: [more…]

Business Planning Considerations: Entry Barriers and Obstacles

An important step in assessing your business environment is to understand what kinds of obstacles — known as entry barriers — challenge new contenders in your industry [more…]

Business Planning Considerations: Creating Entry Barriers for Competitors

If your business is entering a new (to you) industry or market area, expect to face some barriers as you seek to compete profitably with already-established businesses. At the same time, think about building [more…]

How to Define Customers in Your Business Plan

Knowing your customers is an essential part of business planning. The more you know about your customers, the more you know about where to find others just like them, how to reach them with media or other [more…]

How to Conduct Customer Research for Your Business Plan

To paint a clear picture of your customer for your business plan, undertake research activities. Your efforts may involve customized efforts tailored to your business clientele, or they may rely on available [more…]

Where to Get Research Assistance for Your Business Plan

If your business planning research requires questionnaires, focus groups, or phone or in-person interviews, consider bringing in specialists to help you maintain objectivity and convey professionalism [more…]

Fine-Tune Your Business Plan’s Customer Profile

When planning and directing your company’s business activities, customer knowledge equals business power. Knowing who your customers are and what they want is just another way you can get a leg up on the [more…]

How to Describe Your Business Plan’s Ideal Customer

Every customer is important to your business plan, but the truth is that some are more important than others, and a precious few are most important of all. Knowing the difference if key. [more…]

Business Planning Considerations: Segment Customers into Buyer Groups

By determining which customers share similar interests and buying habits for your business plan, you can segment customers into buyer groups and target offerings to groups of people who respond in similar [more…]

Business Planning Considerations: Doing Business with Business (B2B) Customers

If you plan to have B2B customers, this will have an impact on your business planning. B2B is shorthand for the great contingent of businesses that sell to other businesses rather than to individual consumers [more…]

What You Should Include in Your Business Plan

Although business plans come in all shapes, sizes, and formats, they typically share a similar framework. The following components, presented in the order they generally appear, are common elements in [more…]

How to Identify Your Business Model

Your business model is as much a part of defining your business purpose and structure as your mission statement. All too often, people planning a business don’t spend enough time thinking about their bottom [more…]

Choose the Right Business Structure for Your Business Plan

A business model is all about how you’ll make money. A business structure determines the form your business will take. Choosing the right business structure for your venture is important because the choice [more…]

How to Define and Address Market Shifts in Your Business Plan

Every business faces a business environment in flux — the result of a changing population, technological advancements, economic upheaval, and other changes that transform the marketplace. If the population [more…]

Business Planning Tips for Researching Competitors

Unless you’re very clever — and extremely lucky — your business isn’t the only one on the horizon with a great idea and a serious plan to win over eager customers in your particular market. [more…]

Identify Stealth Competitors in Your Business Plan

You can usually spot direct competitors for your business plan pretty easily. They look a lot like you, offer similar products or services, and go after the same customers and market areas. But you have [more…]

Keep Your Business Planning One Step Ahead of the Competition

Most likely, your competitors’ moves will build on their strongest capabilities. You want to be one step ahead with your business plan. For example, a competitor whose strength is in research and development [more…]

How to Green Your Business Plan

As part of your business plan, you may want to analyze the importance of environmental stewardship to your business success. As you weigh the importance of environmental consciousness, backed by environmentally [more…]

Business Planning Considerations: Assess Strengths and Weaknesses

Your business plan should directly address your strengths and weaknesses. In business, strengths and weaknesses come in the form of eight key capabilities [more…]

Business Planning Considerations: Know Your Capabilities

To rank the importance of each capability to your company’s success, use this form for your business plan. Be frank, circling Excellent in each area where you know that your business excels, and giving [more…]

Business Planning Considerations: Capabilities of Sole Proprietors

If you’re the boss and entire staff of a one-person company, you may wonder what planning your business’ capabilities has to do with your success. The answer: Plenty. The same issues that confront big [more…]

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