Why a Business Plan Is Important

A business plan grants you access to the essentials required to move your company from concept to creation. It can either make you or break you. Communicating your message in a succinct and clear manner will allow you to attract the executive team, funding, and overall support required to get your business started. Having a business plan helps:

Define the purpose of your business. Having a purpose provides you with a guide for operating your business. It describes the nature of your business, the products and services you provide or plan to offer; and your target market. With this information, you’ll be able to make better decisions and develop strategies that will bolster the success of your company.

Obtain the necessary funding to support your business. When you present your business plan to potential investors, you’ll have the opportunity to determine whether your business has the potential to be profitable. A detailed plan with facts, statistics, and figures will most likely win over investors than one with a vague purpose and sketchy details. A business plan can also come in handy when applying for a business loan. The majority of lending institutions request this information with your loan application.

Prepare you for the future. As your business grows, there will be significant changes taking place. Not only will you have to focus on the business’ expansion, but also how your business will be impacted by the market conditions and trends at that time. The plan also serves as a snapshot of your business during different phases. The initial draft may consist of your projections for the business over the first three to five years. Such projections may change after your first year based on your business’ performance. These adjustments would provide you with a platform for building your business. You can refer to certain sections of your plan to examine its past history, trends, and statistical changes. With this information, you’ll be able to pinpoint the underlying causes of the ups and downs in your company.

Establish the roles and responsibilities of directors or officers. Your business plan provides information about your company’s organizational structure. This information will help you to keep your business on track in terms of its goals, operational milestones, and sales targets.

Increase others interest in your business. Your business plan can convey your goals without you verbally expressing them. If you have a business meeting with persons who are interested in becoming a partner of your business or applying for an executive level position, your business plan will demonstrate the potential of your business and they’ll eventually become part of your team.

Determine the resources required by your company. Your plan will highlight your company’s financial standing. This will allow you to make purchasing decisions regarding any equipment or supplies required. The decision will be based on the long term use of the said items. If the item in question will be beneficial to the company in the future, purchasing may be the most feasible option rather than leasing.

Caroline Baxter Is a Serial Entrepreneur and Business Coach with over 15 years experience. The owner of multiple successful business enterprises, Caroline began her first business venture at the tender age of just 24, generating her first six-figure salary by the end of her first year.

Since then, Caroline has gone on to establish herself as a widely respected business coach, inspiring countless individuals to follow their passions, pursue their ambitions and get started in their own successful ventures.

Get Business Cash Advance Loans Immediately

Getting a business cash advance is simple and easy for most small businesses, and even those who have poor credit scores. While this does not apply to bank loans, these are the requirements of private lenders, and private lenders are amongst the leading funders at this time.

Most business owners who are looking for funding and are unaware of the current requirements and developments of the financial sector, visit their local bank. This is the way people believe a loan is to be obtained, via the bank. However, banks are not very enthusiastic about funding small business, and as a result a whole new industry has cropped up to meet the demand.

Private lenders often fill the gap between businesses and banks. There is the very large segment of small businesses that are stuck in the middle, who don’t qualify for bank loans and yet require financing. Private lenders fill this gap providing many of them with the much required business cash advance in the USA.

The services provided by private lenders

The funding that private lenders provide is typically known as MCA or merchant cash advance loans. These kinds of loans are short term loans that are for a maximum duration of 12 months. The repayment options are easy and flexible, and small business owners can work with the funder to set the method that most suits their requirements.

The application process to apply for a business cash advance is simple and quick, with the private funder generally requiring basic information, and a lot less than those of banks. The basic information required by private lenders to provide an MCA are as mentioned here.

1. How old the business is

2. The gross monthly sale of the business

3. How much they require

4. Purpose of the funds i.e. working capital, business expansion, purchasing inventory, purchasing equipment etc.

5. If the business owner has other loans and if he or she is in bankruptcy.

These are some of the basic types of questions that a small business owner who is applying for an MCA would need to answer. The outstanding difference between an application for an MCA and bank loans is the fact that banks require detailed information related to financial statements. Private lenders basically need a broad picture of the ground realities of the business applying for the loan. Unlike banks all decisions are not based on the statements of the small business.

While banks and private lenders may have a different way of looking at things, private lenders do take care to ensure the ground realities of the small business are as they should be. Banks rely heavily on financial statements when reaching a conclusion related to funding a business.

Features of the MCA loan application process

While it is possible that you will be asked about your credit score even when you are going to apply for private funding. The credit score is not a determining factor for an MCA. These loans are unsecured loans and as a result collateral and security are not required as well.

When credit scores, collateral and securities are not holding back small businesses, the possibility of getting funded is a lot higher. These are the basic weak areas of most small businesses, which hamper their ability to get funded by in large. When these weak areas are removed from between a small business owner and the funding they seek, the process becomes a lot smoother for them.

Collateral is something that most small business owners find difficult to show. Typically, only with a private lender can a small business owner expect to receive a business cash advance with bad credit.

Another great feature is the fact that small business owners can receive the funding they require very quickly as well. The quickest a business owner can receive the money in their business account is 48 to 72 hours, from the time they submit a complete application. At the latest this time frame would be a week or two. Banks on the other hand are in no particular hurry to provide business funding, and a realistic time frame would be a couple of months to receive the money.

Small Business Owners: The Building Blocks to Increase Profits

The foundational building blocks of every business are Processes (procedures/policy), People (employees), Customers and Resources (ideas/capital). Leaders, who strengthen and understand each of these blocks, build their business. Those who weaken or neglect these building blocks, find themselves with declines in both their top and bottom lines.

Believe it or not, organizations can sometimes forget that creating and delivering top quality products and providing excellent services is their main objective. Organizations keep ineffective processes in effect because it is comfortable, safe and familiar. Leaders must regularly set aside time to define and redefine their processes, track defects and poor service, and make improvements to solidify these (5) major building blocks.

Owner Mindset

You’ve got to make the mental shift from running your businesses as a self-employed job/good employee to building a business you can one day sell, scale or own passively to fund your retirement.

This means consistently reminding yourself that you are just a temporary producer, and that your business must eventually replace you from its day to day operations.

Be Clear in Your Mission

There’s a reason you started a business and left your job (or didn’t try to find a new one). Why are you doing this? Keep in mind that your personal mission and your company’s mission can be different, as long as they’re aligned and can co-exist. You did the mission statement in the business plan and it’s on the bookshelf collecting dust.

Network and Get a Mentor

Get a business advisor or coach. It doesn’t have to be someone professional, just someone who can share experiences to bounce ideas off of and tell you when you are losing teams, money and the mindset.

Get your Business off the Road to Nowhere

When the money gets tight and the momentum fades, you are left with day to day work of the business, this is when you learn how to make your business run. It can become grinding because sales are slow and you are learning how the business actually operates, to acquire customers, market products, understand how changing processes and products affect your financials, and every idea you have does not automatically work as you envision it to increase profits.

At some point while running a business, your likely to experience that burned out or uninspired feeling. Work-life balance is important; there is a truth, in working hard and playing hard to unwind. Reading a daily devotion and taking a daily 30 minute walk can assist in relaxing the mind, etc.

Customer

Customer acquisition is expensive in order to acquire new customers, companies must effectively target, market to and convince customers to try their product or service.

Many business owners do not take time to figure out who is their target customer. What are their target customers’ likes, dislikes, needs and wants? Which types of media do they consume? What is the cheapest way to reach them? How much is the target customer willing to pay for their products or services? Where and how should we sell our products?

Remember, it is cheaper to keep a customer than it is to acquire new ones.

Master the Art of Engagement

Being engaging is important in every part of your business, whether its communicating through email marketing, social media, blogs, videos and other commercial formats

Grab social Media Attention

Social media marketing plan should include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and the company website to communicate with your customer. Use the same theme, pictures (banner pages) and similar products.

Understand importance of Business Logos

It is the first thing potential customers will notice about your brand, make sure it is presentable, professional and polished. Make sure the Logo connects with your customer needs and wants.

Create an experience for your Brand

Create fun and informative environment to solve your customer problems

The Right Clients are more Important than the Most clients

Most business strategy is get the cash in the door by any means necessary to get most clients in the door. Problem is you achieve all of this at the expense of quality, profit and sanity. The right clients will allow your company to do better work, build a better reputation, generate more profits and retain better employees.

Focus on Your Goal, Objectives, Theme but most of all Profitability

Don’t try to be all things to all customers. Specialize in solving your ‘target audience’ problems and have fun doing it. Even the largest companies do their best when they focus on keeping the ‘main thing the main thing’.

Operations

Processes

Are the actions and applications that executives and teams put in place to achieve desired results.

Leaders need to take a step back to review their processes-individually or in a cross-functional groupings— to eliminate inefficiencies and optimize performance, annually or as the market changes.

Systems

Systems are the reliable processes and procedures that empower your business to consistently produce an excellent result for your client and profitability for you.

Documenting automated processes can increase your company’s efficiency and reduce costly mistakes; the checklists your employees follow to ensure that all orders are shipped correctly; the orientation process for all new clients when you begin working together; and the standardized contracts you use with all your new hires and vendors.

Controls/Standards

Controls are the processes, procedures and safeguards that protect your company form uninformed or inappropriate decisions or actions by any team member. They also are your business’s way of making sure that key work is getting done on time and the right way.

There are (4) main types of business controls:

Checklists/Visual Business Process Controls
Scorecards/ Business Performance Measurements Metrics by Function (KPI)
Embedded Internal Quality Controls— product/process quality checks
Policy and Procedures— written/measured
Scalable Solutions
Systems(using excel and quickbooks), Processes and Procedures that worked for a $1million dollar a year business, are not sufficient for $10 million dollar business or a $25 million dollar business.

Scaling your business requires building it in such a way that your business model and systems can be rolled out and replicated on a much bigger playing field, based on increased product ordered/processed sales volume.

Example, choosing a database solution or a 3rd party fulfillment should be based on actual growth rates, not potential or forecasted projected sales.

Financials

Cash flow and Financial Statements are your ‘life line’.

Learn how you are making and losing money. Understand profit and loss statements and what processes and procedures link to improving the ‘profits’ of your business.
Resources
The company’s financial wherewithal additionally, the measurement tools necessary to manage and track finances and assets. Do you have the knowledge, competencies and skills necessary to use those tools to increase your profits?

Small and mid-size businesses must master the ability to manage their working capital and cash flow. Every company has access to profit and loss, balance sheet and cash flow statements. Management is either using accounting software or someone is preparing the reports for management.

How well does senior management understand the company’s financials and it correlation to their strategy? Do these managers understand which parts of the company need investment, where cuts can be made on why?

Managers must take the time to learn the relationships and interdependencies between their tools and the reports they use to maximize their resources.

Teamwork makes DreamWorks

You can’t do it by yourself. It is critical to ensure that your business doesn’t rely on the presence of any one individual.

Even Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, needed a great team to help them execute, deliver and do everything behind the scenes to deliver their vision to customers.

Surround yourself with the best people you can find. Hire people who are smarter than you, then step back and let them do their jobs. Remember championships are won by teams, not athletes. Employees are hired either to increase revenue or to decrease expenses in order to improve profits, no other reason.

People

People are not your greatest asset; the right people are. The wrong people are your greatest catastrophe. Mediocre people are your greatest drain on resources.

Leaders must strive to create learning organizations where the organization is always pushing to improve. A organization where employees feel valued and are contributing according to their abilities.

Effective management will create an organization where personal growth is expected and rewarded and employees are both challenged and satisfied.

Why Business Analytics Is Essential for Running a Successful Business

WHY IS BUSINESS ANALYTICS IMPORTANT?
The foremost goal of any organization is profitability, and customer satisfaction is a huge component of the success of a business. When an organization innovates and stays ahead of its competition, it fulfills and goes beyond customer expectations. Many businesses still rely on ineffective, time-consuming traditional techniques for decision making processes that cannot keep pace with the competition.

The use of “Gut feel” in taking strategic decisions still plays an important role among business leaders. But does reliance on “Gut feeling” and “Traditional techniques” make for smart decision-making? What’s the best approach?

The technology boom has given rise to innovations in how data is used. Business analytics is the solution and the best move to ensure competitiveness in today’s era. To define the term: “Business analytics, one of the emerging fields in the data science, refers to the methods and various statistical and quantitative techniques used by an organization for informed decision making and business modeling”.

Analytics is the change that helps you to get your business on track. It assists the businesses to convert the humongous amount of generalized data into observation, patterning and vision.

BENEFITS OF BUSINESS ANALYTICS
What was discussed above is just an academic definition. Now let’s discuss why one needs to adopt it in business operations:

Fast decisions are easily taken, but what matters is smart decisions taken in a short period. It helps to inculcate faster and smarter decision making into business culture of your organization. With the help of business analytics, the company can empower a team for data analysis to extract targeted information. When a company accesses accurate and essential data, undoubtedly, it will take the right decisions.
Analytics helps in quantifying business values.
Most businesses provide training programs for fresh recruits or older employees where the core business values are imparted or refreshed. Instead, companies should go a step further and undertake the help of business analytics to translate business values into numbers. This is a more cost and time efficient undertaking.
CAREER PATH OF A BUSINESS ANALYST
A business analyst is one who assists organizations in the process of business analytics. The career path of a business analyst is not strictly defined as there are several options based on industry, qualifications, interests, preferences etc.

Training provides trainees with the skills and knowledge needed for a proper understanding and interpretation of data.
Training courses help students in getting exposed to data systems and tools like R, SAS, Python etc. making them eligible for various analytical jobs.
The best incentive for undergoing a course is that the industry-best average salary of a business analyst is Rs 491,522 a year. There are various skills that can increase the pay scale of a business analyst like project management, SAS etc.
CONCLUSION

The role of a business analyst is often seen as one that bridges the gap between different departments in an organization. There are various business analytics courses which can help you achieve all the benefits mentioned above. Candidates with these skills can help an organization to strategically improve operational efficiency.

Banks Have a Lot of Reasons to Reject Your Small Business Loan

For a small business to grow into a big business, it needs a loan unless it has exceptional sales and profit margins. A small business owner has quite a few places where he/she can go with a loan request. Banks seem to be one of their options on most occasions. What these owners might not realize is that banks have recently developed a reputation for rejecting small business loans. It seems that banks are more interested in financing large businesses due to their benefits. A bank can come up with a variety of reasons to reject loan approval for a small business. Some of the common reasons are as under:

Reasons for Banks to Reject Your Small Business Loan

Credit History

One of the barriers between you and the business loan is credit history. When you go to a bank, they look at your personal as well as business credit reports. Some people are under the impression that their personal credit does not affect their business loans. But that’s not always the case. A majority of banks look into both the types of credits. One of the aspects of credit that matter a lot to the banks is credit history. The length of your credit history can affect your loan approval negatively or positively.

The more information banks have at hand to assess your business’ creditworthiness, the easier it is for them to forward you the loan. However, if your business is new and your credit history is short, banks will be unwilling to forward you the desired loan.

Risky Business

You must be aware of the term high-risk business. In fact, lending institutions have created an entire industry for high-risk businesses to help them with loans, credit card payments, etc. A bank can look at a lot of factors to evaluate your business as a high-risk business. Perhaps you belong to an industry that is high-risk per se. Examples of such businesses are companies selling marijuana-based products, online gambling platforms, and casinos, dating services, blockchain-based services, etc. It is imperative to understand that your business’ activities can also make it a high-risk business.

For example, your business might not be a high-risk business per se, but perhaps you have received too many charge-backs on your shipped orders from your customers. In that case, the bank will see you as a risky investment and might eventually reject your loan application.

Cash Flow

As stated earlier, your credit history matters a lot when a bank is to approve your loan request. While having a short credit history increases your chances of rejection, a long credit history isn’t always a savior too. Any financial incidents on your credit history that do not favor your business can force the bank to reject your application. One of the most important considerations is the cash flow of your business. When you have cash flow issues, you are at risk of receiving a “no” from the bank for your loan.

Your cash flow is a measure for the bank to know how easily you return the loan. If you are tight on cash flow, how will you manage the repayments? However, cash flow is one of the controllable factors for you. Find ways to increase your revenues and lower your expenses. Once you have the right balance, you can approach the bank for a loan.

The Debt

A mistake that small business owners often make is trying out too many places for loans. They will avoid going to the bank first but get loans from several other sources in the meantime. Once you have obtained your business funding from other sources, it makes sense to return it in time. Approaching the bank when you already have a lot of debt to pay is not advisable at all. Do keep in mind that the debt you or your business owes affects your credit score as well. In short, the bank does not even have to investigate to know your debt. An overview of your credit report can tell the story.

The Preparation

Sometimes, your business is doing fine, and your credit score is in good shape as well. However, what’s missing is a solid business plan and proper preparation for loan approval. If you haven’t already figured out, banks require you to present a lot of documents with your loan approval request. Here are only some of the documents you will have to present to the bank to get approval for your loan.

Income tax returns
Existing loan documents
Personal financial documents
Affiliations and ownership
Business lease documents
Financial statements of the business
You have to be exceptionally careful when these documents and presenting them to the bank. Any discrepancies can result in loan rejection.

Concentration of Customers

This one might come as a surprise to some, but a lot of banks consider this aspect of your business seriously. You must not forget that loans are banks’ investments. Businesses that approach the banks are their vehicles to multiply their money in the form of interest. If the bank senses that your business does not have the potential to expand, it can reject your loan request. Think of a mom and pop shop in a small town with a small population. If it only serves the people of that town and has no potential to grow further, a rejection is imminent.

In this particular case, even if the business has considerable profit margins, it relies on its regular customers for that. The bank might see it as a returnable loan but not as an investment opportunity.

Conclusion

The good news is that you have a lot of funding options as a small business owner. Today, banks are only one of the many options for you to fund your bank. You don’t necessarily have to apply for loans when you have crowdfunding platforms actively helping small business with their funding needs. If you are seeking a business loan from a bank, that’s fine. However, if the bank does not approve your request, it should not worry you much.

Tips To Help You Become A Better Online Business Person

Starting and maintaining a home business enterprise is a bold move. Home businesses can be immensely successful if you know how to maintain your businesses affairs in the right way. This article will cover some of the essentials you need to consider, to ensure the growth, success and profitability of your online business.

If you have a home based business, don’t miss out on the home office tax credit. You can claim this space even if you don’t devote an entire room to your business. If you have an area which is only or primarily used for business purposes, you can claim it based on square footage, and calculate the portion of your home that is taken up by your office space.

Once you’ve decided on a product to sell, do your homework and check out your competition. Look at their prices and study the quality of the goods that they are selling. Make sure not to price yourself out of the market, and figure out how to deliver the best value to your customers.

Set up a Post Office box for all your business mail. It’s best to do this, rather than put your family at risk by using your physical address. This is especially important if you are doing most of your business online. Don’t ever post your home address online, for any reason.

To reduce distractions keep your office off limits to children. Have set work hours that enable you to run your business and still have time for your family. Older children should understand not to disturb you while you are working. For your business to succeed your family needs to be supportive and respectful of your work schedule.

Take all of the home-business tax deductions that are legally allowed. For example, you can deduct the cost of a second telephone line or a mobile phone if you use it exclusively for your business, but be sure to keep sufficient records to prove your deductions. Taking all permissible write-offs helps you keep more of what you earn.

Although you may be used to working eight hours a day and then being off, you have to realize that in order for a home business to thrive more of a time commitment may be needed. Once everything is in place you will be able to relax a little.

Maintain a professional attitude as you begin your home based business. Keep your personal life and your professional life separate. Just because you are working from home, does not mean that you should engage in any family responsibilities during the time that you are supposed to be working. You will not be successful if you do not put the time into running your business efficiently.

Don’t walk into a home business enterprise blind! There are many online discussion forums designed for small business owners to discuss the unique obstacles in this field. Look locally for other small business and home business organizations that meet in person. Either way you go, networking with other business owners gives you an excellent support system.

Having a business license for your home business often allows you to purchase things wholesale. This is excellent news for people who make their product, since you can search on product search engines for bulk orders of raw materials. This minimizes trips to the store, and frees up your wallet for other expenditures.

In the end, for most, having a online business allows for a level of control and creativity that the mainstream approach lacks. However, after reading this article, you may realize that you cannot necessarily go about maintaining a successful home business in the same way that you would maintain a traditional business. By utilizing these tips and advice, you will set your business up for a lucrative and stable future.