Preparing Business Plan for 2011

At difficult times of budgetary constraint like these, it is inconceivable that so many GP surgeries do not prepare business plans to be agreed in advance with their partners and teams. Preparing a business plan is quite simple – it is the implementation that is hard. You might be surprised, but I advocate the following method of planning for the year ahead - you must adopt the same methods as for strategic planning for a commercial business, i.e. using What, Why, How, Who, Where, and When.


Famous management guru Stephen Covey, who wrote best selling book ‘Seven habits of highly effective people’ and he emphasised the importance of ‘starting with the end in mind’ to have any chance of being effective.

If you do not decide in advance what exactly you are tying to achieve in the year ahead, how will you know when you have got there? In my experience, precious few surgeries plan ahead, they just appear to hope to do better than last year (whatever better means?)

Too many GPs seem to be happy leaving the planning for ‘others’ to do, preferring to get stuck into usual daily and monthly activity, what Michael Gerber (Author of E-Myth for Doctors) refers to as the ‘tyranny of routine’. They prefer to get stuck into the ‘how’ before having decided ‘what’ they want to actually achieve in the year ahead.

Let’s face it, very few surgeries even prepare a detailed financial budget – which is part of the reason why so many claims get missed by practice managers

In my firm, we have a model we recommend, and the first figure we ask to be entered is the profit the partners feel they should be generating for the work they do – that figure should be the first figure that goes onto any budget – not the income to be generated by the surgery.

This is fundamentally different to what most surgeries who plan (in my experience) actually do i.e. they list out their income and expenditure that they think might happen and then see what profit is left for them.

Psychologically, there is a big difference in the two methods – my way has been proven many times to work. It helps partners focus on what they have to do to achieve their desired profit – which after all, is the main reason why they should be doing the exercise each year.


Be very clear why you have chosen those goals or that figure for profit – is it realistic, and will all the partners be committed enough, wanting the profit hard enough, to make it happen?

If not, change it – this is meant to be a real life task, not simply a theoretical exercise to be ignored once it has been put to screen or paper

Click here to find out more!

Once all the partners and team are clear and happy about all about your ‘what’ and ‘why’, you can decide ‘how’ you are going to make that desired outcome really happen.

Having listed your desired profit, break that down into quarterly figures and then monthly - if your practice manager is willing and able to monitor the results that frequently (which I believe they should).

Having done that, now summarise quarterly/monthly the totals under each ‘overhead expense category’ (e.g. wages, repairs, light and heat etc) that you expect to be incurring, provided nothing unexpected happens in the year ahead.

Now add in the expenditure on non-expense items like new equipment you hope to buy, that will not be paid for by the NHS, together with any loan repayments you need to make.

Working backwards, by adding the figure for the profit you require to the total of the expenses and other payments you think you are likely to have to cover, you will now have a figure for the income you need to generate to make that profit manifest itself.

This income should be split down into appropriate categories of income that you would normally expect to receive (e.g. global sum, rent, QOF, PBC, DES and LES) and this will then leave any unallocated balance of income to be generated from new sources of income, or increased income from existing sources.

If you need to generate more income, define where you are most likely to generate it and identify if you will incur any more costs in doing so.

Failing that, you will have to identify what costs can be reduced to achieve that all important profit figure the partners require and deserve.


Do you need to change the make up of your team to be able to achieve your objectives – easier said than done with today’s increasingly inflexible employment laws? Include any desired changes in your business plan. Will you need any temporary financial assistance from your bank e.g. to finance an extension or refurbishments? If so, also include that in your business plan.

Top 5 Convention Centers in the U.S

Although, I am encouraging everyone to consider the beautiful island of Puerto Rico as one of your choices for hosting your event and/or convention, here is a Top 5 list of the best convention centers in the United States.  

Number 5: Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu (250,000 sq. ft of exhibit space)
The design of the glass-front center represents the unique culture of Hawaii, with its bold architecture, $2 million Hawaiian art collection, and features such as a rooftop tropical garden, glass-encased meeting rooms and outdoor function spaces lined with giant palm trees, make this convention center a very pleasant one. You can find 10,000 committable hotel rooms within 1 mile of the center. The Honolulu International Airport is conveniently located 9 miles West of Waikiki Beach, 4 miles West of Central Honolulu and 7.5 miles West of the Hawaii Convention Center. Hawaii’s currency is U.S. dollars and main language is English. In addition, Honolulu (capital of Hawaii) has been ranked one of the safest in the nation.
(For more information on the Hawaii Convention Center click here

Number 4: Georgia World Congress Center (1,500,000 sq. ft of exhibit space)
Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, which includes the 3.9 million square foot convention center, the 71,250-seat Georgia Dome and 21-acre Centennial Olympic Park.  This convention center ranks among the top five largest convention destinations in the country as well as one of the best sports and entertainment campuses in the world. The Georgia World Congress Center opened its doors in 1976 as one of the nation's premier convention facilities with 350,000-square-feet of exhibit space. Over the years, the Georgia World Congress Center underwent numerous expansions to meet the needs of growing conventions and special events.
(For more information on the Georgia World Congress Center click here

Number 3: Minneapolis Convention Center (600,000 sq. ft of exhibit space)
The Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC) has nearly 480,000 square feet of trade show space, 87 column-free conference meeting rooms, a 28,000-square-foot ballroom, and an auditorium with great production and flexible technology options, the facility can handle any event from a small meeting to a large convention or trade shows. It is located close to freeways and only 20 minutes from the airport on the southern edge of downtown Minneapolis. In addition, this trade show and event center is connected by climate-controlled skyways to the downtown hotels, restaurants and shopping. One of the great things of this convention center is that recently they have acquired new solar panels. The panels are fully installed, and the system is fully running as of mid-November 2010. This is a great option destination for the new “green” conventions and/or trade shows.(For more information on the Minneapolis Convention Center click here
Number 2: Las Vegas Convention Center (1,040,000 sq. ft of exhibit space) The Las Vegas Convention Center is a 3.2 million square foot facility located within a short distance of more than 100,000 guest rooms. Operated by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), the center is well known among industry professionals for its versatility. It also counts with 144 meeting rooms, handles seating capacities ranging from 20 to 2,500. A grand lobby and registration area link existing exhibit halls with new exhibit and meeting rooms, and allowing simultaneous set-up, breakdown and exhibiting of multiple events. The LVCC is one of the largest convention centers in the world. Having the availability and the capacity for thousands of people, the Las Vegas Convention Center is one of the top choices for bigger companies and for the world’s largest trade show companies.(For more information on the Las Vegas Convention Center click here
Number 1: Orange County Convention Center (2,000,000 sq. ft of exhibit space)The Orange County Convention Center is one of the nation's ten largest convention centers having an amazing 2,000,000 square feet of exhibit space. In its entirety, the Orange County Convention Center features:
  • Two 92,000-square-foot general assembly areas

  • 74 meeting rooms/235 breakouts

  •  The 2,643-seat Chapin Theater

  •  A 200-seat Lecture Hall

  • The 62,000-square-foot (multi-purpose Valencia Room
  • Three full-service restaurants/8 food courts

  • Three-business centers
  • In-house electric, plumbing, rigging and technical services, plus wireless mobility throughout the complex
  • On-site parking for 6,227
  • Three covered loading docks/173 truck bays
The OCCC is located 11 miles southwest of downtown Orlando in the middle of Orange County's tourism core. The Orange County Convention Center is within walking distance of more than 6,000 hotel rooms, and within 45 minutes driving distance to more than 86,000 hotel rooms in the Orlando area. In average, the OCCC hosts approximately one million delegates annually and provides a $1.9 billion dollar total economic impact annually to the Central Florida economy, all at no cost to Orange County Citizens.(For more information on The Orange County Convention Center click here) 
It is certain that all the convention centers listed above have all the qualities and attributes that your company, business or industry needs to host an excellent and top-of-the class event, convention and/or trade show. They all have an impressive amount of exhibit space and top of the line technology. It all depends on your market and the objectives and goals of your event.

*Remember to consider Puerto Rico as one of your destinations for hosting these type of events. For more information on venue opportunities and entertainment in Puerto Rico feel free to browse through the blog. 

-Hawaii Convention Center
-Georgia World Congress Center
-Minneapolis Convention Center
-Las Vegas Convention Center
-Orange County Convention Center

Construction business planning

Today we will be looking at business plan software relating to the construction industry. In order to run your business faster and more efficient there are numerous programs out there for  tailor-made to suite your needs. I have chosen to discuss the points and facts about the business plan software program called “Plan Magic Constuction 11.0. Please refer to the following to get a better understanding of the benefits of using this programme.

Write a construction business plan
PlanMagic Construction 11.0 offers an easy to use well written construction business plan template in a popular word processor format, a fully automated close-to-reality financial projection application in MS Excel, an easy to use presentation template, and a comprehensive business plan guide. The Advanced Edition -AE- provides additional state-of-the-art financial analysis tools. plan any construction business like a pro
plan to finance any construction business start-up or expansion
surprise any potential investor with a thorough and complete presentation
analyze the financial situation with state-of-the-art analysis tools
stay up-to-date with the real financial situation at all times
unlimited what-if and other analyses for 5 years without loss of data
It's a program that produces faster results than any other, and is brought to you by a company with over 25 years of related experience. It is a helpful CONSTRUCTION business plan program and offers the necessary flexibility. Its structure is the preferred format today and it offers you a template that includes all that should be included in a business plan geared toward success. The financial application is the only construction specific close-to-reality planner in the world.
Designed to help construction companies and contractors make decisions faster and easier. It's the best value your money can buy when it comes to construction business plan and construction financial plan software.

Construction business plan template
The preferred format construction business plan template for investors, SBA, banks and angel investors in MS Word format.

You don't have to create your own contents from scratch or delete most of it as may be the case with a sample plan. You'll always get professional printed results. The program includes the construction business plan template. The plan template is fully geared towards the general contractor, specialty contractor or any construction business. Easily add project plans, phasing diagrams, floor plans, specific plans and more as is needed. Easily insert financial data from the financial application.

Construction business plan financials
You will not find a better solution as specific, as detailed, and as automated. For consultants there is no limit to the number of projections and construction business plans that can be created. Enter some main assumptions, and start entering your financial data into the clearly marked cells. Use it for a construction or contractor business plan as well as for ongoing monitoring of your construction business.

Key advantages
Offers PlanMagic's Smart Entry System (SES)™ to minimize and significantly speed up data entry.
Validation checks for data consistency.
Development can start up to 5 years prior to operations.
Fiscal year and forecasts can start in any month.
Forecasts include months, quarters, and years.
Up to 5 years can be forecast in one financial workbook, with no limit if multiple workbooks are used.
Views are collapsible for clear summaries.
Costs can be split between fixed and variable cost for contribution, break-even and similar analyses.
Projected balance sheets that are always balanced.
More than 40 charts illustrate trends in expenses, sales, revenues, cash flow and more.

If you have purchased the Advanced Edition -AE-, you can add more product lines and more specific projects and enjoy more detailed financial analysis reports that surpass even the most expensive accounting programs.

It would be advisable to invest in such a program if you are finding that you cannot keep track of your finances, customer database and stock. The Advanced Edition could be purchased at a later stage once your business has grown to the next level. It is important to choose a program that is user-friendly and that can be easily utilized by your staff dealing with the admin and finances of your growing company. Online help and training is usually available for users of all business plan software users. Find the program that best suits your needs.

Event Planning? How to Benefit your Pocket!

The special events industry has grown enormously during the last two decades. The annual spending of events worldwide is estimated to be at $500 billion. It is no secret that the economic status worldwide of businesses and companies is not at its peak. Therefore, the need to keep employees and clients interested and motivated is crucial in a time like this. In addition, companies have recognized that only so much work can be conducted thru the phone, texts, and emails. This is when the ideas to create special events, seminars, meetings and/or conventions are taken into consideration. 

Now that we have established the need and importance of the production of corporate events, let's establish how an event planning company makes its revenue. According to the web article, How to Start an Event Planning Service, at, it is crucial to know that the goal in pricing a service is to mark up your labor and material costs sufficiently to cover overhead expenses and generate an acceptable profit. It is said that first time business owners often fail due to unknowingly low service rates, therefore make sure you are gaining profits from your services. 

There are two types of events; social and corporate, for our interest we will focus on corporate events. On the corporate events industry planners typically charge a fee for their services, plus a handling charge for each item they contract. Another option is charging clients a "flat fee" or a "project fee", this is often used in large events and/or when corporations want an estimated figure to stay on budget. 

Fees are generally determined by three factors. 
1.              Market Segment (Corporations- using flat fees)
2.              Geographic Location (For example, fees are higher in the northeast part of the United States)
3.              Experience and Reputation of the planning company (If you are starting out it is only reasonable to charge a lower service fee) 

This is why knowing your target market and doing your market research is so important. Most event planning companies’ price their fees-for-service using the Cost Plus Method (CPM), it involves calculating the unit cost of producing the product and adding on a target profit margin. This means, that you contract out the labor, supplies and materials involved in producing an event and then charge clients a service fee of about 10 to 20 percent of the total cost of the event, with 15 percent being a rough average. However, in order for your company to know the final net income, I advise you to produce a pro forma (for more information on Pro forma click here) this will determine how your company will make its revenue, determine expenses and much more.

Below is an info graphic of the event planning industry you might like. Enjoy. 
By: Melanie Rodriguez / Market Research 

Out of ideas? Dive into Corporate Theater...

Corporate events and/or conventions sometimes lack innovation and creativity. It's up to event planners or convention organizers to continuously design and come up with new ideas for these types of events. After doing some research, new methods are being used by numerous companies to appeal to their employees and/or clients. Among these new methods we can find theme conventions and business or corporate theater. 

Many event and convention production companies are using business theater as a new innovative way to spice up corporate seminars, events, and/or conventions. Business or corporate theater are productions written and produced specifically to support and illustrate the theme and goals of your particular event. Agencies who actually produce this type of shows make sure they have very accurate information about the company, the employees and typical work situations. This way the shows have very realistic facts and characters, creating a very direct message. The advantage of this type of theater is that corporations have the opportunity to deliver desired messages using comedy, music or drama to their desired audience in a unique way. 

Agencies like the Killing Kompany have been consulting corporations for over 15 years.
"The Killing Kompany creates custom designed interactive training and awareness programs of any length and design for corporations and other organizations. By combining live performance by professional stage, TV and film actors with interactive audience participation, we can help make your company seminars on specific corporate problems and their solutions more provocative, unique and entertaining - and, of course, more effective.

Whether your company's goal is education, staff motivation, training, problem-solving or individual growth, we offer the most effective tool to replicate, and vividly illustrate the solutions to, the real and problematic situations your employees and managers confront in their day to day settings"
Using ideas like corporate theater can make your event or convention a one of a kind. People continuously need to be entertained and what better way to motivate, educate or problem solve with something not ordinary and fun. So next time you need to do something different, appealing and creative think out of the box. Keep looking for new ways to keep your employees and/or costumers interested with innovation and creativity. This is a great way for corporate activities to have a large number of assistance and support they deserve. So, next time you are organizing a corporate event think beyond the norm. Ideas like this will make your company stand out. 
For more information on Business Theater and companies like the Killing Kompany click here

Gabrielle Giffords Shot in the Head

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot in the head Saturday and an unknown number of others were wounded when an assailant opened fire in an area where the lawmaker was meeting with constituents, officials said.

There were varying accounts on Giffords' condition, but a hospital spokesman said the Democrat was in critical condition. An aide to the Democrat was killed. An unknown number of others was injured, officials officials said, including additional aides to the lawmaker.

Congressional officials said one of the victims died soon after the attack, and others were taken to a nearby hospital. The officials said the wounded included some of Gifford's aides who were with her at the time.

Gabrielle Giffords was born on June 8, 1970. She served in the Arizona Senate from 2003 to 2005 and in the Arizona House of Representatives from 2001 to 2003. She is a member of the Democratic Party. She is said to be in "critical" condition and in surgery. Giffords is an avid reader and was featured on NPR's Weekend Edition on July 9, 2006. She discussed books she was currently reading, including First Man, a biography of astronaut Neil Armstrong and The Heartless Stone a book by Tom Zoellner about the intricacies of the diamond industry across several continents. Congresswoman Giffords was periodically interviewed together with Illinois Republican Peter Roskam on NPR's All Things Considered. The series focused on their experiences as freshman members of the 110th Congress. Source: Gabrielle Giffords Shot.

Small Business Confidence in Canada

The CFIB’s Business Barometer hit 69.3 in December, an increase from 64 in the previous month and the biggest month-over-month gain in 17 months. A gauge of confidence among small business owners hit a nine-month high in December, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business reported Wednesday — a sign, it says, that entrepreneurs believe the economy is finding “firmer footing” after stumbling into a soft patch in mid-2010.

Confidence among small business owners improved in 10 of 13 sectors through the month of December, compared to a month earlier. And while December is generally associated with improved retail results, the CFIB said the biggest improvements were recorded in manufacturing; natural resources; financial services, mostly real estate and insurance; and construction.

If there was one drawback, the survey indicated just 14% of business owners plan to add to full-time staff levels in the next three to four months, while another 14% plan to cut back. Meanwhile, 17% of businesses surveyed indicated they would cut back on part-time employment, with 70% maintaining present levels.

Jonathan Basile, economist at Credit Suisse, said the 69.3 reading in December is consistent with about 3% annualized GDP growth, and the fourth-quarter average of 66.7 corresponds to about 2.5% annualized growth over time — or better than the 1% expansion reported in the third quarter. An index level above 50 means owners expecting their businesses to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. According to past results, index levels normally range between 65 and 75 when the economy is growing. The December 2010 findings are based on 825 responses through a Web-based survey, and the findings are said to be statistically accurate to plus-or-minute 3.4 percentage points 19 times in 20. Read more:

world food prices rising fast

World food prices continued to rise sharply in December, bringing them close to the crisis levels that provoked shortages and riots in poor countries three years ago, according to newly released United Nations data. Prices are expected to remain high this year, prompting concern that the world may be approaching another crisis, although economists cautioned that many factors, like adequate stockpiles of key grains, could prevent a serious problem.

The United Nations data measures commodity prices on the world export market. Those are generally far removed from supermarket prices in wealthy countries like the United States. In this country, food price inflation has been relatively tame, and prices are forecast to rise only 2 percent to 3 percent this year.

But the situation is often different in poor countries that rely more heavily on imports. The food price index of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization rose 32 percent from June to December, according to the report published Wednesday. In December, the index was slightly higher than it was in June 2008, its previous peak. The index is not adjusted for inflation, however, making an exact comparison over time difficult.

The global index was pushed up last year by rising prices for cooking oils, grains, sugar and meat, all of which could continue to remain high or rise.

"We are at a very high level," said Abdolreza Abbassian, an economist for the organization, which is based in Rome. "These levels in the previous episode led to problems and riots across the world." Abbassian said that bad weather affecting commodity crops in many exporting countries might help keep prices high over the next several months. Source:

Stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Tuesday as optimism continued to permeate the market ahead of data on factory orders and car sales. * The climb in futures followed a rise in U.S. stock indexes on Monday on encouraging signs about the outlook for manufacturing around the world that prompted investors to inject new money into equities.

* Coming on the heels of recent data pointing to a growing economic recovery, investors will eye the Commerce Department's release of November factory orders at 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT), with economists expecting a drop of 0.1 percent, compared with a 0.9 percent fall in the prior month.

* Monthly auto sales figures will also be closely watched. Fifteen economists surveyed by Reuters forecast December auto sales of about 12.3 million on the annualized and seasonally adjusted basis tracked by the industry.

* S&P 500 futures rose 4 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 48 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 7.5 points.