Optimism, Hard Work and Success in Business: Are the all related?

Optimism, Hard Work and Success in Business: Are the all related?

A great interview with a successful Entrepreneur, aims to inspire any one thinking about starting their own business. be sure to check it out.

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So you have decided to start your own business, you have this great idea, you have started your business plan and now you need to know what to legally define your company as, well here is a simple guide which will tell you about the possibilities and some of the pros and cons of each.

Choosing the right one is an important step so take your time over this and access your goals and ambitions and chose the one which will best suit your business.

Sole Trader

This is by far the easiest way to set up a business and it is the most popular for those starting out, below are some of the key features:
  1. only one person runs and is legally responsible for the business
  2. All you need to do is register with HMRC as self employed other than that no other registration is required
  3. you trade in your own name for example, Sarah James or with a trading name such as Sarah James trading as My Business
  4. you are taxed via the Self Assessment and you normally pay tax twice per annum.
  1. You are only need to maintain a Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet so accounts are kept to the minimum and so are fairly straight forward.
  2. very easy and quick to get up and running
  3. All profit after tax is yours to keep.
  1. you are personally liable for all the debts incurred
  2. your personal assets are at risk, if your business fails your creditors can seize your property in settlement.

This is the second most popular way of running a small business.

  • a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 20 partners
  • Can operate under partnerships name or the partners name followed by trading as. But all correspondences must use name of all partners.
  • Each partner must register with HMRC as self employed.Partnership agreement should be signed, to minimise problems in the future.
  1. Very easy and quick to start.
  2. Accounts can be simple if you maintain organised books.
  3. responsibility for business debts is shared amongst partners.
  1. you are personally liable for up to 100% of the partnership debts and creditors can chase you for this
  2. your personal assets are at risk and can be seized by creditors to settle debts
  3. When you sign a partnership or verbally agree a partnership, you must split the profits in the agreed proportions
Limited Company

This is one of the less popular methods for start up companies, mainly because the costs to set them up are much higher, however recent legislative changes mean that ltd companies with profits less that £10k have tax breaks mean that they are rising in popularity. They are usually done by established businesses and start-ups with high start up capital.

  • a separate legal entity in its own right and can sue and be sued
  • owned by the shareholders
  • set up via registration at Companies House - see link
  • annual accounts have to be submitted without fail
  1. Liability is limited by shareholders stake in the business
  2. The company is an entity in itself and hence will not dissolve when the directors or shareholders die or leave.
  3. Ltd companies are viewed in a more trustworthy light that sole traders and partnerships.
  1. Large amount of paper to register company.
  2. It has much higher costs associated with set up.
  3. you can be fined for missing the annual returns

Strategic Business Planning

To many managers, the term "business planning" is a buzzword to describe what 30 years ago was conceived as the financial budget, and therefore the restricted realm of the accountant. To others it may represent a document required to obtain an overdraft or a loan from their bankers. A business plan may prove to be the most important document that may be compiled in any bushness. This paper aims to eliminate such taboos and simplify what the strategic business planning process is all about, and how its benefits could be maximised by the management of a business.


When we speak about a strategic business plan, the message to be conveyed is about the strategies and tactics to be adopted by an organisation to reach its missions and goals. An integral part of the plan is financial in nature, but the strategic business plan is no plan at all if it does not address marketing, human resources, ICT and all other resources needed to integrate and fuse the organisational efforts to achieve targets, in terms of maximisation of profits. Thus, an effective business plan should serve FOUR underlying purposes:

We could keep going on asking questions as much as we would like our plan to be detailed. Probably the answers to some would need more effort in terms of time and resources than others. The most important factors which determine this preliminary stage of planning is to ensure that we are asking ourselves the right questions, that they are leading our business in the direction we want it to go. On the other hand, a manager must be aware of asking too many questions that lead nowhere. The objective of this process is to enable the manager to grasp what the target is and then plan on how to achieve that target.

Should You Write Your Own Business Plan?

If you are just starting a company and looking for funding, or looking for additional funding for growth, you will need to develop a traditional business plan. Creating a business plan is a business hurdle that entrepreneurs seem to dread. Do you do it yourself? Do you hire someone to do it? How do you get it done quickly, but without spending too much money on it? Will what you do yourself be adequate to get funding?

In this article I will discuss the pros and cons of do-it-yourself business planning versus having a business planning consultant do it for you or with you.

The Do It Yourself Business Plan

Particularly if you are seeking capital of less than $200,000, consider creating the plan yourself after taking a class or reading some books or getting some coaching for someone who has written successful business plans.

Consider taking a three-hour business planning class through SCORE or the local Small Business Development Center. Even if you decide afterwards not to write your own plan, you will have a much better idea of what you want out of the process and what to expect.

There are some good reasons for an entrepreneur to do the business plan:

  • First of all, because you can. If you've read sample business plans and find their accounting jargon intimidating, you are not alone. But as long as you can clearly get your message across and have other people such as you accountant look at the plan before it goes to lenders or others, you can do this work yourself.
  • It is in learning the business planning process that you develop analytical thinking skills necessary to run your business with an intimate understanding of your own business model. Going through the planning process is an invaluable business experience.
  • You need to know the plan inside and out and really understand the variables involved. You are the one who will be asked the tough questions by potential investors or lenders, such as "What will you do if only half your expected revenue comes in?" or "What will you do if you find out that direct mail is not working for you as your primary marketing tool?"

Do I need to write a business plan if I am not planning for bank loan or investment?

This is a questionsthat I am asked by many starting up a business and the simple andemphatic answer is YES. The fact that a bank or investing individualor institution is a secondary consideration.

Primary focus if thebusiness plan.

The primary and mostimportant role of writing the business plan is to guide and directthe business owner or manger in the operation of the business.Preparing and writing the plan focuses the writer consider all thepossibilities and aspects associated with their business. It forcesthe writer to confront and come up with solutions to any problemswhich the plan may highlight. It helps you to think about yourselfand where you have a deficit in a certain skill and allows you tofocus on these and allows you to search for training opportunities oradvisers to fill this gap.

A good video on what type of business plan would suit you, by Tim Berry:

Financial advantages ofdoing a business plan

A monthly comparison ofall known costs over time, will indicate to you the necessary salesyou need to accomplish in order to match these and a make a profit.It allows you to look at this figure and assess whether it is areasonable number, if it's not then it can cast a doubt on thevalidity of the adventure itself. So it is not just a tool forgetting an investment or working capital but it's a tool to give yourbusiness direction and assess the validity of your hypothesises.

The business plan is animportant and working management tool, which allows the manager toanticipate and compensate for situations before they arise andprevent business emergencies.

Foresight and planningare a vital part of starting your own business, don't underestimatethem. You can find more information on writing business plans for small business.

Happy New Year - Starting a new business: Business Ideas

Just thought I'd wish you all a very happy and hopefully a profitable New Year. If your New Years resolution is to start your new business then now is the time to act. I know that it can be a mine field of information and this information overload can lead to people giving up on their goals, but please don't. Starting a small business doesn't have to be complicated or stressful and doesn't have to take all that long. But you have to act or it will just stagnate and you will go off the idea.

So get up, and start working come up with that business idea, use brain storming, mind mapping or just jot think about:

  • Online - You could start an online business, in e-bay selling, affiliate marketing, content writing etc. The only thing i will say is watch out for the scams there are many and don't sign upto every site you first find. One useful one i still use is Keyword Academy which is well worth looking at. Here is a useful video: 

  •  Hobbies - you'd be amazed at how you can monetise your favourite things to do, if you are an incredible baker start up a cupcake company, if you're great at cross-stitch start a personalized cross stitch company, photography start doing head shots for actors.
  • Writing - If you are passionate about writing, as I am, then you could start writing articles for content farms, you could use Elance, freelance etc. to get work from people, you could start writing a book.
  • Skills - If you are very good at something i.e. leadership, communication, marketing then why not think about starting a consulting business, consulting medium companies and or groups or provide specialised training in these areas.
  • Subjects - If you are an expert in a subject, maths, instrument, singing, science, languages then why not start a tutoring company
  • Market Experience - If you have worked in retail or product development for many years, why not turn your hand and expertise to making money for yourself in the market you know best by setting up shop, plus you have the advantage of knowing the competitors well having worked for them.
  • niche business ideas - This is where you start a business which could be a spin off from a main business idea, for example a child friendly restaurant which caters for kids needs over parents needs.
A good business idea will set you free.

So there are some ideas, use this new year, or if your not reading it then, now to get your business ideas on paper and start this new year with a bang. Once you have done this you are in a good position to make a good go of it. Wondering what to do next, there is a good business startup checklist at The Business Startup Hub which is really worth checking out.

How To Prepare A Business Plan That Guarantees Big Profits

It is always said "If you Fail to Plan, you Plan to Fail"

Success in business comes as a result of planning. You have to have a detailed, written plan that shows what the ultimate goal is, the reason for the goal, and each milestone that must be passed in order to reach your goal.

A business plan is written definition of, and operational plan for achieving your goal. You need a complete but success tool in order to define your basic product, income objectives and specific operating procedures. YOU HAVE TO HAVE A BUSINESS PLAN to attract investors, obtain financing and hold onto the confidence of your creditors, particularly in times of cash flow shortages--in this instance, the amount of money you have on hand compared with the expenses that must be met.

Aside from an overall directional policy for the production, sales effort and profit goals of your product--your basic "travel guide" to business success--the most important purpose your business plan will serve, will be the basis or foundation of any financial proposals you submit. Many entrepreneurs are under the mistaken impression that a business plan is the same as a financial proposal, or that a financial proposal constitutes a business plan. This is just a misunderstanding of the uses of these two separate and different business success aids.

The business plan is a long range "map" to guide your business to the goal you've set for it. The plan details the what, why, where, how and when, of your business--the success planning of your company.

Your financial proposal is a request for money based upon your business plan--your business history and objectives.

Understand the differences. They are closely related, but they are not interchangeable.

Writing and putting together a "winning" business plan takes study, research and time, so don't try to do it all in just one or two days.

The easiest way to start with a loose leaf notebook, plenty of paper, pencils, pencil sharpener, and several erasers. Once you get your mind "in gear" and begin thinking about your business plan, "10,000 thoughts and ideas per minute" will begin racing thru your mind...So, it's a good idea when you aren't actually working on your business plan, to carry a pocket notebook and jot down those business ideas as they come to you--ideas for sales promotion, recruiting distributors, and any other thoughts on how to operate and/or build your business.

Later, when you're actually working on your business plan, you can take out this "idea notebook" evaluate your ideas, rework them, refine them, and integrate them into the overall "big picture" of your business plan.

The best business plans for even the smallest businesses run 25 to 30 pages or more, so you'll need to "title" each page and arrange the different aspects of your business plan into "chapters." The format should pretty much run as follows:

Title Page Statement of Purpose Table of Contents Business Description Market Analysis Competition Business Location Management Current Financial Records Explanation of Plans For Growth Projected Profit & Loss/Operating Figures Explanation of Financing for Growth Documentation Summary of Business & Outlook for The Future Listing of Bushness & personal References

This is a logical organization of the information every business plan should cover. I'll explain each of these chapters titles in greater detail, but first, let me elaborate upon the reasons for proper organization of your business plan.

Having a set of "questions to answer" about your business forces you to take an objective and critical look at your ideas. Putting it all down on paper allows you to change, erase and refine everything to function in the manner of a smoothly oiled machine. You'll be able to spot weakness and strengthen them before they develop into major problems. Overall, you'll be developing an operating manual for your business--a valuable tool which will keep your business on track, and guide you in the profitable management of your business.

Because it's your idea, and your business, it's very important that YOU do the planning. This is YOUR business plan, so YOU develop it, and put it all down on paper just the way YOU want it to read. Seek out the advice of other people; talk with, listen to, and observe, other people running similar businesses; enlist the advice of your accountant and attorney--but at the bottom line, don't ever forget it has to be YOUR BUSINESS PLAN!

Remember too, that statistics show the greatest causes of business failure to be poor management and lack of planning--without a plan by which to operate, no one can manage; and without a direction in which to aim its efforts, no business can attain any real success.

On the very first page, which is the title page, put down the name of your business-ABC ACTION--with your business address underneath. Now, skip a couple of lines, and write it all in capital letters: PRINCIPAL OWNER--followed by your name if you're the principal owner. On your finished report, you would want to center this information on the page, with the words "principal owner" off-set to the left about five spaces.

Examples: ABC ACTION 1234 SW 5th Ave. Anywhere, USA 00000


That's all you'll have on this page except the page number -1-

Following your title page is the page for your statement purpose. This should be a simple statement of your primary business function, such as: We are a service business engaged in the business of selling business success manuals and other information by mail.

The title of the page should be in all capital letters across the top of the page, centered on your final draft--skip a few lines and write the statement of purpose. This should be direct, clear and short--never more than (2) sentences in length.

Then you should skip a few lines, and from the left hand margin of the paper, write out a sub-heading in all capital letters, such as: EXPLANATION OF PURPOSE.

From, and within this sub-heading you can briefly explain your statement of purpose, such as: Our surveys have found most entrepreneurs to be "sadly" lacking in basic information that will enable them to achieve success. This market is estimated at more than a 100 million persons, with at least half of these people actively "searching" for sources that provide the kind of information they want, and need.

With our business, advertising and publishing experience, it is our goal to capture at least half of this market of information seekers, with our publication. MONEY MAKING MAGIC! Our market research indicates we can achieve this goal and realize a profit of $1,000,000 per year within the next 5 years...

The above example is generally the way you should write your "explanation of purpose," and in subtle definition, why you need an explanation. Point to remember: Keep it short. Very few business purpose explanations justify more than a half page long.

Next comes your table of contents page. Don't really worry about this until you've got the entire plan completed and ready for final typing. It's a good idea though, to list the subject (chapter titles) as I have, and then check off each one as you complete that part of your plan.

By having a list of the points you want to cover, you'll also be able to skip around and work on each phase of your business plan as an idea or the interest in organizing that particular phase, stimulates you. In other words, you won't have to make your thinking or your planning conform to the chronological order of the "chapters" of your business plan--another reason for the loose leaf notebook.

In describing your business, it's best to begin where your statement purpose leaves off. Describe your product, the production process, who has responsibility for what, and most importantly, what makes your product or service unique--what gives it an edge in your market. You can briefly summarize your business beginnings, present position and potential for future success, as well.

Next, describe the buyers you're trying to reach--why they need and want or will buy your product--and the results of any tests or surveys you may have conducted. Once you've defined your market, go on to explain how you intend to reach that market--how you'll these prospects to your product or service and induce them to buy. You might want to break this chapter down into sections such as..publicity and promotions, advertising plans, direct sales force, and dealer/distributor programs. Each section would then be an outline of your plans and policies.

Moving into the next chapter on competition, identify who your competitors are--their weakness and strong points--explain how you intend to capitalize on those weaknesses and match or better the strong points. Talk to as many of your "indirect" competitors as possible--those operating in different cities and states.

One of the easiest ways of gathering a lot of useful information about your competitors is by developing a series of survey questions and sending these questionnaires out to each of them. Later on, you might want to compile the answers to these questionnaires into some form of directory or report on this type of business.

It's also advisable to contact the trade associations and publications serving your proposed type of business. For information on trade associations and specific trade publications, visit your public library, and after explaining what you want ask for the librarian's help.

The chapter on management should be an elaboration on the people operating the business. Those people that actually run the business, their job, titles, duties, responsibilities and background resume's. It's important that you "paint" a strong picture of your top management people because the people coming to work for you or investing in your business, will be "investing in these people" as much as your product ideas. Individual tenacity, mature judgement under fire, and innovative problem-solving have "won over" more people than all the AAA Credit Ratings and astronomical sales figures put together.

People becoming involved with any new venture want to know that the person in charge--the guy running the business knows what he's doing, will not lose his cool when problems arise, and has what it takes to make money for all of them> After showing the "muscle" of this person, go on to outline the other key positions within your business; who the persons are you've selected to handle those jobs and the sources as well as availability of any help you might need.

If you've been in business of any kind scale, the next chapter is a picture of your financial status--a review of your operating costs and income from the business to date. Generally, this is a listing of your profit & loss statements for the six months, plus copies of your business income tax records for each of the previous three years the business has been an entity.

The chapter on the explanation of your plans for the future growth of your business is just that--an explanation of how you plan to keep your business growing--a detailed guide of what you're going to do, and how you're going to increase your profits. These plans should show your goals for the coming year, two years, and three years. By breaking your objectives down into annual milestones, your plan will be accepted as more realistic and be more understandable as a part of your ultimate success.

Following this explanation, you'll need to itemize the projected cost and income figures of your three year plan. I'll take a lot of research, an undoubtedly a good deal of erasing, but it's very important that you list these figures based upon thorough investigation. You may have to adjust some of your plans downward, but once you've got these two chapters on paper, your whole business plan will fall into line and begin to make sense. You'll have a precise "map" of where you're headed, how much it's going to cost, when you can expect to start making money, and how much.

Now that you know where you're going, how much it's going to cost and how long it's going to be before you begin to recoup your investment, you're ready to talk about how and where you're going to get the money to finance your journey. Unless you're independently wealthy, you'll want to use this chapter to list the possibilities and alternatives. Make a list of friends you can approach, and perhaps induce to put up some money as silent partners. Make a list of those people you might be able to sell as stockholders in your company--in many cases you can sell up to $300,000 worth of stock on a "private issue" basis without filing papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Check with a corporate or tax attorney in your area for more details. Make a list of relatives and friends that might help you with an outright loan to furnish money for the development of your business.

Then search out and make a list of venture capital organizations. Visit the Small Business Administration office in your area--pick up the loan application papers they have--read them, study them, and even fill them out on a preliminary basis--and finally, check the costs, determine which business publications would be best to advertise in, if you were to advertise for a partner or investor, and write an ad you'd want to use if you did decide to advertise for monetary help.

With listing of all the options available to your needs, all that's left is the arranging of these options in the order you would want to use them when the time come to ask for money. When you're researching these money sources, you'll save time by noting the "contact" deal with when you want money, and whenever possible, by developing a working relationship with these people.

If your documentation section, you should have a credit report on yourself. Use the Yellow Pages or check at the credit department in your bank for the nearest credit reporting office. When you get your credit report, look it over and take whatever steps are necessary to eliminate any negative comments. Once these have been taken care of, ask for a revised copy of your report and include a copy of that in your business plan.

If you own any patents or copyrights, include copies of these. Any licenses to use someone else's patent or copyright should also be included. If you own the distribution, wholesale or exclusive sales rights to a product, include copies of this documentation. You should also include copies of any leases, special agreements or other legal papers that might be pertinent to your business.

In conclusion, write out a brief, overall summary of your business- when the business was started, the purpose of the business, what makes your business different, how you're going to gain a profitable share of the market, and your expected success during the coming 5 years..

The last page of your business plan is a "courtesy page" listing the names, addresses and phone numbers of personal and business references--persons who have known you closely for the past five years or longer--and companies or firms you've had business or credit dealings with during the past five years.

And, that's it--your complete business plan. Before you send it out for formal typing, read it over once a day for a week or ten days. Take care of any changes or corrections, and then have it reviewed by an attorney and then, an accountant. It would also be a good idea to have it reviewed by a business consultant serving the business community to which your business will be related. After these reviews, and any last-minute changes you want to make, I'll be ready for formal typing.

Type and print the entire plan on ordinary white bond paper. Make sure you proof-read it against the original. Check for any corrections and typographical errors--then one more time--read it through for clarity and the perfection you want of it.

Now you're ready to have it printed and published for whatever use you have planned for it--distribution amongst your partners or stockholders as the business plan for putting together a winning financial proposal, or as a business operating manual.

Take it to a quality printer in your area, and have three copies printed. Don't settle for photo-copying..Have it printed!

Photo-copying leaves a slight film on the paper, and will detract from the overall professionalism of your business plan, when presented to someone you're trying to impress. So, after going to all this work to put together properly, go all the way and have it duplicated properly.

Next, stop by a stationery store, variety store or even a dime store, and pick up an ordinary, inexpensive bind-in theme cover for each copy of your business plan. Have the holes punched in the pages of your business report to fit these binders and then slip each copy into a binder of its own.

Now, you can relax, take a break and feel good about yourself..You have a complete and detailed business plan with which to operate a successful business of your own. A plan you can use as a basis for any financing proposal you may want to submit..And a precise road-map for the attainment of real success...

Graduates in the news...

Congrats Pat Townley on your retirement-- so proud to number you among the graduates of the Management Academy!

Pat got a lovely write-up in her local paper in Rome, Georgia: