small business plan

small business plan

What is a Business Continuity Plan and Do You Need One? - Small Business Trends

Posted: 28 Feb 2019 06:00 AM PST

A big part of planning for small business success is a business continuity plan. This is the fallback position your business has when a natural disaster, power outage, or any one of a number of mishaps threatens your company's ability to function.

Part of the initial planning for one of these important documents starts with understanding how vulnerable your small business might be if an emergency happened.

How to Get Started with a Business Continuity Plan

One of the first things that you will need to do is understand the natural disasters like floods and wildfires that can happen in your area. This is a good starting point so that you can tailor make a business continuity plan that reacts to any potential issues of this kind. Here's a good starting point to better understand some of the risks.

Take Proactive Measure

Having one of these plans in place is a proactive measure. It is also motivational even if the disaster doesn't strike because it shows your customers and shareholders as well as your employees that you are prepared.

Here's some of the steps that you should work through with your small business to come up with a plan that will put everyone at ease.

Put an Emergency Team Together

Being ready for an emergency that can otherwise disrupt your business means having an emergency preparedness team in place. These are people that will be the foundation for how your business reacts and how operations will be able to continue.

Having this team in place means selecting some individuals or maybe a few managers who will be up to the task. They should have a thorough understanding of how your business works and these individuals all need to be reliable when it comes to decision-making.

If the whole idea was the brainchild of a committee in the first place, it's a good idea to let them take charge although one person should lead the entire planning process.

Look at the Risks

Finding out where your company is vulnerable by looking at the risks and doing an assessment is the next step. One of the ways to approach this type of assessment is to take proactive steps for each disaster possibility.

In other words, it's a good idea to be able to see any potential disruptions before they happen. There's a National Weather Service that you can monitor and local services too. If you're in a location where potential IT outages are an issue, assigning someone to monitor your network is a good idea.

If your business is near a body of water, making some flood preparations is a positive step.

Determine Essential Services

You'll also need to be able to determine the essential services for your small business. Some of the things that your company does might need to satisfy regulatory requirements so they should be top priority. You might be in a business that makes goods or services that can impact the health and safety of your customers.

Your business may experience a disruption because of interruptions in power lines or communication. These are considered essential services because you need to keep them running so you will need to consider alternate sources like generators.

Indentify Major Customers

Even if your products and services don't fit in those other categories, you'll want to be able to earmark major customers that keep you afloat financially. Ticking off check marks next to your major clients so they are in the essential services category is a good idea.

Prepare an Action Plan

This is one of the foundations of your entire business continuity plan. It should start by describing the essential parts of your business that you identified in the previous step. The individuals that have been put in charge should be mentioned clearly here.

It's a good idea to have backups as well. This is the meat and potatoes of all planning that you've done. Everything needs to be covered here. This includes how you're going to reallocate staff to keep things moving and what plans you have for using other sectors to keep the essential parts of your business up and running.

Any changes that you need to make with delivery models and business reporting needs to be detailed here. An important part of any action plan lists contact information should you need to contract services including staffing and equipment.

Keep in mind you have a variety of software solutions that can help you by providing access to the cloud for disaster recovery.

Test and Train

Once you have a plan in place, you will need to test it and train the continuity team. By running through a few mock exercises, you will be able to see where the plan needs to be tweaked.  It's a good idea that you continue to test even when you get the plan to where you think it needs to be. Reviewing your plan quarterly is a good idea to stay on top of any changes that need to be implemented.

Find a Business Continuity Plan Template

Putting together a business continuity plan is easy if you can find a template and just fill in the blank spaces to tailor make it to suit your business. There are a series of excellent resources to help you with a small business plan including The National Fire Protection Association's Standard on Continuity, Emergency and Crisis Management. Here's another version you can download and customize for your small business.


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Business Wilmington's Small Business Success Series returns in March - Brooklyn

Posted: 28 Feb 2019 01:37 PM PST

At about $9.37 per class, Wilmington's Small Business Success Series is a bargain.

The eight-week course helps aspiring entrepreneurs develop and write a killer business plan, complete with networking and one-on-one business plan counseling.

Beginning on March 19, selected entrepreneurs will have classes every Tuesday at Hercules Plaza at 1313 N. Market St. from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The fee for the course in $75 ($100 for non-Wilmington residents).

"This is a wonderful opportunity for current business owners — or those who wish to start their own business — to network with peers and learn some of the best practices related to business development," said Mayor Mike Purzycki in a statement. "Small businesses are the backbone of our City's economy — I am pleased that Wilmington is able to again offer this valuable program and I encourage those who have either developed or undeveloped business goals to attend."

Applications are now open for the series, with interviews running through March 13. Spots are limited; apply here.



Startup Satellite Venture OneWeb Blasts Off With Revised Business Plan - The Wall Street Journal

Posted: 27 Feb 2019 02:24 PM PST

A Russian rocket blasted into orbit the first batch of small satellites for broadband venture OneWeb Ltd. on Wednesday, as questions mount about the financial viability of such internet-via-space projects.

OneWeb, which has spent roughly $2 billion and may need to invest that much again, originally planned to put up hundreds of satellites primarily to offer low-cost internet links for individuals, schools and small businesses across developing regions. But OneWeb officials now say they have largely deferred that marketing...

Why Every Entrepreneur Needs A Business Plan - Forbes

Posted: 25 Feb 2019 06:00 AM PST

For many entrepreneurs, especially first-timers, business plans are daunting: Building a 50-page document that details every aspect of a theoretical business is no small task. It can be tempting to skip it, especially if you're in a line of work like mine in which the path to profit might seem pretty obvious: good legal training = good legal services = paying customers. But I assure you, it's not that simple.

Planning For Success (And Survival)

Starting a business isn't like learning to ride a bike. You can't just hop on, start pedaling and hope for the best. (Well, you can, but you'll find getting back on the bike is a lot harder when it requires capital.) In business, you do not want to wing it. You want a plan -- a document that lays out the path of your company for the next three to five years so you can see the route to your goals and know objectively if you're on track. It can be the difference between folding and thriving, especially when times get tough -- and tough times, while hopefully rare and short-lived, are the hallmark of owning a small business.

Your Business, A To Z

Running a business will always require some degree of improvisation, but your best bet is to be as prepared as humanly possible for what you can foresee. The specifics of a business plan can vary by field, but you're basically looking at six main components:

• Executive summary: The whole story of your business, in short-form -- what field you're in, how you'll make money, where you want to be in five years and how you'll get there.

• Business description: In detail, what your business is all about, what you'll make or provide to customers, how you'll make or provide it, and why that product or service is a good thing.

• Market/industry analysis: Why people will buy your product or service -- this includes market research (who your customers are and what they want) and an analysis of the industry and what current businesses are lacking.

• Organization: A description of how your business is structured, from business and tax entities to hierarchies and job descriptions -- who does what, who reports to whom and who is ultimately responsible for each element of your business's success.

• Financials: Your current financial state, where you want to be financially in five years and how you'll get from point A to point B -- in cold, hard numbers.

• Funding request: If you're asking for money, include how much you want and how and when you'll repay it.

Whether You Need Funding Or Not

While a great business plan is your key to scoring funding, you need a business plan even if you don't need money. Here's why: By writing all of this information down and fleshing it out in detailed form, you can see how logical the whole thing looks -- where the holes are, where the reasoning breaks down, which contingencies you haven't planned for, etc. If there are weak points, you want to address them before you're knee deep in running a new business and/or you hit one of those tough spots.

Recognizing the weak points is one side of the equation. The other side is inspiration. Immersing yourself in your business plan can spur new and better approaches to reaching your goals, because nothing jumpstarts brainstorming like pouring ideas onto paper.

Don't Let It Psych You Out

Of course, pouring ideas onto paper isn't everyone's thing. Here's what I recommend: In the beginning, don't approach your business plan as a 50-page document. Start with a skeleton -- the most basic possible outline of your business and your goals, in note form. Then, fill it in, step by step (which reminds me, include a timeline -- it helps to make it all more concrete), adding details and complete sentences as you go. You don't have to build the document in order, though it helps to start with the executive summary to see how you intend your business to unfold.

Ideally, once all of the other sections are filled in, you'll go back to the executive summary and update it because you'll have ironed out and beefed up your plans as you go through the various sections.

Growing Your Business Plan

Ultimately, your business plan is your key to success, and not just early on. Planning is crucial whether your company is two months old or 10 years old, so check back in and update the document as your company grows. A well-considered plan doesn't guarantee anything -- in small business, there are no sure things -- but it does put your schemes, strategies and calculations into a form you can accurately and dispassionately assess and improve.

Even the most seasoned entrepreneurs have blind spots. The smartest ones assume their plans have holes and imperfections and go looking for them because surprises are not a business owner's friend. One of the surest ways to find potential pitfalls -- and refine your whole entrepreneurial approach in the process -- is by building a focused, thorough business plan that lays out a logical path to reaching your goals.


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