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Tips for creating a winning business plan

Starting a business is an exciting experience, and one that requires hard work and forethought, as many Maryland business owners know. However, unforeseen events and misfortunes can occur from time to time, and a strong business plan can help keep the company afloat. Here are some tips for creating a strong business plan. One of the biggest setbacks for many startups is that they run out of money because the owner underestimated the company's operating costs. It may be that the demand for the company's products or services was low, the cost of supplies was higher than expected or the company lost income because of unpredicted circumstances. To counteract these losses, an effective business plan will reflect solutions to keep the business operating as smoothly as possible. One such strategy outlined in an effective business plan is to increase the company's spending budget by 10 percent. For instance, if the…

How to make an effective strategic business plan

Most business owners in Maryland understand that strategic business planning is key to a company's success. However, understanding its importance and actually executing a strategic business plan are two different things. When a business plan just sits on the shelf, it becomes nothing more than a static document. Strategic business plans often fail to create change in an organization because they do not contain clear directions. To be effective, a business plan should set the trajectory for a company by outlining specific goals and articulating clear vision statements. A solid plan for how to reach the specified goals and achieve the company's vision should also be included in the strategic business plan. It is important for all of the executives to understand a strategic business plan so that they can work to achieve the goals that have been set. If the plan is too complex or vague, it could end…

Startups require intelligent planning

Although many Maryland entrepreneurs aspire to become iconic mavericks who fly by the seat of their pants, business plans are a must. Start-up company owners may be misled into believing they can survive with lean strategies that forego in-depth strategies or mistakenly think they don't require well-documented plans. On the contrary, entrepreneurs who have business plans could find it easier to make forward progress and take charge of their development. Startup plans ought to be created by teams who work together to develop such documents over time. This process can keep employees on track as they determine whether they are actually reaching their goals. Consistently rethinking a business plan may also help companies prune unnecessary details. Although business plans don't have to be complex, they should address a number of vital concerns. These documents typically describe the function of products or services, the motivations behind their development and strategies for…

Planning for businesses effectively

It is a smart move for small business owners to write business plans. Maryland entrepreneurs are much likelier to succeed when they have good plans in place. Writing an effective one involves stepping back and viewing the business through a holistic lens, including several key things. One mistake business owners make is failing to think about and to include all of the key players who will help the venture to be successful. This list could include suppliers, consumers, subcontractors and others whose input and assistance are essential. Owners should both list all of these people and then include them in their plans. Owners also often work to come up with mission statements, and many of these statements are often uninspiring. Instead, they may want to think about what their visions are for their companies. By sharing those visions with everyone, getting people excited about the business is easier. It is…

Personal planning for Maryland business owners

For many entrepreneurs, the line between business financial planning and individual financial planning may be blurred. This is because the success of their businesses may translate to their overall financial health. However, it is critical that a business owner not assume that financial success in business will translate to being successful with personal finances. Instead, business owners should take the time to answer questions about their current financial picture as well as plan for retirement. While a business owner may have most of his or her net worth tied to his or her company, diversification still matters. If a death in the family or another financial emergency occurs, it may be necessary to leave the company, even if it's not the best time to sell. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to have another source of income in the event that a business owner is forced to sell at a loss…

Why small businesses fail in Maryland

Studies show that around 80 percent of small businesses fail within the first 18 months of operation. This is generally not due to major and obvious mistakes or lack of effort on the part of owners. Instead, things like lack of marketing, poor customer service and a bad location can be all that it takes to keep a business from doing well. No matter how great a product or service is, if people aren't aware that it or the business that offers it exists, the business will struggle and likely fail. It's important for business owners to determine what the best methods of advertising their goods and services are and to make sure that they are making potential customers aware of their existence. Customer service is another common issue for small businesses. Part of the problem is that people now expect great customer service, so if a business isn't ensuring…

Wine entrepreneurs share their business lessons

The biographies of those who have made it to the top of the business world through persistence and hard work are reliable sources of inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs in Maryland and around the country, but successful business figures can also provide those thinking of starting a commercial venture of their own with valuable guidance. The lessons learned by the founders of California-based Barefoot Wines were revealed in a June 20 article, and they could help budding entrepreneurs to avoid a number of new business pitfalls. Business lessons tend to be learned the hard way, and the founders of barefoot Wines say that many entrepreneurs focus so much on the big picture that they fail to take care of more mundane tasks like securing necessary permits or paying attention to minor details. The founders also say that their road to success was unpredictable, and those hoping to follow in their footsteps…

How business intelligence can improve the business plan

Many business owners in Maryland and throughout the nation work hard to achieve success. Besides striving to keep ahead of their competitors, they look for ways to meet the needs of their customers and increase their customer base. Using tools such as an effective business plan can empower them to reach their goals and grow their company. However, as the business world gets more intelligent with the use of data, successful owners turn to the use of business intelligence to keep pace. Business intelligence is the way a company collects and uses data in a way that will benefit the enterprise. Because there is a huge amount of business data produced on the Internet and from various other sources, it must be analyzed before a particular company can utilize it. To do this, information technology experts use a standard process known as cross industry standard process for mining data. When…

How small business owners can best manage their finances

Owning a small business takes confidence and the belief that an idea is worth pursuing. It also means being smart with money and ensuring that each dollar spent will provide a return on that investment. Ideally, Maryland business owners will treat their people as an investment as opposed to a disposable commodity. Investing in the long-term success of an employee may increase that person's productivity as well as his or her loyalty to the company. For the most part, a business owner doesn't plan for his or her business to stay small forever. Therefore, it is important to think ahead of time about how and when to make big purchases. If possible, it may be more beneficial to make purchases on a business line of credit as opposed to a personal credit card from a liability standpoint. While getting business credit is always a good decision, it is equally important…

Why keeping business plans simple may help business owners

Some prospective Maryland entrepreneurs get bogged down when they are trying to write their business plans for their new ventures. It is fairly easy to lose sight of the big picture when writing a business plan, and many people tend to get lost in the details. When a business owner is just starting out, it is a good idea to focus on keeping the plan as simple as possible. The obvious focus should be on the big details, such as the goals for the company, existing competitors, the direction the business owner wants to go with the company and other such details. One reason some business owners make their initial plans too complicated is that they dislike the feeling of uncertainty. They try to plan everything away. The key to understanding how planning should work is to keep in mind that the future by its very nature will always be…