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Finding Industry Events and Conferences

There's a tendency among busy professionals and other types of small business owners to keep the head down and nose to the grindstone. But you shouldn't allow the daily grind to keep you from attending or participating in industry events and conferences.

Operating a Successful Family Business

No doubt about it, running a business with a spouse, parents, siblings, children or other family members presents unique challenges over and above the usual problems a small business faces. That's why only one in three family businesses survives to the next generation.

Financing for Growth or Expansion

It's a story as old as the hills. After circling a giant customer for years hoping to snap off a piece of the big time, suddenly you've got the contract.

Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR)

While a great idea may be the kernel you need to start a small business, without the proper research and development, you're unlikely to get too far too fast. There is, however, government funding available that can help ease the burden: the Small Business Innovation Research Program.

Whos Who in Business

For anyone hoping to build their business or develop a network of business contacts, identifying fellow key decision makers is vital. While watching the newspaper's business section, attending networking events or even just calling the company can tell you the who's who of business, there's an easier and quicker way-- through the use of online directories.

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Business Financial Planning

Business financial planning is an essential element of a business plan. A well organized financial plan attracts potential business investors and gives your company economic focus.

National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO)

The National Association of Women Business Owners is for all women in business. From the sole proprietor to large corporations, women owners will find NAWBO a place to network with other women business owners.

Sole Proprietorships

If you have a great business idea in mind and would like to let the world know about it, a sole proprietorship could be for you. This type of business structure is the simplest and most popular type, and involves only you and your idea.

Making the Most of Clothing Donations

You may periodically drop off discarded clothing at donation centers, but do you give it much thought? Your clothing donations may mean a lot to someone who is doing without. There are approximately 600,000 homeless families alone in the United States, as well as 28 million U.

Using a Sample Business Proposal

The primary purpose of using sample business proposal is to review proposals created by others in your industry to help you learn more about how to create a well-organized, professional and attention-grabbing business proposal. If you're not a writer or simply unfamiliar with what to include in business proposals, reviewing a sample proposal is also a great way to avoid sitting in front of a blank computer screen for hours.

Sample Business Proposal Basics

Learning all about sample business proposal basics can help you obtain winning proposals to increase your company’s profitability. With the number of competitors rapidly growing across all industries, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for companies to develop new business.

Making the Most of Who's Who in Business

Making the most of who's who in business requires honed networking skills and time. Networking events and seminars, online who's who in business lists and databases, and networking through referrals are all great ways to expand your contacts list.

Business Planning Business Guide: Strategic Planning, Management Theory, and Project Management


Business planning is the first and most important function of the management process. It lays down the foundation for the creation of various business policies, procedures, and strategies. It provides a roadmap for the organization to run in a consistent and cohesive manner. Planning involves the setting of long-term and short-term goals for the business and outlines the strategies that must be put in place to achieve those goals. This helps management and employees to operate in consonance with the corporate plans and vision, and never lose sight of the group’s goals.

Planning is a continuous process because the business plans must constantly undergo revisions and changes in accordance with changing business conditions. In a highly complex and dynamic market environment, organizations that are agile and nimble-footed are able to survive and succeed in the long run. This involves a dynamic planning process that continues to re-adapt itself to changing technologies, competitors’ behavior, macroeconomic factors, and changing consumer needs and aspirations. Well-planned business organizations are usually able to anticipate and manage change more effectively and seize market opportunities to achieve leadership in a competitive marketplace.

Benefits

Goal Setting

Business planning involves setting group goals as well as departmental goals for the business organization. Long-term goals and short-term goals may be defined separately. Sales, marketing, and production goals may be quantified as much as possible to provide a clear perspective for strategy building and developing management processes. Clear goals help to motivate the organization to move forward with a specific aim and a clear direction. Any deviation from the goals can be measured later and the necessary modifications in business policies and strategies can be introduced.

Defining Policies and Procedures

The planning process involves the creation of corporate policies for the group as well as for various departments. These policies provide a broad framework of rules and regulations within which the business must operate. This ensures that all employees, in addition to top management, work in a common direction and respect the company’s policies. Similarly, clear procedures for various organizational tasks are laid down. This allows the business to perform at an optimal level of efficiency and effectiveness by using well-defined procedures.

Strategy Building

Once the broad business plan for the organization is ready and includes corporate vision, mission, goals, policies, and procedures, the next step of the planning process is to create sound business strategies. These strategies must be geared to achieve the goals and targets that have been set forth already. Furthermore, the strategies must be confined within the financial budget that has been planned for a particular department or unit.

Project Management

The business planning process may differ between organizations. Some companies operate on the basis of projects they receive from clients, such as large engineering firms or technologically-oriented companies. Such companies require a detailed project planning process because each project is different and requires specialized focus and attention. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), which is based in PA, there is a shortage of at least 100,000 project management professionals in the United States due to the rising demand for large projects.

Pitfalls

Unrealistic Planning

Business planning consultants may sometimes overreach in terms of goal setting, and set the goals of the organization much higher than its intrinsic capabilities. This can result in a faulty planning and execution process in anticipation of higher sales and higher revenues. The company may invest heavily in capacity building in accordance with bigger production or sales, which may not be realized later on.

Conservative Planning

Sometimes, business planning professionals may fail to anticipate the growing market demand and may set lower goals for the organization. This excessively conservative approach can be negative for the company’s growth. The business may miss out on some major opportunities in absence of adequate planning to meet the higher demand.

Weak or Outdated Business Strategy

The corporate strategy building process may be flawed, and result in ineffective strategies that fail to achieve the group’s goals and targets. Strategy creation and the implementation process is the most sensitive part of a business in a highly competitive market environment. The business will be outperformed by competitors if its strategies are weak or outdated compared to those of the competitors.

Faulty Project Planning

Project planning is a critical part of the business planning process for some organizations. This can involve complex technical aspects, particularly for large IT, engineering, or other technological projects. If the planning team or consultants are not well-versed with the technology or the various technical aspects of the project, it may result in faulty planning, which could lead to project delays and cost escalations.

Pricing

Business planning consultancy firms usually charge a significantly high fee for their services. The fee may depend on whether the process involves general planning consultancy or planning for specific areas of the business. Some business planners may also work on the basis of the total number of man hours invested by the consulting firm in the company’s planning business.

Business planning is the most critical part of the entire management process. Maximum effort, time, and money may be invested in the planning process to ensure that a sound foundation is laid down for the organization to move forward. Once the organization has developed comprehensive and effective business plans, implementation becomes easy. Predictability of results and financial stability of an organization can improve with a sound planning process.