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Business Plan Software – How to Create a Business Plan Using Reliable Software

Have you ever wondered why some businesses fail and some succeed?

There are numbers of reasons to be honest, but usually the major cause is direction. In any endeavor that we choose in life, the one most critical thing that we must have is direction, and in business the greatest way to achieve that focused direction toward success is to have a detailed business plan to follow.

Not only that, but it’s also a crucial element for those businesses that need to, or may someday need to, gain some sort of venture capital – whether it be for a loan or from an actual venture capitalist. Either way, the people loaning you money are going to want to make sure that you have that detailed direction in the form of a business plan.

Just think about this fact for a moment. If you were investing in a business venture, or loaning someone money to open or enhance their business, wouldn’t you want to know that they’ve taken every step possible that they could – and have planned out every detail available to ensure success – to ensure that you will either turn a profit on the business, or at the very least get the money that you’ve loaned back?

The problem for most businesses though, and the reason that most don’t ever create a business plan is the simple fact that they don’t have a clue where to start.

There are certain important elements that your businesses plan must contain in order for you to have a better chance for success. This includes but is not limited to a overall summary for your business…in other words what your business is about in a nutshell and where you plan to take it.

In more detail however are such things as the stringent financial planning behind your business, a detailed description of your customers and who you plan to serve, your all-important marketing plan, as well many other crucial elements such as personnel planning, etc.

There are different types of business plans for every occasion whether it be for the aforementioned task of getting a loan or venture capital or simply for just having a blue print of how to take your level from conception to success in the most efficient and effective way possible. That being said there are various formats to use for different industries of businesses as well, where some are more suitable than others.

You can definitely learn all of this on your own which will take tons and tons of time, or you can cut your learning curve down by probably 80% and use a business plan software that will show you exactly how to create your business plan, in exactly what format with hundreds of different templates, and simple automated ways of entering your information and doing strategic calculations that will have your business running like a well oiled machine.

One of the most, if not the most acknowledged business plan software tool in the world is from the company PaloAlto Software called Business Plan Pro. There are actually two versions of this product – Standard and Premier – depending on the size and type of your business.

Not everyone’s business is uniform in type, size, and or market so there will be a huge difference between the business plan of one company to that of another – such as the difference between a small mom and pop store to a large business with dozens of employees.

Business Plan Pro makes it simple for you to create your very own plan by giving you easy to follow step by step instructions in a SBA (Small Business Association) approved format. You’ll have no problem collecting market and demographic data for your industry, unless there’s the rare exception that you don’t fall into 1 of 9,000 profiled industries that the software provides data for.

Basically, having Business Plan Pro is like having your own business plan consultant on hand 24 hours a day helping you to create your business plan in the correct way, and making sure that you have all of your market data, business planning, as well as financial planning just right in order for your business to be in the minority statistic of businesses that succeed rather than the other side!

Home Computer Business – The Dirty Dozen – Mistakes To Avoid (#1 and #4)

This article is one of a series, collectively titled “The Dirty Dozen: Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Business.” Making these mistakes can be very costly in both time and money, but all of these possible mistakes can be easily avoided by some advance knowledge and planning ahead. Although I think the information in this series of articles can be very valuable to home business operators, it is very important for you to know that I am writing this series of articles solely from a “lessons learned” perspective. I am not a legal, tax, or accounting professional. You should consult an appropriate professional for detailed advice that is specifically relevant for you and your business.

In this article, I am going to discuss the potential problem areas of setting up your home computer business identity and not carrying adequate insurance.

Let’s start with properly setting up your home computer business identity. No clue what this means? Welcome to the club! It was all pretty much a mystery to me when I got started running my own business.

The situation is basically this: your business must have its own “self,” just like you do. But here’s the difference. You didn’t get to choose who you would be, select your own name, etc. You can (and must) make all those choices for your business.

To begin with, you must decide what kind of legal and tax identity your business will have. There are two big possibilities: a sole proprietorship, or a corporation (Inc. or LLC). Each of these possibilities has advantages and disadvantages, which may vary a lot based on your own tax situation, your expected business income, and even the state in which you live (in the United States).

Many, perhaps most, small businesses are operated as a “sole proprietorship.” This essentially means that you are the “only owner” of your business. It is usually the easiest type of business to set up, and it generally requires no “set up” costs other than perhaps a business license if your local government (city, county, etc.) requires you to have one. Under a sole proprietorship, you and your business are seen as being one single entity. All business records will include your name, your Social Security number, etc. Your personal income (say, from your existing job) and your business income will be counted together when you do your taxes, which minimizes number of IRS forms you need to fill out.

However, one of the big reasons that some business owners invest the time and money to set up a different type of business ownership is precisely because, in a sole proprietorship, you and your business are regarded as a single “being.”

Here’s one potential problem with that type of business identity. Let’s say you own a little ice cream shop, and you operate it as a sole proprietorship. You’re not making a huge amount of money after expenses, but it’s working, and it’s getting better week by week, and you have actually set aside $10,000 in profits.

Then, one awful day, little Joey comes in, slips on melted ice cream you haven’t wiped up yet, gets a complicated break in his right arm, and the fall gives him a concussion. You could be responsible for the costs of all of that — Joey’s hours in the emergency room, the consultation with pediatric neurosurgeons, the orthopedic surgeon who specializes in setting really bad bone fractures, Joey’s X-rays, his MRI and CAT scans, his two days in the pediatric intensive care unit – I think you can probably add even more. And that is all hoping that Joey’s mother doesn’t sue you for negligence (being careless or irresponsible) in addition to paying for all of his medical bills!

Those costs could burn through your $10,000 in profits in a couple of days – and that’s not even the worst of it. Because you and your business are seen as one entity in a sole proprietorship, you and your business share both income and liabilities. That could mean that after you have spent your $10,000 in business profits, you could be required to start paying the rest of Joey’s medical costs with your “own” money. In effect, all of your personal income and assets could become vulnerable to being used to cover your business costs.

It doesn’t even have to be a big dramatic situation like little Joey to create big problems for you. What if you ordered a gigantic amount of ice cream for the summer, and it rains most of the time from June until September? Your business income will probably go way down below what you expected, and your profits may not be enough to cover the cost of all that ice cream that is still in your freezer – not to mention that you’re having trouble covering your store rent and utilities with only a few people buying ice cream in a rainy summer. Same problem. After you’ve used up your saved $10,000 in profits, you could be required to use your own savings etc. to pay those bills.

Pretty scary, huh? Now, admittedly, those are pretty extreme made-up examples. But the point remains. In a sole proprietorship, your personal assets can be taken to cover your business expenses.

Enter corporations. A huge difference between designating your business as some type of corporation vs. a sole proprietorship is that your incorporated business is seen as being a separate entity from you and your personal income and assets. To make this seem more real, consider again little Joey and his accident in your ice cream store. If your ice cream business was set up as a corporation, Joey’s medical bills would belong to your corporation – not you personally. Then when you used up your $10,000 in corporate assets to pay his bills, your personal assets could be protected from being taken to cover any of Joey’s remaining bills. Same thing with all the ice cream from the rainy summer. Even if your corporation owes money to your ice cream supplier etc., those people cannot take your personal assets to pay your corporation’s bills.

As an internet entrepreneur, you are probably way less vulnerable to physical injury and unsold merchandise problems than “real business” owners are. So it may make perfectly good sense to start your home business as a “paperwork-simple” sole proprietorship. The important thing here is to be aware of alternatives and get good professional advice about the best choices for you. And do it before your business is already well underway – playing catch-up is no fun – especially when it involves tax and legal issues.

Get help here:

SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) is group of (guess what?) retired executives who will share their years of experience and expertise with you, for free!!

One more time, please remember that what I am giving you here is only my personal understanding of these topics. I advise you to get professional assistance.

Not Carrying Adequate Insurance

Back to little Joey and his ice cream disaster. If you had bought liability insurance for your ice cream shop, probably your insurance company would have paid a good part of little Joey’s medical bills – and helped defend you against a negligence lawsuit if Joey’s mother decided to sue you.

Again, you will not likely have a “Joey” experience as an internet business owner, but you still could find yourself in a situation where someone is claiming that something you did cost them time, money, inconvenience, pain, etc., and they want you to pay them for it. Just think about all you hear about malpractice suits against physicians.

To help protect themselves against similar lawsuits, many professionals who sell their ideas, advice, or expertise (think accountants, attorneys, business advisers, etc.) carry a specialized type of insurance called “Errors and Omissions” (E&O). Discuss this with your insurance agent.

If you expect to have business clients visiting you (either in an office away from your home, or in a home office), you should think about liability insurance. Your basic homeowner’s insurance may or may not cover people who come to your house as clients of your business.

Guess what I’m going to say now? Yep! Be sure to consult with an insurance professional to find out exactly what you need to protect yourself and your business.

How To “Earn Money Online” For The Long Haul With An Online Business

Many times entrepreneurs will set out to earn money online with dollar figures in there eyes for their first month. They plan for that initial commission base, but they don’t plan their online business structure to create longevity for them. You may be excited over your profit margins at the beginning. But having a business that is created for the long-term is going to continue to pay you through the life of your business.

Don’t fall prey to the figures you may have been promised when you started your online business. When you set out to earn money online it is not a marathon, rather you should set out to have a three month plan, six month plan and a one year plan. Starting your business off with long term goals will assist you in creating a long term business.

So you are ready to learn how to create plan to earn money online that will last. Here is 10 steps to make sure your business has the foundation to have a long term profit with your product or service.

1.) Smart Investing

When you start an online business you should really keep your capital to a minimum. You have already had to invest in your start up expenses. Now you will have to create an online marketing strategy.

Consider doing your own PR, and marketing instead of putting high dollars into advertising expenses. At the beginning your goal should be into earning money online, not over spending. Utilizing free PR, media, and search engine marketing is some great free resources.

2.) Reinvesting -

You have made your first sale! Congratulations. while some want to pay themselves back for there startup cost. Consider putting 10-20% back into some paid marketing strategies. Reinvest back into your business to increase your sales margins.

3.) Handling Diversities

We don’t live in a world that has no problems or roadblocks. Understanding that your business will have some roadblocks to overcome is important to your overall mindset and business.

If business hits a snag, it does not mean your business is over, it simply means you are now a business owner, how you handle this could determine your overall success. Don’t fall apart and halt your efforts to earn money online. Instead move forward learn from the roadblocks and conquer them. You are an entrepreneur and understanding there will be some problems to overcome will prepare you for when they do occur. You will be ready for them. You will be ready to handle and continue to profit from anything that stands in your way.

4.) Read books by successful people

Reading books on business and how successful people built there business can be very important to your overall success. When you connect with authors that have built a long term business it gets you in the proper mindset. It is suggested to set apart twenty minutes a day to read book from others that are in the same field as you are.

5.) Management Skills

At the start of your business you are a secretary, accountant, PR manager, marketing executive. That may all go along with being a mom or dad, an employee.

Life is busy and building a business adds extra responsibilities. You are going to want to take some time and set a clear schedule. One where you can commit to your business and time when you need take time for your other responsibilities. At the beginning your business needs your time to help it grow and expand. Making sure you stick to your schedule will help to insure task get done.

6.) Burn out

Along with the extra time investment to your business, and the everyday responsibilities be careful of burn out. Taking some down time and time for yourself is important. Make sure that once a week you take some time away for you. If you are drained then productively building your business is not going to happen. If you are rested then you will be much more productive.

7.) The Necessities

Many times when entrepreneurs are trying to earn money online they waste time doing things that are not necessary. They don’t take action in increasing their business statistics.

Especially if the amount of time you have for your online business is minimal. It is important to make sure you use that time to have your business make money. Make a list of things according to priority. Top is the most important and work down to least important. Stick to this list, don’t go and try to clean your desk or dust off your keyboard. Take the time to work on what is necessary

8) Keep Good Statistics

When you are starting an online business, you will have some online marketing strategies that work very well You will have others that won’t. Make sure you know where your best sales conversions are coming from, and where the worst are stemming from.

Having a good records on what works will allow you to go back to that marketing source. Obviously you won’t want to invest in the ones that do not

9.) Delegate

You may not have the expenses to hire employees at this point. But you can still delegate task. A good business owner will know when to ask for help. Ask your family and friends for help. Many times people are interested in what you are doing. They want to help. Take the time to ask.

10.) Opt – In list

If you are planning on building a business that last you want to have an opt- in list. This is a list that comes from people that have visited your website. Once the opt in you continue to send them correspondences about you opportunity. The more contacts you have will create a long term client list that you can refer back to

As much as you want to earn money online today, it is important to plan for the future. If you have an online business it should be managed and run as a permanent position. As it is great to earn money online today, its even better when you can continue to profit in the years to come.